Tuesday, 26 January 2010

They Caught Up

OK, the Free Our Data has caught up (cf this post). Bizarrely their post on Free Our Data talks about 'yesterday's announcement' - which it wasn't - it was on Thurs. I expect their post was written on Friday but posted only yesterday.

Despite exciting intentions of reading the paper on GPS Vertical Control (etc) over lunch today, my lunch was instead spent cramming up on the OS Consultation in advance of a meeting about how to respond to it.

I'm meeting up with Vanessa Lawrence, DG of Ordnance Survey, on Thurs as she's delivering the annual UK Geoforum Lecture. We've dinner afterwards (oh hark - not just me!) so it'll be interesting to catch up.

Monday, 25 January 2010

International Hydrographic Review On-Line

I'm a slow learner at times and only found out today that the International Hydrographic Reivew has been on-line for a year now. There are some good articles if you're into this sort of thing. I liked the one on Chart Datum Transfer using a GPS Tide Buoy but it was frustrating it didn't give as definite conclusions as I'd have liked. It would have benefited from a section on earth tidal loading too. I also have GPS Vertical Control Unaided by a Shore Station lined up for lunchtime reading tomorrow and perhaps a long overdue refresh on S100 developments. Yes, I really am as geeky as I look.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

UK Government Data for Free?

The government portal for accessing free data was launched today. It proclaims itself to be unlocking innovation for us all but I'm not so sure. Yet. The BBC feature has some interesting debate from readers (scroll down). And I have to agree with the comment that it doesn't seem to be much 'new' data, but just data accessible from a single site. It'll be interesting to see where this goes, particuarly with the outcome of the OS consultation. As someone says, when Tim Berners-Lee moves on, and a general election comes and goes, will this still have the same impetus? Let's watch this space.

And I'm quite bemused as to why the Free Our Data campaign hasn't run this as a story. It seems to be a tad off the boil at the moment.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

One Very Excited TV Presenter!

Today's hydrographic offering comes from the BBC. Put one Fugro ship/surveying team, the MCA, the UKHO and and an incredibly enthusiastic TV presenter together and what do you get? This. Enjoy - the fun starts 20 mins in!

Monday, 18 January 2010

All Eyes on Haiti

BBC Spaceman reports on how space-eyes are being used to help in the relief efforts in Haiti. He details the international charter on space and major disasters which I'd never come across but, thinking about it, of course it must have existed. As expected Map Action have been involved. Without knowing which bridges are still standing, which roads are blocked, where the people are gathering etc aid will take longer to get to those who need it.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Haiti Moves

Nobody can have failed to miss what happened around Haiti on 12 Jan. You can easily see how the earth moved from this buoy . Ok 'only' a 15 cm wobble but a wobble of that size on a buoy is still pretty big on the land. And it's not a wave aberration - this is a true depth change. Big time stuff. I've been in an earthquake and it wasn't fun. But I was OK and walked on the next day. Some aren't that fortunate.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Pesky Definitions - Geomatics Anyone?

Last one for me tonight (I'm on a roll). Came across this article today on the definition of the geomatics market. Piece of cake huh?

Ashtech is Back

Ring a bell anyone? I remember Ashtech the first time round!

Free Nautical Chart

Hey, this is interesting! I'm not at all surprised as it's a natural extension of Open Street Map. Lots more to be found on the wiki links.

It's very much aimed at the leisure market. Notwithstanding their legal disclaimer that it can't replace an official chart, it's somewhat lacking on depth information! It's very much a free sea surface map but I love the idea. cool

Friday, 8 January 2010

Give Me a Map - I'm a Man!

Just listening to QI. It was all about gender differences. They quoted 'scientific research' that shows that men are better at reading maps (spatial awareness) and women are better at language. Ah, so that must be wy I'm komunikations managar and i kan't read maps for tofee.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

But Surely Digital Data is Modern?!

Rob Spillard, from MCA (UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency) was on Radio 4 today talking about surveying and charting. You can hear it all here. Rob starts 17 mins in.

At one stage in the interview Rob unfolded an Admiralty Chart ("isn't it huge?" says the interviewer - yes enormous especially when you only have a small space to unfold one in as I'm sure has happened to us all...rolleyes). He explained what the numbers on the chart mean and that white areas in the water are where there is no data (doodle space?). He said that some survey data used on the charts dates back to the 19th century. "Wow," remarked the interviewer, "but surely most Mariners now use satnavs and digital maps so they're OK aren't they?" Rob then had to explain to a gobsmacked interviewer that the digital charts were created from the same data source - yes, that Victorian in a rowing boat.

Age old GIS connudrum isn't it? Once digital - surely it's perfect? If only. sad

Interesting to note he mentions the UK Hydrographic Office numerous times but forgets to mention the company he works for!

A postscript to my Monday's snow blog

The Defra team have banned me from announcing when I'm coming up to London since, as expected, the weather was poor. "Next time," they pleaded, "please don't tell anyone you're coming and just sneak in!" I ended up spending an extra night in London. I probably could have caught a train back to Taunton yesterday evening but my car was in the station car park and I was nervous about arriving back late, in the dark, to have to start unearthing my car from under the snow when the temperatures were below freezing. It seemed so much more sensible to wait until daylight so came home safely today. Fortunately I had someone to dine with last night - a similarly geeky surveyor - so I wasn't Billy-No-Mates whilst stranded. cool

Monday, 4 January 2010

Snow Watching the British Way

I'm off to London tomorrow pm. Last time I was there was the first heavy snowfall pre-Christmas and the guys I was going to see in Defra couldn't make it in. They are joking that as I'm up in London to see them this week it'll be heavy snow again. I feel a deja vu experience coming on.

So, in anticipation of being snowed in (in a southeastern sort of "eek, 5cm of snow - panic" way) rolleyes I thought I'd check the weather forecast. It looks fine - OK, on the nippy side but nothing anywhere near treacherous. My googling bought me to this rain radar website which, being updated every 15 mins, is quite interesting - even if the snow does tend to be moving in the wrong direction for my liking.

I also like this tweetery one - power to the people and all that!