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

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