Saturday, 22 December 2007

In God's Big Country

Have just spent a couple of days on the edge of the Little Karoo, miles from anywhere. This picture doesn't give justice to the scale of the area at all. Miles and miles of scrubland, with rugged rock outcrops all set in the baking heat. Little to survey. Or certainly at what the Ordnance Survey would call small scale. I sometimes forget how small the UK is and how vast 'real' distances are.

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

Medal of Honour

As expected, I had a ball in London on Thursday. It was the international Geomatics faculty board and I was honoured to be voted in, uncontested, as the new Chair of the Geomatics Faculty. Sometimes I think it's an absolute piece-of-cake and then sometimes I think "oh shit....!" I chaired the meeting all day which was fine but I realised that as Chair I can no longer slope out to grab a coffee/tea when I feel like it. Timing is everything.

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

Can't Wait to See You Again

I first came across one of Everest's theodolites when I was map shopping in Cape Town in 1995. We had to go to the mapping office in Cape Town suburbia; no popping into WHSmiths to pick up your OS equivalent then. Whilst loitering waiting for my map I turned and faced a room stuffed full of surveying artifacts. It was locked but they let me in for a wander which was really kind. The piece de resistance, towards the back of the crowded room, was one of Everest's theodolites. I think it had been left there enroute to India back at the beginning of the 19th century.

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! wink

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Like Mother like Daughter

What more do I need to say?

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Give Him a Big Hand

Just enjoyed this article by the International Herald Tribune.

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." rolleyes

Loved this map of London.

They don't make them like that any more.wink

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Surveying Down South

Had an e-mail today from a friend who is a surveyor with Launceston City Council in Tasmania. He's just got a job with Otago University which got me internet searching. You can study surveying here. It looks very land orientated but they must do hydro as Ross was (is - I hope!) a droggie.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Galileo Funding

Hurrah! Now, where did I put that €2.4b shortfall....?

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Ship Ahoy!

Went to Plymouth yesterday to meet the students on the MSc Hydrography course. As an external examiner I need to meet them to find out how the course is going. I deliberately visited them during their field week.

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 smile. 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


Spent Friday up in London at the RICS Headquarters in Great George Street. Had a profitable hour chatting to someone about the pros and cons of technical membership, in particular how it related to other membership classes in the RICS. We explored the routes to entry for Tech RICS, what it should be called (hey, I like 'Tech RICS' to be honest), bridges from Tech to full membership etc.

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! rolleyes

Sunday, 11 November 2007

New Road Sign

Well, I suppose until most vehicle satnav systems are intelligent enough to know the width and length of your vehicle these signs will serve a purpose?

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Trig Pillar Revisited

It was such a glorious day in the South West today I decided the girls needed a wee stroll to a trig pillar. Walked up from Budleigh Salterton to TP6804 which I last visited in May. Gorgeous views and just the spot to sit and eat a Sainsburys knickerbocker glory.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Musical Geodesy

Thanks to James for today's whacky geo site. Check out Mark Burbridge's site at Unlike this blog which is pretty basic Mark's comes with the choice of three tunes. Check out the buttons at the bottom right hand side of the screen.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Newcastle - Must be Time to Sit in the Airport

Have just returned from a full but fun time up at Newcastle upon Tyne University. Had an RICS Geomatics Exec meeting followed by an evening lecture by Mike Cooper. No, he didn't mention hydro (see Monday's post) but gave some interesting examples reaching back to circa 2000 BC re: surveying. He also ran circles around us with his mathematical abilities; or it could have just been me. rolleyes

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


Seadatanet exists to develop a Pan-European infrastructure for Ocean and Marine Data management.

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

Data Quality Survey

My current job involves looking at how we hold metadata so I was interested to read about the data quality survey. I'm sure I've said it before, but metadata is one of my hobby horses. It's no good people using geo data if they don't know how good it is. A position of 54° 00'N 003° 00'W could be accurate to seconds or degrees; it's all in the metadata. I confess to not being a data modeller and most of the OGC website baffles me unless I take it slowly with a clear head. The ISO standard relating to my current piece of work is 19115:2003 and all I can say is I'm grateful there are others at work who understand this inside out and can advise me.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Raising the Ratio the Exeter Way

Attended a Raising the Ratio meeting in Exeter today. I haven't been to one of these events before shying away from the all-women type of thing but it was actually quite good, despite the odd moment when I thought we were just preaching to the converted. I can't remember when I was last in a room with 50 women and only a handful of men. Quite nice actually. wink

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

University College London

Visited the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering yesterday evening. They had an open evening exhibiting all the various research projects they are running.

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 biggrin

Saturday, 13 October 2007

I Even Shower the Geo Way

Hey, check out my new shower hat!

I just couldn't resist buying this. It even has bathymetry on it! So I will never get lost in the shower again rolleyes

Monday, 8 October 2007

Inventor Proves Police Camera Wrong

Well, well, so police cameras aren't necessarily that accurate after all. However, few of us have such good evidence to defend ourselves! For £60 plus £20pm you can own your own Autopoietic Mobile Phone Recorder which will record your speed at any moment in time. What I'm not convinced about, though, is how many speeding fines are incorrect. I've only had one speeding fine and I was certainly driving faster than I should have been! Surely if we drive below the speed limit then we won't get fined? Ah, I live in such a simplistic world wink

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Imagery in Africa and a Bit of Bad News

Read the Oct edition of the SDI Africa newsletter this afternoon. There were some interesting articles about the use of imagery; all emanating from NASA Earth Observatory as it turns out.

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


Beidou is the Chinese navigational satellite system, also known as 'Compass Satellite Navigation Experiment'.

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

Wave and Tide Energy

The European Marine Energy Centre, EMEC, was officially opened yesterday. It is the only centre of its kind in the world and will offer the opportunity to research the renewable energies of tide and wave power. I'm a bit surprised to read that this is the first test-bed ever but perhaps it's the first internationally recognised one? Anyway, it's very much a step in the right direction for all things green energy.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Maps for School Kids

My daughter came bouncing home today waving a map she'd just been given at school.

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 wink . 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! lol

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Sugary Tea at Great George Street

Spent yesterday up in London at the RICS for a Chairman's day. As chair-in-waiting of the Geomatics Faculty I elected to sit in on this. I wasn't feeling too well and sat near the back slurping sugary tea, but on-the-whole it wasn't a bad meeting. There was a pretty good spread of personalities (enough said!) and some good discussions. OK, some very dull discussions too but there you go. Very impressed by the new President of the RICS, David Tuffin - there were some fractious moments in the meeting and I've never seen someone calm a meeting down so quickly with such authority.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Naviation Surface - BAG

Hey, I never promised you a non-hydro post and here I am. I've recently been e-mailed about the navigational surface for hydro - ie a realisation of the seabed but in a format which is easily exchangeable. One of these is the BAG, Bathymetry Attributed Grid (this is one of many posts associated with this). It's not the only gridded format, but one which is becoming increasingly used. This is a good article about the bathymetric surface project.

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 razz

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

Geodetic Journey

Had a great day at work today as I got to e-mail the directors about ETRF89, ITRF and the geoid. Perhaps I overdid it?! I was trying to track down what the IAG ICP1.2 were up to but couldn't find anything on their website. However I did stumble on a wonderful site entitled "geodetic journey". What a ball - travelling from Beijing to Lhasa and Shanghai all with a geodetic perspective. What more could a geodesist want wink

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

The North West Passage

I've always been fascinated by travels in the poles, no doubt fueled by surveying in Antarctica once. I was therefore interested to read about the apparent opening up of the NW passage as spotted by ESA. I've read quite a bit on this subject including Fleming's books "Ninety Degrees North" and "Barrow's Boys" and find this engrossing stuff. Not that it particularly inspires me to put on my woollies and head into the ice; I'm more of an arm chair explorer when it comes to the cold lol

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

RICS Somerset Local Association

Had lunch today with the Somerset Local Assocation of the RICS. The aim of the gathering is to bring a cohort of local businessmen and women together, network and promote the benefits of Chartered Surveyors. There was a good spread of people there such as the President of the Local Law Society, Chairman of the Somerset Cricket Ground, Divisional Director of the Highways Agency Traffic Operations, CEO of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and Director of Planning of Quarry Products. I sat next to someone from Natural England and had an interesting discussion about the role of Natural England (ex-English Nature). I'm particularly interested in its relationship (and overlapping role?) with the Environment Agency.

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! wink

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Stuck in the Past

Not quite sure why this is proving to be such a difficult issue for us Brits to cope with. Metric measurements make far more sense and yet reading the comments that the UK Public have posted against the article you really do wonder where some people come from. OK, I accept that changing miles to km is going to be expensive but is it really going to be that confusing? Didn't we manage to go from imperial to metric with coins in 1971 and somehow we coped.

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


Came across an intriguing link on the British Cartographic Society web page just now. I was surfing around on the BCS site and enjoying the interesting links in the Curators Toolbox. There are a whole host of geo type sites listed. Not all the links work but it doesn't claim to be exhaustive nor 100% up-to-date.

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

Not 'Plug and Play' but 'Plug and Pray'

Read the SDI newsletter for Africa tonight and came across Mick's experiences of trying to obtain satellite imagery in East Africa. Blimey, and we think it's hard accessing imagery in the UK! We so easily forget life sans high speed internet with reliable connectivity.

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

Martian Landing

Visited the RICS yesterday for a Geomatics Exec board meeting. I like these meetings; they are small and relaxed but we canter through a lot of topics. Welcomed a new member, Chris Preston, who works as a surveyor on the railways. He joins Stuart Edwards, a senior lecturer in geomatics at Newcastle upon Tyne University; Ken Hall who runs his own survey company; David Bennett who does likewise, Duncan Moss from the Ordnance Survey and me. So not a bad mix for a room full of land/hydro surveyors - some government, some private practice and academia. Another female or two on the board wouldn't go amiss though.

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 wink

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

Ordnance Survey in the News Again

Once the Guardian are quick off the mark to report this one. This debate is about a 3D model of London. Licencing issues are the thorn in the side this time. I like CASA's report on it; in particular highlighting the age-old dilemma that Trading Funds face of making a financial return for their government owners compared with giving away the data for the public interest which, taken to its extreme, would bankrupt the OS. I quote CASA,

"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

Strange Maps - Of Brazilians and Gales

I keep an eye on the Strange Maps website. It comes up with some absolute gems at times.

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

By Special Request

When I saw this photo on my uncle's camera recently I knew it had to be blogged. rolleyes So here he is on High Peak, just west of Sidmouth, a few weeks ago. It's TP 3799.

That was when we knew how to do sun in Devon.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Lawrence House Measuring Sticks

Whilst on holiday wandered into the Lawrence House Museum in Launceston. It's stuffed full of artefacts from Medieval times through to today. I spied a corner full of measuring instruments. I liked the pole for measuring criminals

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.

Cornish Trig

Found one! Came across this pillar, TP 4340, purely by accident enroute to a holiday adventure play thing for the kids.

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

Women in the Labs

One thing I forgot to mention is that I'm a bit of an advocate of women in science. Perhaps no surprise. So I was therefore interested by this article. I love the quote about men being better at spatial abilities than women. SOME women I think. I know men who take you 3 sides of a square when you know the 4th side is so much quicker. Women have a reputation for being lousy at map reading and 3D visualisation but that doesn't mean all women are like that does it? Like, I suppose, is the theory that no man can multitask.


Tuesday, 7 August 2007

How to Tag a Tuna

So how to do you find a fish in the middle of an ocean?

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

"Uhm, I think I hit something big..."

Not clever.


SALB, Secondary Administrative Level Boundaries, is a UN project focusing on a common geographic database to help with land administration. It has an ambitious remit attempting to deliver a global solution. But who can knock the UN for trying? Their July newsletter has a wealth of detail on latest progress. As ever I'm interested in the state of mapping in Africa and it looks pretty woeful on the 1:1 million front.

What can we do?

Thursday, 2 August 2007


Jason 2 is on its way. I have already used output from Jason 1 and Poseidon 2 for measurement of sea surface height. As satellites are continually improving the accuracy of the data they output and each mission delivers better data, it was with great interest I read about the next Jason mission.

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

A Plug for David

OK, perhaps I shouldn't, but David is not just a long term (suffering?) colleague of mine but a more than competent boundaries surveyor. I have yet (big blushes) to read his book, but Amazon have.

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

Sat Nabbing

Strange maps has blogged this about a confusing map. I don't know what all the fuss is about - we have plenty of maps like that in Exeter, especially around the industrial estates. Am I missing something?

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?! rolleyes

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Going Down - London

This is not new - London is sinking. We've known it for years. But it's more significant if you combine it with sea level rise. This study combines the GPS brains of IESSG, the tidal knowledge of Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (who have moved from a gorgeous old building south of the Mersey, which I visited, to a more 'standard' building in Liverpool) and Nigel Press Agency (who I know as imaging gurus).

I love the link which came with the BBC article about the Millimetre Men. Next stop? Millimetre Women?!!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Marine Management Organisation

This seminar on the Marine Managment Organisation (MMO) looks interesting. As a hydro focused person the management of marine resource and use throughout the UK is of particular interest to me. Unlike other countries I've visited, the UK has quite disparate ways of managing our marine heritage and seas. - not very 'joined-up'. Defra have been looking into this for a while through the Marine Bill.

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...

Monday, 9 July 2007

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Foiled Again!

What is it with me? A qualified, competent surveyor and I can't find a trig pillar? The one the to elude me today was Buckland Hill. Looks like a piece of cake from the map and the 1:50K I was using also had a power line on it which I was using (or not as the case may be as it's no longer there). I hunted pretty high and low for this blasted trig pillar including quite a few stints in high bracken. I'm 5' 5" and the bracken was over my head! A machete would have been more use than a GPS receiver in this instance. No-one said being tall and a dab hand with bracken clearing was a prerequisite for trig pillar hunting.

Nice views though, give or take the low cloud.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Coastal Mapping Improvement Programme

Reading about this tonight. I presume it's UK mainland only - or at least for the moment? It'll be interesting to see how Seazone get on. I don't envy them! From personal previous experience of ICZMap initiatives it's easier said than done.wink A 3D surface model of the UK continental shelf incorporating topo and bathy in one model, with one horizontal datum and one vertical datum (ah - the tricky bit!) will be fab.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

SDI Africa

Browsing a GIS website tonight and came across this article about a pretty switched on woman. I have travelled more in Africa than any other continent bar Europe and although by no means an expert on any African topic, I naturally perk up when it's mentioned - especially when GIS involved. Kate has a full-on job trying to keep up with what's happening in Africa. I've just signed up to the SDI newsletter. It's absolutely chocka with GIS initiatives that are happening on the continent - varying from monitoring displaced people in West Dafur to GIS for Marine Aquaculture to satellite weather information on a mobile phone. And what's more encouraging is that, in Kate's words, it's only a smattering of what's going on.

The GSDI covers not only Africa so whatever floats your boat on SDI, click here now.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Map Reading in Amsterdam

Just been to Amsterdam for the weekend. Nothing at all geodetically heavy, but fascinating that of the few pictures taken of me by my family I'm holding (you've guessed it) a map.

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?!