Monday, 30 November 2009

Cassini Maps - A Century of Change on a Single Map Sheet

I recently bought a framed map from Cassini Maps and ended up (it's a long story) with a free copy of this map of Exeter and Exmouth. What a beauty.

You unfold it to find 4 maps on one sheet. It's incredibly straight-forward to track the changes over the decades when it's all laid in front of you.

Now all my parents will need is one of Basingstoke and we'll all be

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Latitude and Longitude, or was it Longitude and Latitude?

Somebody was relating a story to me recently about getting latitude and longitude muddled up. It made me remember times when I've easily swapped the two over as they were so similar - think of working in Egypt (30 deg north, 30 east), Russia (50/60/70 deg north/east), Senegal (15 deg south, 15 west)... I could go on but get the point?

I doubt if anyone working in Oceania has these issues. Think about it.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

There's Always Someone Smarter Than You Out There

Unfortunately I'm married to them... rolleyes

After my blog yesterday when I got very excited about pictures painting a thousand words he dropped into conversation this morning that he's been watching the Information is Beautiful blog for months. Well, I do try and keep up but... And then he mentioned another blog he monitors called Cartastrophe. Right up my street! This blog is written by a guy with a dry sense of humour - quote "I’m really nitpicky. My students love it. At least, that’s how I interpret their annoyed stares."

Now all I have to do is find a geeky geo blog before my husband does. wink What, me competitive?

PS. My daughter watched me type this post and stated incredulously "what, Dad's more clever than than you...REEEEAAALLY?" lol

Friday, 27 November 2009

Paint me a Picture

This article made a lot of sense. I love the creative ways we can display facts and figures using maps, charts, diagrams, pictures. It makes so much sense.

The comments beneath the article make interesting reading. Hey, nice to spot the geomatics surveyor cool but also interesting to read that some people really don't 'get' these. Let's never forget that we have different audiences and what works for some doesn't work for others. Creativity makes the world go round.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Ordnance Survey Maps For Free?

Now this is an annoucement and a half. Or as the Free Our Data blog puts it "do we smell victory? Hell yeah". Or you can take the rather more restrained announcement directory from the Ordnance Survey itself.

Nobody quite knows what this means yet. Is it access to OS maps, at 1:10,000 and smaller? Or is it access to data? Raster? Ed Parsons has some thoughts. As does the Guardian. Let's watch this space eh?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Benchmarks 'R Us

A bit of a UK theme today but perhaps there are international analogies?

I am sorry (or relieved?) to say I have recently discovered there are more geeks out there than just me. More people who actually think staring at benchmarks or trig pillars is quite thrilling. OK, park us in the 'must get out more' club but humour us please.

You can check out the UK benchmark database. The OS is pretty hands-off with respect to benchmarks but, correctly, states that you can't rely on them for vertical positioning and should use GPS heighting instead. Or have a hunt around here. Or at Fayers.

And while I was hunting around looking for benchmarks I came across something even better. Check out the British Isles by geo location.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Surveying's Not for Softies

Attended a good marine RICS lecture on Thursday night. Glyn Hunt is a land surveyor who now works offshore; primarily in support of the Oil and Gas industry. His well illustrated talk was an insight into life away from the comfort of terra firma.

Life on an oil rig is full of surveying challenges and by the end of his talk I crowned him the Boy Scout of surveying. I don't think he knew how to take it confused but I was trying to encapsulate his job offshore. If anything breaks or goes wrong when you're on a rig/platform then you can hardly pop down to PC World and get a new one or find someone to fix it. You are on your own and if you can't fix it you hold up the job (and time = money). He has learnt, since moving offshore, how to work a myriad of various receivers, antenna, software packages etc. He's also discovered 1001 uses for packing tape.

Surveying offshore is not for softies. If you can't cope with the weather chucking anything at you, having poor comms at times, shifts, working remotely, not seeing your nearest and dearest for weeks/months at a time, having everything delivered by ship/helicopter (weather depending) and being ready for anything I suggest you stay land based.

Oh hark at me, this is from a woman who works from a desk at Taunton. rolleyes

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Old News - Same Old Problem

I've just come across these stories of GPS assisted groundings, or GAGs as we affectionately call them. The first GAG listed is an absolute classic with the understated lines...

[a colleague] ...took the Mayday call. He told me he was surprised that the guy knew what he'd hit.

Usually, boats hit reefs because they're lost.

Sadly these are probably repeated on an all too frequent basis. rolleyes

Friday, 6 November 2009

Hairy Northern Wood Ant

GPS is revolutionising nature conservation. Thank goodness for that.

Gone are the days when GPS was the preserve of geodetic geeks (and I raise my hand here). It didn't take us long to realise, back in the early 90s, that GPS was such a fantastic tool. It shouldn't just be kept in the world of surveyors but should be shared with anyone who wanted to position themselves. And, as you know data, makes so much more sense when it's related to a location.

I'm not downgrading the specialist profession of the geomatics surveyor, far from it - only a trained surveyor knows the details of accuracy, precision and repeatability of the data they have - but for locating ant hills, bring it on!