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Shane Loeffler had an inspiration: “I was looking down from an airplane window and seeing this huge landscape and these geological features, and [wondering about] the landscape I was flying over,” he says. What if there was an app for that? So he made it a reality. With the help of the National Science Foundation.

Loeffler created a new app, Flyover Country, to show fliers exactly what they’re seeing below them. Using maps and data from pelontological and geological databases, including government data, Flyover Country helps users identify and get information on the landscape below. The best part? You don’t need Wi-Fi, it works just with the phone’s GPS, and it works when you’re on a road trip, hiking, or anywhere else. You can learn about the volcanos in Hawai’i, glaciers over Iceland on your way to Europe, the Rocky Mountains on the way from California and mines in the Black Hills of South Dakota on your way anywhere.  You can read Wikipedia articles about the features (including dinosaur bones found there!).

But Loeffler didn’t create Flyover Country on his own. He won a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the app asa geology student at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. This grant, and the government data used in the software, and the help of the state university, paved the way for him to create the app. And for us to be able to use it, well, everywhere.

Thank you, National Science Foundation, for helping Shane Loeffler bring us Flyover Country.



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