Paleontology 4 Geologist

For those people not really aware of what the paleontology really is, I can briefly define the paleontology as the science in charge of study the history of life. For a Geologist the paleontology is more than important as it represents the basis to, such as:

  • place in time a geologic record
  • understand the geological context
  • deduce a lot of other useful information

For a better explanation I suggest some reading like this one and – for a wider view – wikipedia.

A few years ago I was studying invertebrate paleontology at the University of Pavia and I was terribly in need of someone or something able to train me with random questions about fossils before the exam πŸ™‚

At that time I was also working for an IT company in Lodi and I had no much free time to study with other classmates that’s why I decided to quickly prototype a simple computer application using Qt and C++ called p4d.

The purpose of p4d* was to randomly select questions from a database and to show them in the form of a multiple choice assessment.

The database was manually built using the information made available – in italian – through the labels of each fossil from the museum of the faculty of Geology.

We have to look at the fossil, to describe it properly: that’s why I also made photos of our samples to improve the experience with p4d (and especially to be able to do some training outside the museum πŸ˜› ).

P4D was able to check for the correctness of the given answer by pressing the Check button.

Even if quite basic and w/o frippery, it worked as expected and I really enjoyed coding with QtCreator on my Mageia to build something useful and portable in a few hours πŸ™‚

In a couple of weeks, after have asked some classmate for feedbacks, it became clear to me that this kind of tool was nice enough to be published but… how?

To avoid porting, packaging and distribution issues I finally choose to go through the web: I quickly rewrote p4d using PHP and JavaScript, with the precious help provided by the CodeIgniter and jQuery frameworks. P4G (i.e. Paleontology for Geologist) was born πŸ˜‰

This way also the maintenance becomes definitely a piece of cake πŸ˜‰

Far from perfection, Paleontology 4 Geologist (P4G) is a simple tool to verify your invertebrate fossils skills. It’s free to use, give it a try πŸ˜‰

* p4d = Paleontology 4 Dummies

PS: just like any piece of software out there, bugs could be found so feel free to report them using the button Found a bug and reading the instructions; I’ll try to fix them asap. And remember, there’s no warranty