Earth Science Informatics

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 463–486 | Cite as

Review of smartphone applications for geoscience: current status, limitations, and future perspectives

  • Sangho Lee
  • Jangwon Suh
  • Yosoon ChoiEmail author
Review Article


Smartphones can be utilized in the field of geosciences for various purposes due to their multifaceted abilities that combine both hard- and software features. The unique abilities of smartphones allow new methodologies for the collection and visualization of data that rarely become available in traditional computing platforms. In this study, commercially available smartphone applications (apps) that have been released in geoscience (e.g., geology/soil, minerals and rocks, petroleum and gas) so far were investigated. The apps were categorized based on the extent of smartphone feature usage into (a) basic, standard-feature apps; (b) calculator and referencing apps; and (c) sensing and communication apps. Furthermore, each of these categories was divided into several app groups based on specific features. Representative apps of each specific app group were selected and their characteristics and applicability were examined. Lastly, major limitations regarding smartphone app development and implementation in geoscience and implications for future improvements were discussed.


Smartphone Geoscience Application Sensor 



This research was supported by (1) Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education of Korea (2015R1D1A1A01061290) and (2) Basic Research Project of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral resources (KIGAM) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of Korea.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM)DaejeonSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Energy and Mineral Resources EngineeringKangwon National UniversitySamcheokSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Energy Resources EngineeringPukyong National UniversityBusanSouth Korea

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