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Tablet PC Boosts Safety and Productivity in Marine Exploration

From RuggedPCReview.com: In July of 2012, editors of RuggedPCReview.com and ScubaDiverInfo.com traveled on the 110-foot Rocio Del Mar to the Islas Grandes, a group of eleven remote and uninhabited islands located in the upper third of the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California. The purpose of the expedition was to test a variety of rugged and underwater equipment while surveying the status of the whale shark, dolphin and sea lion populations these islands are famous for. Part of our test equipment arsenal was a MobileDemand xTablet T7000 rugged tablet PC. The handy tablet computer, impervious to the demanding conditions onboard, would become a valuable asset to the team in more than one respect.

Keeping track of dive gear, lights, cameras, housings, batteries, chargers, storage cards, adapters and cables onboard a live-aboard vessel with small staterooms and limited storage was a challenge we had assigned to the T7000 tablet via check lists and spreadsheets.

Rugged tablet PC on boat doing marine explorationUsing the xTablet T7000, an ultra-rugged tablet PC from MobileDemand, as a dive and expedition support computer made our work simpler and safer. We had the tablet on the exposed dive deck of the Rocio Del Mar, allowing us to upload dive data upon emerging from the water using a USB-based IR adapter that communicated with the Uwatec SOL dive computers. This meant we could enter data and impressions immediately after a dive when the dive was still fresh in our minds and we remembered all the details. It also gave us the opportunity to change or fine-tune dive computer settings for the dives conditions at hand. The image above shows team members examine uploaded data after a dive.

In order to use a computer on a dive boat, it must have a sunlight-readable LCD display. The T7000's bright daylight-readable screen was well suited for use outdoors, and even in direct sunlight. During our week-long expedition we encountered a lot of bright sunshine as well as a good deal of saltwater splashing and dripping. The T7000 screen was up to the job and remained perfectly viewable under all conditions.

While the covered dive deck of the Rocio Del Mar provided protection from the elements, it was outdoors in the wind and mist, and amidst a lot of wet and dripping dive equipment and divers. Being used on the dive and observation decks also included exposure to surf, spray and the occasional wave washing over a deck.

Click here to read RuggedPCReview's entire case study, "Computers in Diving and Marine Exploration".

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