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.