Jennifer at Fuzzy Science hosts this month’s Accretionary Wedge. The topic is field notes.
My notes are usually rather short and not very artistic. I prefer to take lots of photos and in most cases my notes consist of text only. There are actually only two things that I always record. These are date and geographical coordinates. These are fundamentals which help me to later determine when and where this particular note was taken. Date is especially valuable later to link photos with a notebook entry and coordinates help to locate the outcrop or other point of interest on a map and seek additional information from literature and geological maps. I am using iPhone with a special application to obtain the coordinates, its assisted GPS is much faster than ordinary handheld GPS receivers.
What else do I record? I will clearly write so if I am taking rock or sand samples. If I am using some sort of literature in the field, I will add notes about it: book title and page number, for example. This is one of the things I learned recently. It helps tremendously later when you start writing a blog post or something like that.
If I know the names of the settlements nearby I may add them but I do not consider it absolutely necessary because I already have coordinates. I may add notes about weather but it seems that usually I do not. Last but not least comes the bulk of my notes which is simply description of what I saw or think I saw. Interpretations and descriptions tend to be mixed up. This is one of the thing that I feel needs to be longer. I tend to be too laconic. I take my notes usually when I am finished in one place. One of the things I have found useful is adding notes about something memorable that happened: saw a man on a horse, for example. It is also useful to briefly describe the surroundings. That too helps to bring back memories about the place later. I am still learning and the way I am filling my field notebooks is surely going to change in the future.