Can you do science on a phone?

Mobile geo-computing presentationClick the image to download the PDF (3.5M) in a new window. The PDF includes slides and notes.Yes! Perhaps the real question should be: Would you want to? Isn't the very idea just an extension of the curse of mobility, never being away from your email, work, commitments? That's the glass half-empty view; it takes discipline to use your cellphone on your own terms, picking it up when it's convenient. And there's no doubt that sometimes it is convenient, like when your car breaks down, or you're out shopping for groceries and you can't remember if it was Winnie-the-Pooh or Disney Princess toothpaste you were supposed to get.

So smartphones are convenient. And everywhere. And most people seem to have a data plan or ready access to WiFi. And these devices are getting very powerful. So there's every reason to embrace the fact that these little computers will be around the office and lab, and get on with putting some handy, maybe even fun, geoscience on them. 

My talk, the last one of the meeting I blogged about last week, was a bit of an anomaly in the hardcore computational geophysics agenda. But maybe it was a nice digestif. You can read something resembling the talk by clicking on the image (above), or if you like, you can listen to me in this 13-minute video version:

So get involved, learn to program, or simply help and inspire a developer to build something awesome. Perhaps the next killer app for geologists, whatever that might be. What can you imagine...?

Just one small note to geoscience developers out there: we don't need any more seismographs or compass-clinometers!