Dr. Julia Cooper is a soil science lecturer at the University of Newcastle. She teaches students about the impact of soil management practices on soil biodiversity, environment, and food security. She heard about fieldmargin through word of mouth and saw its potential for use as a teaching tool.
For the project students had to provide a land suitability assessment of an estate in Northumberland based on soil surveys, field assessments and DEFRA’s plan for land management. The project focused on crop choices that supported sustainable agricultural practices and public goods including agroforestry, biodiversity, carbon capture and public access.
Students uploaded a soil survey map onto fieldmargin using the map uploader. Being able to easily draw and measure areas on the fieldmargin map meant that students could plan land use and make sure that they had the right balance of crops and forestry. During a site visit students could use the mobile app to mark key features and add geo-tagged notes. After this fieldwork the class used the web app to produce measurements and maps for their reports.
fieldmargin was really popular with the class so Dr. Cooper is going to use it as a more integrated part of teaching for a masters project next term. Students who used fieldmargin told us they enjoyed using the app and that it was easier to use than other tools they had tried.
“The fact you can upload a map and divide up fields with different categories and colours is great. Overall I found fieldmargin really nice and simple to use which is really important, other software for remote sensing and GIS I have used in the past take a very long time to get your head around.”Yasmin Mathews, Student at University of Newcastle
“I found the app really easy to use and had fun using it. I liked the fact that I could use colours and lines to clearly outline fields for my reports.”Maria Shipillis, Student at University of Newcastle
“I have found this app very useful, powerful and way easier alternative to GIS software (which in my opinion are of an exaggerated difficulty). It is very difficult to work out hectares on some software, and this app just works it out automatically for you, which is great! Overall I think that this app is mint and has great potential not only for agricultural research, but also for designing landscapes and re-organising environments.”Gianluca Amicarelli, Student at University of Newcastle