Penn College

Penn College forest technology students to use inventory app on mobile devices

Penn College forest technology majors Alexa L. Labesky, of Warren, and Brett A. Forney, of Millersburg, use an enhanced iPad for data collection in the woodland laboratory at the college’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Members of the forest technology faculty at the Pennsylvania College of Technology have acquired five iPad Minis and loaded them with forestry-specific programming from Forest Metrix in Vermont.In addition to use on the department-owned iPads, the Forest Metrix software can be used by students on their own iPads or iPhones at no extra charge while enrolled in the major. Penn College is the only forestry program in Pennsylvania to use the new technology in the classroom and in the forest.Erich R. Doebler, laboratory assistant for forest technology, spearheaded the effort to incorporate the use of personal electronic devices and the Forest Metrix software across the forest technology curriculum.Doebler, instructor Eric C. Easton, and assistant professor Andrew Bartholomay were researching options to replace outdated field-data collectors and software. Doebler presented this option which, with the use of Bad Elf GPS, replaced two pieces of hardware worth more than $5,000 with an iPad Mini and GPS add-on for less than $1,000.“Students ask every year how they can obtain GPS, data-collection, and forest-inventory software that is affordable to someone starting their own consulting company,” Bartholomay said. “Most students have, or can easily obtain, a cell phone or tablet. The software allows them to collect and analyze data and create professional documents while minimizing their investment in hardware and software.”With the addition of the Bad Elf GPS device, the iPads can be used in almost all of the major courses offered in the forest technology curriculum.“This is a huge step into the future of the forest industry in Pennsylvania, and our students will have a competitive advantage in the job market. We’re thrilled to offer our students this opportunity,” Bartholomay said.For information about Penn College’s two-year forest technology major, accredited by the Society of American Foresters, visit or call 570-327-4516.For more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, visit, email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Last Updated September 11, 2015