Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Rockall Where Art Thou?

A link to Rockall 2011 came across my desk (inbox) today. It'll be 200 years since the first recorded landfall of Rockall back in 1811. I expect it's just as unfriendly to live on today. I love the link to Ben Fogle who wanted to claim it as "Ben Land" (watch that ego fly). The story is in full here and once you get going on Rockall et al you find all interesting websites such as Islomaniac. I am veering off subject.

Back to the position of Rockall. It is was positioned in 1967 with respect to OSGB36, the extension of which is a bit of a stretch into the North Sea let alone the Atlantic Ocean. It must have been GPS'ed by now. Anyway, one to watch in 2011. In the meantime, all best wishes to my reader(s) for 2009 wink

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

It's a Geo Christmas!

Christmas would not be Christmas without the obligatory map.

However, if Christmas Island doesn't do it for you how about a custom made map Christmas card to send to your nearest and dearest? Or a Stanfords one? Or some cool North Pole ones?

And look where it may get you...marriage made in heaven?

PS. For those of you who view this blog tonight - check out where Santa is!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Geo Tie

Well, I'm definitely on a roll. We have cake, stamps and now tie. It'll be headscarves next (I think not).

I was up in London on Thursday for the annual Geomatics International Faculty Board meeting of the RICS. We have board meetings quarterly but it's only at Christmas that we scrape the cash together to fly in our colleagues from New Zealand, Hong Kong, Oman and Canada. It makes it the largest board meeting per year I chair and I hope I didn't scare anyone too much with my occasional moments of autocratic chairmanship. We had a tight schedule so I sometimes had to stop people and move things on. Perhaps I'm being harsh on myself. I got a round of applause at the end which was a first.

Following the meeting we had an evening lecture. Sir Martin Sweeting of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd gave a fascinating talk on small satellites.

I must confess I think of small satellites as something you can get in your living room; but Martin's idea is something you can pop in your shopping basket or even pocket. Nano and pico sized. Small but sweet.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Martin for our dinner. We were celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Land Division of the RICS (don't panic, the hydro bit came along a tad later) and had gathered as many ex-presidents/chairs as we could. Some old, familiar faces mingled most happily with the new faculty board. We have a lot to learn from these 'giants' of surveying.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Geo Stamps

Firstly we had a cake, now we have stamps. Have just come across a stamp website (don't ask why) containing oodles of stamps with maps on. Cool eh?

Friday, 5 December 2008

Geo Cake

I have never, ever, come across such a fantastic geo cake as this! We had a craft festival at work today and two of the guys worked through the night, so the rumour goes, to create this work of art. I have their permission to blog this so all credit (and copyright!) to Simon and George! Long may your cake baking fame live.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Are we in a Dying Profession?

And on the 'yes' side we have Dr Derby who points out that the average age of a surveyor in the US is 55 years (makes me terribly young!) and in the 'no' camp we have A Mir.

I side with Mr Mir for the very simple reason that I have a good 20 years left in this profession and I don't want it to peeter out on me!


Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Government Reports (with apologies to non-UK readers)

Another week, another couple of government reports. The Pre Budget Report 2008, which came out on Monday, had something for everyone, whether you wanted it or not. The Sunday Times managed to pre-report it, but not necessarily with all the right details so I've been dealing with that at work. All sorted now.

And then on Tuesday the Place Matters: Location Strategy came out. I like the summary on the Communities and Local Government website but found the AGI info, although more 'comprehensive' more muddling. After a few courses on communicating recently I find it sad that we couch such reports with complex wording when simpler phrases are just as (if not more) effective. How does this grab you?

"The Location Strategy offers a structured approach to facilitate the effective exploitation and realisation of the value and benefits of GI as well as enabling the implementation of the INSPIRE Directive across the UK"

Or perhaps I just over-react to the words 'facilitate' and 'realisation'?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Map Games for the Totally Bored

Am tired from too much travelling recently - meetings, training and keeping up with work e-mails simultaneously which has been hard work. So how do I relax? Bizarrely by finding this website and playing a few games. I am totally sad.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Michael Barrett Award 2008

The RICS annually awards the Michael Barrett award to an eminent boundaries expert. This year Chris Carleton, Head of Law of the Sea, UKHO won the award for his ongoing work advising on international law of the sea.

Chris has over 15 years Law of the Sea experience and I'm convinced if you wired him up for download it would take years to empty his brain. Boy, does that guy know his stuff!

Saturday, 8 November 2008


Had a great time in Liverpool at Hydro8. The hydrographic community is quite tight-knit so it doesn't take more than a few years before you start to see the same faces appearing. So, for me, 17 years in this business (I know, I don't look a day over 25) it's all friends and family to me.

As I was on the RICS stand I didn't spend much time in sessions. Enjoyed the keynote speech by the National Hydrographer of UKHO but found it hard to concentrate during the next keynote given by a local historian on the history of Liverpool docks (a slide or two would have helped).

The RICS stand had a steady tick-over of visitors. No, we weren't overwhelmed but it was paced.

On Wednesday two RICS Education staff appeared and, by then, James Kavanagh and I had lined up a group of people for them to see. It was great for RICS Education to meet and great hydrographers and to understand their professional accreditation scheme which is basically via the IHO (Cat A and Cat B courses).

We visited the Maritime Museum one evening which I enjoyed - it bought out the geek in me!rolleyes

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Tides Website Formerly Known As...

Have just been up to Liverpool for Hydro8 (more about that another day) but just wanted to blog a website I came across when talking with Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory staff. XTide is a tidal prediction programme for non-navigational use. I must confess I haven't delved into it and compared it to other tidal programmes such as the UKHO's EasyTide (global) and POL's tides (UK in the main). What amused me about this lovely site is that it's such a personal passion. Not only is XTide "formerly known as Flaterco" but there are pictures of the developer and a personal miscellany of pages such as a recipe page, 'random enlightenment' and an ignorance base. It's certainly the first time I've ever seen a hot sauce recipe on a tidal website! wink

PS. When on the POL site came across details of the new Liverpool ONE payment incorporating a 'tide pavement'.

Now is that just cool or what? cool

Sunday, 2 November 2008

GPS Fails - Yachtsmen Get Lost

Now this is a sorry, but not unexpected, tale. Mariners are continually told not to rely solely on GPS for position fixing as sometimes it fails. And when it fails you can't pull into the nearest Little Chef to find out where you are. No, you're out at sea, often out of sight of shore, on a moving vessel. At least this story has a safe ending.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Terris Novalis in the Flesh

Enroute to Newcastle on Monday I just had to detour via the Terris Novalis which I've been drooling over since August.

Despite having a 15 year old map (oops redface) we just about managed to find it. They are as impressive as I'd hoped, although they don't really fit being just across the road from a modern housing estate.

They are beautiful.

Not 100% precision tools, and the animal feet are unusual, but so wonderful to gaze at. We had a stroll around them then a climb on the level (the theodolite looked a bit too tricky to climb in heels).

Saturday, 25 October 2008

GOCE Delay

This is a shame - a delay in the GOCE, Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, mission. This is following on from the GRACE, Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, mission. Unlike GRACE, which was a twin satellite system, GOCE is stand-alone, but has some mighty impressive stats including precision accelerometers that sense accelerations as small as 1 part in 10,000,000,000,000 of the gravity experienced on Earth. That's amazing.

Missions such as this provide us with a wealth of information about our gravity field (and a darned good geoid), but as you can read in the BBC article there is lots more that can be gleaned from it.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Coming Thick and Fast

For some reason I seem to be into blogging at the moment.

The EU Satellite Navigation Competition, Galileo Masters has just announced the winners of this year's competition. SciTech systems have won the award incorporating sat nav technology into life jackets. Now, if two of my passions, Safety of Life at Sea and GPS were going to come together this is a great idea! As they say, it's one thing knowing where someone hit the water, it's another thing knowing where they are by the time you look for them. Some tidal streams are mighty fast and you don't want to be looking 10 miles in the wrong direction when someone is immersed in the ocean.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

New Surveying Uniform

An astute Joules clothing shopper in the Isle of Man spotted this and sent it to me today.

It's the prettiest surveyor my husband has seen for a long time apparently.

No comment. wink

Update Down South

An update to my post of last November...

Mr Droggie New Zealand - one of the many - has been in touch. Ross is continuing to study his Cat A course part time at the University of Otago, a Post Graduate Diploma Science (Hydrographic Survey) whilst also teaching (to earn a living no doubt).

He sent me a picture of him at a GPS station in the southern alps (the NZ variety rather than the European ones) used to monitor movements. It is one of a dozen or more than are checked/downloaded at 6 monthly intervals. The exciting bit is flying into them by helicopter and I imagine the views are fantastic!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Grim Reaper's Road Map

Today's mapping story is courtesy of the BBC who have caught my attention with the Grim Reaper's Road map. Actually it's a book, not quite yet released, entitled "The Grim Reaper's Road Map: An Atlas of Mortality in Britain (Health and Society Series)". The first thing to note is that it doesn't seem to cover Britain; unless Scotland has no deaths whatsoever which I find hard to believe. Secondly, young deaths (ie until about 30) tend to be caused more by traffic accidents and suicide than the more heralded causes of knife and gun crime. Road death stats are not to be ignored.

I'm also interested to note that the Community Justical Portal calls this an 'exciting new atlas' (interesting use of the word exciting) and then continues to list other hot titles this month including 'Traffic Jam' and 'Tackling Prison Overcrowding'.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Keep on Digging

Ever wondered where you'd end up if you dug and dug until you popped out the other side of the world? Well, now the answer is a mere click away...

Friday, 17 October 2008


There was an OPSI conference this week. Michael Wills wasn't able to make it but it still looked a good day from some of the notes I've been passed. OPSI, Office of Public Sector Information, encourages the re-use of public sector information. I can imagine this is no mean feat at times!

Hadn't realised how much information it contains until I started hunting around. For example it contains UK Legislation, Official Publications (through link to TSO), old Gazettes - a plethora of things you never knew you'd missed until now. Happy reading. wink

Monday, 13 October 2008

Marine Bill - Government Response to Consultation

Have just been reading the government response to the Marine Bill consultation. Quite a long document but structured so you can hunt your way through it. Shame there isn't much on geospatial information. It gets a mention - including the fact that HM Government doesn't believe MMO should lead on it - but no solution is particularly offered.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Search my Soul

There's an interesting discussion on the Ed Parsons blog at the mo about 'introspective soul searching'. He's hit a point. It is easy for any profession that feels under threat to batten down the hatches and cry foul that others 'just don't understand us'. Perhaps it's a standard human response - to protect what we know and to find it hard to relinquish control of knowledge. I easily fall in this trap but then shake myself to embrace change. How often do we hear people talk about the 'good old days'. Hello? The good old days when you could only get cash when the banks were open; when you had to go to a library to do your homework as they had all the reference documents; to spend weeks without contact from loved ones as the satellite phone was too pricey and there were no other comms. No, I quite like the here and now. But it's always a challenge how to accept change and use it to our advantage.

Anyway, he has a fair balance of comments but my favourite is definitely "the audience were obviously ludites as they were taking notes". Goodness me. Now taking notes in a presentation brands you as 'thick'. I thought it was a sign that you were taking an interest?! rolleyes

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Constructive, but Tired, Women

Quick blog. Up to London tomorrow. First off I plan to meet Sandi Jones. I met her back in Oct 07 and was impressed by her presence and wisdom. Ever since then we've been trying to meet and I think it's going to happen tomorrow. I found her blog the other month - check it out - it's very 'me'.

It'll then be the RICS Michael Barrett award for 2007 (don't ask, it's complicated) and dinner with some no doubt entertaining surveyors. No, that is not an oxymoron.

And on Friday I'll be chairing the RICS Geomatics Faculty Board meeting. Lots to discuss as ever. Let's hope my energy levels keep up. I started a new role at work last Monday and the vertical learning curve takes some getting used to!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Somerset Area RICS Lunch

Attended a lunch yesterday hosted by the RICS Somerset association, which I attended with my GeoChair head on. Lovely venue, nice mix of people and scrumptious food. Spent most of my time talking with a property development solicitor and the chair of ICE south west region. It's always good to mix and mingle with those aligned to your work, but not directly related to it.

And then it was a dash to London for training today. Spotted a Benchmark surveys van scoot past on the Millbank road. Now home, it's only just dawned on me they are a local (to me) company and their office is on my jogging route! It's a small world.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Water Stops Rowing Event

I was amused to see that the local charity row was postponed as it was too wet.

If you read on it makes perfect sense of course.

Friday, 5 September 2008

You Can Always Trust a Pharmacist

I was reading a magazine earlier (the lovely Motoring and Leisure) and came across an article by Sam Manicom who undertakes motorcycle treks. His recent article on India gave an enlightening look into direction finding in Asia.

"Asking directions in India is nearly always an adventure... I'd learnt that when saying 'is this the way to...?' whilst pointing in the direction I thought was correct, I'd always get an 'Oh yes Sah, this is very much being the right direction for you Sah'. It almost almost never was the right way.

"It wasn't that the people were being deliberately difficult, quite the opposite. They were being too helpful, and saving face. They wanted to help so much, that when they didn't know the right direction, they would point you somewhere that might possibily be correct, just in case...

"It was far better to ask, 'which is the way to...?' whilst keeping my hands down by my sides. Even when asking for directions in the correct way, I would still have to ask at least five very different people, and then take the route that most people said. Frequently they'd be right. But the best option of all was to go into a pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for directions... Not one time did I have a wrong set of directions from a pharmacist."

Move over Ordnance Survey - let's use Boots the Chemist from now on wink

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Maps Ahoy

It's been a week of coming across lots of maps; not just the standard OS type, but using graphical displays of geospatial information.

First off we have the Olympic medal map which, when compared to GDP per capita, sadly gives a very strong relationship.

Another - very unscientific - correlation I spotted this week was between obesity levels and happiness. I saw the happiness map first (annoyingly I can now only find the article not the map) followed swiftly by the obesity map. Perhaps it's just me but at first glance could there be a link between being happy and being fat?

And wish I'd been passing Baltimore earlier this year to see this exhibition.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Terris Novalis

Now THIS I have to see!

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Hello BBC!

Since posting this link about the One Geology lecture in Jan I'm delighted to see it make the headlines of the BBC science/nature in July. Perhaps we really are getting somewhere?

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Flight Patterns

In the space of two days last week I had two unexpected conversations about GPS and flying.

The first was about GPS assisted incursions into air space. Good old GPS is so easy to use: an inexperienced, private navigator simply pops in a waypoint for Brest and off they fly. In a straight line. Straight into Heathrow airspace.

Since GPS has been used by private pilots incursions into airspace have rocketed.

And the second one was at a party on Saturday where, over a glass of wine, I discovered that the chap I was talking to worked for QinetiQ on air flight patterns. We had a lovely chat (boring to everyone else around us!) about air pressures. I hadn't realised that each airport sets it's barometric pressure to a certain amount and broadcasts this for all planes in that area. And once over a certain height all pilots switch to 1013mB for flying. Once you're that high absolute position doesn't matter but relative position (to everything else in the air) is critical and its essential that they're all on the same settings. Makes sense when you think about it.

Eurocontrol has introduced GPS, in the differential mode, for landing but only for those airports where surveying has taken place.

I love parties where you learn things. I recall a New Year's Eve Party in Cape Town recently where I fell into conversation with someone about SAP and production systems. Lock me up someone. rolleyes

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

There's Hope Yet

Who knows, with a role model like this I may still yet become Dr Adams. wink

Sunday, 20 July 2008

TP5547 with tworedboots

My friend, otherwise known as tworedboots, dragged me out geocaching today. Well, not dragged necessarily but I've always been a bit wary of something which relies totally on GPS positioning and not good old fashioned map reading. It seems so much like cheating rolleyes

Anyway, after a swift find of the cache we headed off to locate the trig pillar at Pynes Hill. Piece of cake since I had a 1:25 000 OS map on which it was clearly marked. I got the right side of the fence, which GPS doesn't give you, but annoyingly Sarah found it first with her GPS. It was so hidden in brambles and nettles that none of us could see it. However Sarah was convinced her GPS was right and eventually spied it through the overgrowth before I did. Give me some humble pie please redface

I crawled into the nettles to find it but still only got to within 2 metres of it. I was too caught up in brambles with my hair/jeans/jumper to get any closer!

Anyway, all blogged here. Now I must be getting truly sad. To not only bag a trig pillar but to write about it.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Double the Difference Galileo Style

The first report that double differencing has been done on Galileo signals. I think we may be getting somewhere.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Beating the Retreat

I went to Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on Thursday visiting the astronomers of HMNAO. Had a really useful time catching up on all things astronomical. I was particularly tickled by a chat between two of them when one of them stated "ah yes, Steve, you are far further out than me". On explanation I was told that Don only does planet orbits whereas Steve is interested in stars - the 'way out' guy. I am so local, Mrs Terrestrial as I am.

Had an interesting chat about orbit modelling and how it is impossible to obtain a perfect answer when you work with datasets of varying quality and time span. For example, Don was trying to model the orbits of Uranus using datasets which were (a) high quality, but only 6 months' worth and (b) low quality but over a long period. Both datasets are vital but you have to know how to use/weight them. Ah, now there's the connudrum and depending how you weight, and which long/short wavelengths you choose, it can completely alter the answer.

Met with their RAL boss at lunchtime who is keen on telescope pointing. So that kick-started a discussion about deviation of the vertical, Hawaii and Tristan da Cunha. So I shared my salad with a planetary modeller; a stellar guru and a telescope pointer. Makes for a fun lunch. wink And we honestly didn't mention Patrick Moore too much...

That evening attended the ceremony of Beating the Retreat at the Denison Barracks, Hertimage, Newbury [42 Royal Engineering Unit and Royal School of Military Survey]. I've been there many times with the RN 'Long Course' studying GPS and least squares but this time was pure pleasure. Well, pleasure with a lot of networking and catching up with old colleagues.

My favourite old friend though was not where I expected it. The last time I saw it, it was proudly perched in the middle of the bar area but they have been moved to a corner between and ladies and gents toilets. Such salubrious surroundings!

I think it's a Cooke's theodolite but not sure which one. Anyone know?

As ever, I am immensely impressed by Beating the Retreat. How the band plays and moves in strictly choreographed moves is a wonder. Perhaps it's dead easy and you just follow the person in front but, ahem, what if you are the one in front? The band of the Royal Engineers were great.

After a sensibly early night I headed off to Worcester on Friday to attend the 2008 graduation of the survey school.

Was delighted to see 24 students graduate with an NVQ Level 3 Spatial Data Managment - well done! My only disappointment was that there was only one female amongst them all. Where are all the women?

Again, a great chance to catch up with friends and colleagues, in particular contacts from the Institute of Civil Engineers who are on the road to getting a Royal Charter. Well done them.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

On Tour

Well, it's not exciting, but interesting non-the-less.

Off to Rutherford Appleton Laboratories tomorrow to see a staff member. Should be good especially if I get a look around. However, I'm there to talk all things astronomy so may not get much tourism in.

After this am at the Royal School of Military Survey, Hermitage, for Beating the Retreat. As this is with my RICS Geomatics Chair head on I am being accompanied by Rob Mahoney, an old RICS friend and most knowlegable Geo person. Should be great fun, especially if the rain holds off. Looking forward to catching up with some old colleagues there.

On Friday travel to Worcester for the Survey School for The Survey Assocation 'Introduction to Surveying' course graduation. Again, lots of contacts will be there and an opportunity to welcome lots of keen (I hope) people to the wonderful world of Geomatics.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Honey, I Shrunk a Planet

Having recently taken over responsibility for a group of astronomers at work, I'm a bit more attuned to celestial nuggets of information. So to find that Mercury has shrunk a bit, well not just a bit but to the tune of 1.5km over its 'history' (whatever that may be) was of interest. That would certainly put your reference frame realisations into a bit of a spin wouldn't it?

Talking with my new team makes me realise how local I am. I thought the fact that I deal with global data gave me a wider outlook than, say, my Ordnance Survey colleagues who 'only' do the UK. However dealing with astronomers who are into quasars and the celestial sphere makes me feel terribly parochial!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

The End of the World As We Know It

Oops, just dropped a favourite mug.

This is a Bit Better

After struggling to find a decent explanation of LandXML earlier this month I've been pointed towards this page which is a tad better. To be honest, until I see a practical application of it I will be a tad in the dark. But I've been advised I may be enlightened at a meeting in September. Boy, the excitement is building already.

Friday, 27 June 2008

John the Asteroid

This is sooooooo cool!


Travelled to Brussels for an RICS Chairman's day on Tuesday. A really good day with lots of networking and sharing ideas. Had to fly home via Southampton (I live in Exeter) as Flybe, or Flymaybe as a colleague calls them, cancelled my flight the week before and rerouted me. So my evening turned into a version of Planes Trains and Automobiles. Had a taxi to Brussels Airport, a flight to Southampton, train from Southampton Airport to Southampton Central, train from Central to Westbury (complete with friendly drunk who fortunately was distracted talking with Glastonbury campers), on from Westbury to Exeter St Davids and then a taxi home.

On Thursday it was up to London for another RICS meeting; this time the Geomatics Faculty Board. A low turn out but made it easier to chair wink and we reached consensus quickly. Again, Glastonbury reared its head as the train home was chocka with roll mats, tents and sleeping bags on the way home (not to mention a few hundred people of course). I wonder if they'll be using their GPS whilst there (see this article).

Also wrote my article for Geomatics World yesterday but unfortunately have not been able to slot in my favourite image due to cost/copyright etc. So I'll just have to provide you lucky readers with a link instead. Remind you of anyone?

Friday, 20 June 2008

World Hydrography Day

Attended a reception at Trinity House Wednesday evening in celebration of World Hydrography Day. Attended with the RICS president, David Tuffin. We had a good time chatting to people from the IHO, Royal Navy, UKHO, Port of London, MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency) etc.

It was a lovely venue and great to chat to all and sundry about capacity building, surveying and charting. What more could I want?

Actually, one of these would be nice...

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Time Flies

...and suddenly it's nearly two weeks since my last post.

I've been busy with external examining at Plymouth and keeping up with the day job so haven't got round to blogging recently. Enjoyed my latest edition of GISPro particularly Adena Schutzberg's column on metaplatforms, "platforms to manage platforms". Can't find a particularly good explanation of them on the web so, sorry, no link.

Off to celebrate World Hydrography Day at Trinity House tonight. Will hopefully take some photos to brighten up this blog.wink

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Land XML for dummies?

I was up at the RICS on Tuesday for a Geomatics Executive board meeting. As usual, we got loads done and had great fun doing so. The best meetings are always the ones where you laugh lots - or was it everyone laughing at me....question.

During the meeting LandXML was mentioned. I've obviously heard of XML but not this specific variant - probably because I work in marine rather than the land environment. So I thought I'd find out something about it. I'm not doing too well! The first site I found was this. Now, I'm an intelligent person but, honestly, this really put me off. I didn't know where to start! And this one wasn't much better (paragraphs would help). So where's the page "LandXML for dummies" to be found?

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Shape Files and the NAO

Have been playing with ESRI shape files this evening. I can't easily view them at work due to the s/w I have available, so I bought them home to view. I downloaded Shape Viewer which is so easy to use even I worked it out. Sometimes you know it's a hassle to do something at work and a five minute job at home.

Someone mentioned the NAO today at work. My immediate thought was the National Audit Office but, no, it was more specialist than this - the National Almanac Office. Interesting stuff.

Alongside this I had a response from the publishing company today. Apparently they are audited occasionally and to prove that the individuals stated did really sign up, the auditors ring them to ask them their 'personal question' - ie, "what star sign are you?" If this is all it is why on earth don't they just ask for the month of birth? Believe it or not, I know people who don't know their astral sign (and why should they?). So I'm still on the campaigning trail!

Sunday, 18 May 2008


I've been thinking about Map Action quite a bit recently and wondered how they would prioritise their resource between the two humanitarian disasters which have happened - Myanmar and China - and all the others they are still involved with. It must be hard trying to gauge where you believe you can make most difference. I think we all face this all the time (or, rather, we should!).

I'd love to join Map Action except the commitment is high and I need to balance it with everything else I'm involved with. Added to this I'd be pretty useless as I've no ArcGIS 9.0 experience - just management guff.

Talking of priorities, my e-mails to the publishing agency have fallen on deaf ears. I shall recommence the fight on Monday.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Gnashing of Teeth

Arrived back from CHC2008 full of ideas having had a successful visit. Lots of news and views to swap with the American and Canadians. Also lovely to catch up on the Commission 4 news in person.

Had a free lunch today so sat and read the RICS Research paper on "The Potential of Synthetic Aperture Radar for assessing carbon storage in savanna woodlands" (I always thought it was Savannah with an 'h'). I'd highly recommend it. And I'm most impressed at their levelling misclosure of only 7mm over nearly 1km. As I agreed with one of the authors today - probably a good dose of errors cancelling each other out there! wink

And my rant today? I received two magazine renewals by e-mail today for which I have free subscriptions. I merrily went through the form to renew, filling in name, address, job title etc until I got to astral sign. Astral sign? What on earth has that got to do with surveying? It's a mandatory question so unless I fill it in I will forgo two interesting geo magazines. But I object strongly to filling in such irrelevant information and am digging my heels in.

For now, the magazine publisher shall remain nameless.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


Currently in Victoria, BC, for CHC2008. Attended a workshop on Vertical Datum Transformations yesterday where I spoke and we had an interesting discussion about the UK, US and Canadian approaches to derivation of transformation models.

And this morning I've attended quite a few charting type presentations and a few poster sessions. Now, after an UNCLOS lecture, am taking a breather before back for a few more later.

Notwithstanding the conference, Victoria is a beautiful place.

and so was Greenland enroute.