The Geometer is an orientation device intended for use on Distance Sampling surveys. It allows the user to accurately sight on a target and measure the inclination (pitch), lateral (yaw) and roll angles to the target at the press of a button. These data, along with the exact time of the measurement, are written to a text file for later use. The above image is of version 1 (V1) of the device.
The Geometer uses a red dot sight to enable the user to accurately sight on the target. The device operates with Windows software and several Geometers can operate using one computer.
Here is an example of an output file:
Time; roll[degrees]; pitch[degrees]; Yaw[degrees]; ON/OFF
The advantages of the Geometer over an analogue or digital clinometer include:
- Ease of use. The observer simply aims and presses the button. No requirement to read the often double and difficult scales of conventional inclinometers;
- Less opportunity for observer error. We all know that observers make errors reading inclinometers and recording their readings. With the Geometer the measurements are recorded automatically at the press of a button;
- Accurate timing of observations. The exact time (to the second) is recorded every time the button is pressed;
- Easier data transcription. The text files produced can be read directly into Excel or other programs;
- Simultaneous recording of declination and yaw angles, potentially eliminating the need to make measurements only when the sighting comes abeam of the aircraft.
The Geometer V1 has all ready been used successfully on an aerial whale survey by the Icelandic Marine Research Institute with good results. Based on the results from that survey, a new, improved version of the device is being developed.
The Geometer is under development and cooperation with potential users is welcomed for the next version, V2.