I'm heading out to Taiwan late this evening. As I pack my bags, I thought I'd revisit the field gear theme. Reviewing my previous post-trip evaluation, the things that caused me problems before was water, and drying stuff out, and I took a few things that weren't necessary. For this trip, I have a better idea about what I'm doing. A lot of it is going to be indoors, using computers and what have you. I still need to allow for being able to move everything on a motorbike, but there should be less typhoon action this time around... I'm taking the same brilliant Panasonic FZ-1000 camera and the tripod, which turned out to be very helpful. I'm not taking a load of phones, and certainly not cheap ones off Alibaba. Not the least because I've shifted tack to recording on any phone and doing respeaking, translation and annotation on notebook computers instead. So with that in mind, I'm taking the same beefy Gigabyte notebook, and I'm taking a dinky Dell XPS 13. The latter goes around with me in a day pack, where the portability and battery life will be welcome. The larger unit is really just something to set up where I work. I think both may well be recruited for people to use in running Aikuma.
It's interesting to reflect on my choices of field gear in retrospect. Pictured is my valiant steed, a 125cc Kymco scooter that did roughly 1,600km. That's not a huge amount in Australia but in Taiwan, a lot of that was up and down mountains.
Everything I own is packed onto that scooter. One of my T-shirts has been bungied to the tripod on the back to dry it out after some last minute washing. The amazing thing is how much you can carry on a scooter by sticking a large duffle bag between your legs on the floorboard. So anyway, about the gear...
Dedicated handheld GPS devices have long been an invaluable tool for any number of activities including fieldwork. I think they still are but I suspect that many people today will mistakenly think that their mobile phone has completely supplanted GPS receivers. Indeed for most purposes at home they have. This post is going to be a little on the techie side but it also going to talk about an essential bit of equipment, why it's necessary and how to use it. One application is in tagging all of your photographs with GPS coordinates in the EXIF data. You can gain all the advantages of GPS accuracy in a smartphone but if you're away from mobile signal, then pairing the phone to a proper GPS receiver is great solution. Pictured is a dinky little Chinese unit that can be had for only AU$85, paired to my Nexus 5 displaying satellite information. Click Read More for, well, more.
Mat in Taiwan
Field testing tools and methods to document endangered Formosan languages in Taiwan