Saturday, 22 December 2007
Meanwhile, back in the UK (or is it France? Belgium?) a Christmas shopping exhibition goes astray courtesy of our never-ending trust in sat nav systems ...
Saturday, 15 December 2007
After the meeting and gathering my thoughts, we shot up to UCL for the evening lecture. I travelled up with 6 others and it was so funny at times trying to do the headcount of the English/German/Chinese we travelled with. We all got there eventually and I met up with some cherished mates at UCL. I received the 'medal of honour' at the lecture which was another funny occasion. I was introduced as the first female chair of the Geomatics Faculty. And as my long hair got caught up in the catch/ribbon I realised why it was so significant...
The lecture was great. Not only was the subject, land tenture globally, fascinating but the three presenters changed Christmas hats each time they spoke which made us all laugh. Long live humour and geomatics. Stig Enimark, President of FIG, was there so we were honoured. And I was doubly honoured by my old geomatics lecturer, Prof Paul Cross, also being there. He talks so much sense that guy. Now all he needs to do is organise heating for the next lecture and we're set...
We ended up dining in an Italian somewhere in London which was lovely as I sat opposite an old mate from the RICS.
I arrived home on the Friday respledant with medal. My husband fell about laughing big time and explained it major 'bling'. Hey, it says "President of the Land Division of the RICS", I'm not knocking it. My girls thought it very funny too and I couldn't help but laugh when my 9 year old said "does this now mean you're president of the UK?". Uhmm, give me a year or so....
I think I'm going to have a great time over next 18 months as Geomatics Chair.
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
The only time I've been face to face with another of his theodolites was when visiting the Great Arc Festival in London in 2002. That was a fun night!
Anyway, I'm off to Cape Town this weekend and decided to visit my old friend. I've just received a very helpful e-mail from the Director of Survey Services who says that if I let him know when I'm visiting he'll come in (off leave) and show me around. Now just how lovely is that? Can't wait!
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Sunday, 2 December 2007
It is a review of some cartography books ranging from the sensible such as "Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations" through "Psychogeography" to the downright stupid (but probably true) "Our Dumb World: Atlas of the Planet Earth". [The latter involving Hello Kitty and Japan, I think you get the point...].
Some statements made sense
"If 90 percent of life is showing up, the other 10 percent is figuring out how to get there"
and this very true one
"Mapmakers ... offer a self-interested vision of the world packaged as a neutral document."
However I can't concur that "... the planet has been plotted down to the last square inch" - esp if you consider the wet bits. Where do people get this idea from?
And how about this one?
"the map ... an exquisite specimen drawn on parchment, minutely detailed with mountains, rivers, oceans and a wealth of symbols waiting to be transformed into music by our trembling, excitable minds."
Loved this map of London.
They don't make them like that any more.
Thursday, 29 November 2007
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
I spent the morning on Catfish, the university's catamaran.
There are 13 students on the course and they were split into 3 groups, two shore-side and one afloat at any one time. The aim is to give all students experience of the tasks involved in a small, simple hydro survey. They've only been on the course 6 weeks and are on a very steep learning curve. I witnessed the bar check
and sounding lines (only single echo beam this time round). I may go back in the Spring, though, when they install multibeam for a session.
Great excitement on my part was spotting my favourite ship, HMS ENDURANCE . I spent 7 weeks on her in 1995 including a 3 week stint on South Georgia. I thought she'd already gone south for the season but obviously not. Mind you, she only appeared, passed the break water, dropped someone off (?) and disappeared again. It is unusual to see her at sea with her lynxes on. They are usually at RNAS Yeovilton....or in her hanger.
Catfish dropped me off, I met a lecturer for lunch, and then caught up with a group of students using RTK GPS for coastlining. Their first time so there was lots of explaining to do.
I felt really sorry for them. They'd been out in the rain since 0930 whilst I'd been on the (dry) boat and just had a hot lunch and copious amounts of steaming tea in a cafe. Ah, the perks of external examiners!
Monday, 19 November 2007
I then had a couple of hours with James, RICS staff, who will be one of my main points of contact when I take over Geomatics Chair next month. I want to ensure that I hit the ground running. I'm pretty up to speed with the meeting side of things but I'm sure the RICS politics will floor me pretty quickly!
Sunday, 11 November 2007
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Thursday, 1 November 2007
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
In between this met up with a PhD student we are sponsoring and chatted to various staff about research opportunities. Decided that I fancy visiting South Tyneside College to use their simulator but I'm sure it'll never happen.
It always lovely returning to my old haunt of Newcastle. Just as well as I usually spend extra hours at the airport biding time waiting for my delayed flight (they even cancelled one once). So sat with the Chair of the Geomatics Faculty and tried to put the geo community world to right. I'm sure we didn't!
Monday, 29 October 2007
It looks to be aligned with the broader INSPIRE initiative. INSPIRE exists to allow the creation of a European spatial information infrastructure. Spatial information in Europe is currently fragmented with gaps in availability, lack of harmonisation between datasets at different geographical scales and duplication of information collection.
Off to Newcastle tomorrow for a Geomatics Exec meeting. Looking forward to Mike Cooper's lecture on the history of land surveying. I wonder if he'll slip any hydro in?
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Thursday, 18 October 2007
They had a superb speaker, Sandi Rhys Jones. She has a strong presence and is a successful, measured woman. She has been working in the building profession for over 30 years. She's the type of woman I would love to spend hours and hours talking to: the type of female professional I could use as a role model - they are so few and far between in my arena.
This was a joint RICS/Women in Property event. I don't think I've come across WIP before but it's worth a look. It would be great if I could find myself a female mentor.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
A few caught my attention due to their marine applications;
- The impact of new GNSS signals on harbour navigation
- Vertical Offshore Reference Frames (VORF) project
- RTK GPS in the marine environment
- Statistical and GIS-based Approach for Morphodynamic Characterisation and Modelling at Large Spatial and Temporal Scales.
However I was also fascinated by the spectrum of research;
- Bear Ethology Around Romania
- Vulnerability of Reinforced Concrete Structural Elements to Internal Explosions
- Design of Civil Infrastructure - How can we make stations, pavements, trains and other infrastructure more easy to use for all the people?
- Designing an Infection-Resistant Hospital
- Modelling Surface Force Effects on Space Vehicles
Fascinating stuff. I met up with lots of old friends including my Prof from Newcastle (Paul Cross) who is as lovely as ever. A great techie evening
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Monday, 8 October 2007
Wednesday, 3 October 2007
These forest fires in Algeria are clearly seen on MODIS
as is flooding in Sudan
and volcanic activity in Ethiopea.
It is truly amazing what you can do with imagery but I'm sure we're only using a small part of its real potential.
It was sad to read about the closure of the Geoinformatics and Survey course at the University of Zimbabwe due to lecturer shortages. Who can blame anyone for seeking pastures new? If you read on you'll see that the government is now so short of surveyors it is considering allowing undergrads to work. This will surely reduce the incentive to finish a degree if you can be licensed to operate before completing it? But perhaps few in Zimbabwe are currently in a position to be too long-sighted...
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
What is interesting about it is the fact that unlike 'classical' GNSSs that I was bought up with, this only needs 2 satellites to obtain a fix. Not that this does it by magic. It employs a central ground control station and user terminals with receive and transmit. With only two satellites it is accurate to 100m accuracy but with more satellites the accuracy can be increased to under 20m. Because the ground control station sends and receives data from each receiver the system can only serve up to 150 users simultaneously. The user receivers/transmitters are also bulkier than a GPS receiver and need more power. More information can be found here. [Although this only mentions 4 satellites and I believe they have launched a spare 5th, but not currently in a geostationary orbit].
Positions are referred to Beijing 1954 which could be deemed as a limiting factor to expansion as the transformation between Beijing and WGS84 Datum is only defined over China. However I'm sure it wouldn't take much effort to output Beidou coordinates in a different reference frame.
Saturday, 29 September 2007
Thursday, 27 September 2007
It is part of the Ordnance Survey initiative to provide 1:25 000 maps to year 7 pupils across the UK. My daughter is delighted with her "very own map" and poured over it spotting routes she knows and places she visits. She also spent a while on the OS Mapzone area which is full of geo related games. I might have a try later . My daughter has popped out to see friends and taken her treasure with her to show them. I love enthusiasm like this!
And to think my other daughter doesn't rate geography very highly yet. I'll have to work on that!
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Friday, 21 September 2007
It got muddy (in my eyes) with the realisation of depth with respect to WGS84 (or equivalent). Once they started quoting my FIG papers I realised I was in trouble! I'm not so fussed about my papers, but the FIG publication is worth a read if that's what you're into
We have to be so careful that we don't confuse the bathy surface/BAG with referring depths to a geodetic reference frame. OK, perhaps it's only me but I hope not.
Shall I just crawl back into my geo/geeky/hydro box?
Thursday, 20 September 2007
Well ... I was in a meeting today and talked about geodesy. A guy looked at me and said "what on earth is geodesy?". I thought I did well with my response as (a) it took less than a minute and (b) his head wasn't spinning by the end (or he hid it well). It's a tricky path we walk. We don't want to scare people with our geoids and spheroids (don't worry, you can get cream for them) but there is no point glossing over facts so much that nobody gets the impact of what you are saying. There is an immense skill in being a scientist preaching to non-scientists. But it's invaluable that we do it, and do it well.
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Slightly hopeful news for Galileo today. Let's hope it resolves some of the funding issues before we lose any more impetus on this.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Natural England "works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas." The Environment Agency says "It's our job to look after your environment and make it a better place - for you, and for future generations." There's probably an obvious difference. Perhaps to do with legislative power? Can someone enlighten me?
Anyway, scrummy lunch, good to network and back in time to finish my work for the day. Can't be bad!
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
There are some daft comments such as 'the metric system is more accurate' (ahem, since when were feet and inches inaccurate?); 'we have more in common with the US then the EU so should stick with imperial' and this lovely quote
'Great - I'm fed up with having to convert those micky mouse metric numbers into sensible English equivalents. I mean what sort of nonsense these metric units are. If they had made the metric units so that they could be easily be related to imperial units (ie 1KG = 1LB or 1KM = 1 mile) then there might have been some sense to their loopy system'.
Fortunately the comments page is equally balanced by 'normal' people who see the sense. No, I don't want to lose the pint but apart from that I can live with cms, kgs and kms.
This is a classic website! I love their metric culprits including companies such as the British Standards Institution and Sainsburys (yes, the supermarket). They even have a page of 'illegal' road signs. These are signs that, shock horror, have metres on instead of yards. Apparently they are only legal if they have imperial on too.
I'm sure it's not a super simple issue to resolve. To be honest if it was I'm sure the UK Government would have knocked this on the head years ago. But, hey ho, this will rumble for years.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
I was fascinated by the link titled 'analemma'. I either haven't come across this before or when it was mentioned in my geodesy lectures at university I nodded off. Anyway, an analemma is the figure of 8 path that the sun makes in the sky over the course of the year. That's assuming you lie flat on your back for a whole year watching it.
Sunday, 2 September 2007
Also read about this conference next month in Cape Town. Oooh, how I wish I was there! Not in Cape Town until the end of December.
Friday, 31 August 2007
When I first joined the exec I was the youngest person in the room by 15 years, or so it felt. However the exec membership rotates and I realised yesterday that most of us are a similarish age (OK, OK, I admit I'm getting old) but the days of the geomatics faculty board being run by soon-to-be-retired surveyors has changed.
Anyway, enough of the RICS. Met up with some RN surveyors in the evening for a few drinks. Had some great debates about data formats (particularly in the light of OGC), interoperability of data, research, metadata etc. Food for my soul
Today I visited the Department of Geomatic Engineering at UCL. Boy, do those guys make me feel dense. Spent my time talking about vertical reference surfaces, not only in the UK but globally. Fascinating stuff. Over lunch I asked Marek what he was up to next. One thing he's just picking up is development of a navigation system for a Mars lander - working with NASA/JPL. Marek is the only guy I know that would ever drop that into the conversation and you know he's not taking drugs - that is honestly what his day job is. Amazing!
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
"Licensing is a minefield and Ordnance Survey particularly are constrained by balancing their public role with their commercial viability in dealing easily with these issues. It is unusual for companies, at least to date, to put 'free' software onto the web that enables users to map their data freely for all to see. Much of the debate therefore turns on what is 'free'."
Agree - a veritable mine field... Interesting though that it seems that only the Guardian are taking this debate on. Aren't the other newspapers/BBC etc interested?
Sunday, 26 August 2007
I loved this one about the British Isles! So this is really what we'll look like after a decent gale or two. The more you study it the more weird things you see. I'm currently reading Alice in Wonderland to my kids and I can't decide which is more believable...
Another cracker is the Brazilian theme today. Just how cool is that?!
Back from hols and no more trig pillars to post. I'm sure you're all very relieved ;)
Monday, 20 August 2007
Sunday, 19 August 2007
and the yardstick.
Lots of old maps hung on the walls too: the usual bevy of land ownership plans and parish boundaries. Interesting none-the-less.
Of course I'm far too old to scramble up brambly banks (!) but my daughter gleefully climbed up.
Another excursion took us to Padstow and I can't resist blogging this...
Thursday, 9 August 2007
Tuesday, 7 August 2007
Just following this story through and, as usual, wondered how they knew the lat and long of the fish. If you follow a few leads you discover the page which says the fish are 'precisely located' (love that phrase, esp when you see what's coming next!)...
The tag's processors monitor sunrise and sunset and therefore noon and hence calculate longitude using the tag's internal clock ("very accurately" the article says). Latitude is a bit more tricky and is based on day length. So not the 'precise' levels of positioning that I'm used to - probably within the nearest mile? - but not bad for a fish.
It goes back to what you can do with the materials you have. I was talking with a director yesterday and said surely 'rough-and-ready' was better than nothing at all; as long as you knew how inaccurate the advice you were giving was. Given the choice between no position or an approximate one which would you take?
Sunday, 5 August 2007
What can we do?
Thursday, 2 August 2007
Alongside this is the important Goce (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) mission, which I'd always thought was spelt Goose until I saw it in writing on day. Doh. It will deliver better results than the Grace mission which has been measuring the earth's gravity field since 2002.
It's a busy world up there in space.
Thursday, 26 July 2007
My brother and Dad both work for a water meter reading company and both struggle with the lack of geospatial information available to them. They have tried Elgin but they are only OK if there are roadworks around their area of interest. How do they obtain large scale mapping of the area they are interested in without paper maps?
Friday, 20 July 2007
Galileo has been in the news quite a bit recently. It is challenging sat-nav firms to think of ways to use its enhanced positioning service. And asking for money of course!
Not much else to report. I was in Sherborne today and saw a police poster about Sat Nabbing. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera to hand. Not having a sat nav I hadn't realised how attractive these were to nick. Mind you, if people will break into a car for a naff stereo (as they did mine once), I'm sure a Tom Tom is worth a lot more.
On the way home got delayed at Honiton Station and struck up a conversation with the guy next to me who, as it turns out, works in a similar business to me. 15 minutes later we were deep in discussion about the worldwide potential for 'WGS84' Datum on maps and charts. Bet you all feel sorry for him eh?!
Sunday, 15 July 2007
I love the link which came with the BBC article about the Millimetre Men. Next stop? Millimetre Women?!!
Thursday, 12 July 2007
There's also quite a very brief presentation on the MMO here.
Have also just stumbled across a Friends of the Earth website on marine matters. Interesting...
Thursday, 5 July 2007
Nice views though, give or take the low cloud.
Wednesday, 4 July 2007
Saturday, 30 June 2007
The GSDI covers not only Africa so whatever floats your boat on SDI, click here now.
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Not that one map is ever enough...
This one is funny. I'm pedalling a canal bike, map reading and steering when I could.
And yesterday was my birthday. What a groovy card eh?!