Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Treats

It started well by bagging a trig on Christmas Eve whilst out for a run in Basingstoke.
11 12 24 TP4159 - Kempshott
Not the most attractive of trigs but there you go.

Great excitement yesterday as I unwrapped my presents. There was a bit of a theme - aided and abetted by my Amazon wish list - but it was lovely to open so many map related gifts. Look at these beauties...
11 12 25 Map of the World
11 12 25 Tube Map
I should add that I love doing jigsaws so a double whammy. [Note to John - sorry but can't photograph your jigsaw as girls have already hijacked box]. And my Dad surprised me with this gorgeous book that I hardly put down yesterday.
11 12 25 Atlas of London
And if you thought that was all a bit geeky look what Rog, my husband, bought for me.
11 12 25 Higgs Watt theodolite
How absolutely wonderful is this?! I've never owned my own theodolite. For sure, not terribly practical - I have little need to pop out and do a round of angles - but from the sheer fun point of view, what a treat. I am very rusty on all things theodolitey and seem to have lost the vertical clamp (is there one?) but I'm hoping that my mate Ken Hall will swing by one day and explain the finer points to me. I spent the rest of the day, when I occasionally took my nose out of my Dad's book, to mumble "I've got a theodolite" with a big grin on my face. I think I'm truly sad.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Another One Bites the Dust and Educating Cheltenham

It was going to be impossible to travel to the RICS Governing Council with Ken Hall and not bag a trig. We detoured off near Chichester and logged a nice easy find. 11 11 27 TP2173 Happy Days
Finding the trig was the easy bit. Sorting out my belt and the brambles was a tad more problematic.
11 11 27 TP2173 Ruth and bramble
Gov Co went well. I enjoyed my 5 minutes of fame by providing the Vote of Thanks to Vanessa Lawrence, CE of Ordnance Survey, after her talk. Received some positive comments afterwards but suspect it may have had a lot to do with the brevity of my speech. I was between Vanessa and dinner so knew my place ('stand up, shut up, sit down'). Ok, perhaps I rambled for just a tad longer...
11 11 28 RICS Gov Co Brighton
Gov Co info all here.

I was in Cheltenham with some friends on Sat and showed them their first ever Benchmark. "Oh," exclaimed one, "and there I was thinking it was a masonic mark". You live and learn eh?

Just seen that the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep has been remeasured. Apparently to a greater precision than before. I don't like that phrase - I'm far more nterested in the accuracy of the measurement than precision. It may well be precise but could be 10km wrong!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Got One! And so did Rog.

I was out in Honiton today and raced the girls to find the BM on St Peter's church (there just had to be one). And there was! Bagged by my daughter who was very proud of herself. Perhaps her maternal madness is rubbing off. 11 11 20 BM side of Honiton Church
Even greater excitement when I spotted a flush bracket near by. Roll of eyes by girls and they walk off disowning me as I take a photo of it.
11 11 20 Flush Bracket Honiton
Anyway, I wasn't finished with them yet - which they knew as they'd spotted tell tale signs in the boot of the car.
11 11 20 Ready for the trig
Off to find a friendly trig pillar. One of the girls joined me initially but got wet feet and retreated to the car where the other one lounged in the warmth. It was an easy find, once I entered the right field (!).
11 11 20 TP2140 Cheriton Hill
Rog announced this evening, just as I was downloading phots, that he'd bagged a trig the previous week. He and some colleagues were in Snowdonia on a Mountain Leadership training weekend. This is Claire bagging Moel Siabod in style. That's PE teachers for you.
11 11 12 Moel Siabod and Claire

Monday, 14 November 2011

A Few of My Favourite Things

I suspect that anyone geeky enough to be remotely interested in this blog will also (perhaps secretly?) have a favourite map projection. Mine is the Winkel Tripel for no other reason than it sounds slightly rude and the teenager in me finds that amusing. And I confess liking long map projection names - 'Mercator' doesn't do much for me, but doesn't 'Snyder Flat Polar Minimum Error' sound fab?

OK, confession time, I have a favourite spheroid too - the Krasvosky one. Again, a lovely one to roll off the tongue.

Now I'm on a roll. My favourite geodetic datum is the Afgooye (Somalia), with the Bukit Rimpah (Indonesia) in a close second.

And grid? The Rectified Skew Orthomorphic Borneo Grid.

And the trigger for all this was a website my husband came across today. Enjoy this.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Military Mapping at the National Archives

Had a wonderful day off on Tuesday up at The National Archives, Kew.  The mapping team were running an exhibition on military mapping.  What a fab day.  The morning was spent listening to a few presentations from the knowledgeable staff and I was pleased, as I sat at the back, to recognise some familiar heads in the audience.  See?  I'm not the only addict.  As ever I was one of a few females there and 20 years younger than most others: one day I'm not going to be able to say that, sniff.

In the afternoon we pored over a collection of exhibits the curators had found for us.

The earliest one was a chart from 1587 showing anticipated cannon range.  Obvious forward planning in case of an attack of Plymouth by the Spanish Armada.
11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew

I liked this chart showing the tracks of HMS FISGARD.  If you zoom in enough you can see where the ship tacked into the wind.
11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew 

More recently a beautiful (if you can call anything to do with the Flanders campaign beautiful) WWI painting of a photo montage showing the destruction of Ypres.
11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew
11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew
And an air chart of the routes to be taken by the Mohne Dam Busters during the WWII.

11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew
An aerial photo of Acton, London, taken in May 1939 by the Germans.
11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew
A slightly quirky campaign chart based around Operation Transom, May 1944.  We think the FGT is a 'Floating Giant Turtle'.
11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew 
On my way out I lingered over this gorgeous globe.  I like mosaics so this is a doubly wonderful find.
11 10 25 Globe outside the National Archives at Kew
And my final treat came as I walked back to the Tube Station.
11 10 25 Ruth house at Kew 

All my photos can be found at Military Mapping at the National Archives.
11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew 11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew  11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew
11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew
11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew 11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew  11 10 25 Military Mapping at Kew

Thursday, 29 September 2011

One Bagged - Two DNFs

I am delighted that my annual leave has coincided with some superb summer like weather in the UK. The trigs are just calling out to be bagged.

My first was a nice easy one, Dumpdon Hill. I somehow missed the easy path up and struggled through gorse to find my goal.

Self portraits are always hard when you're alone and there are no convient perches to place the camera for a self-timed shot.

As if I need to prove I've been there eh?

Once at the top I found the stupidly easy path back down which lead straight to the car park. Doh.

I then headed for Lowman's Farm which is a killer to find apparently. It's on a busy, fast road so you can't park easily. And, more importantly, the local golf course has removed the hedges which are my reference points for finding something hidden in brambles. I shall have to go back with the GPS. I feel it's cheating but there you go. redface

And my second failure was Broad Down. This was a spur of the moment trig which I must stop doing! If I'd read up on this trig I would have known that it has been moved so I was never going to find it. I had a bramble fight for nothing. It was a challenge to get to (or to the spot where I thought it was meant to be) and I had to climb a fence and avoid all plants spiky - which I miserably failed to do. There was also a helicopter overhead. It passed once then came back directly overhead at a lower altitude. I decided that even if it wasn't MI5, I was starting to look a bit suspicious and headed home.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Peak Hill Sidmouth

It was a gorgeous day yesterday. Rog and school kids were at Ladram Bay with Duke of Edinburgh training so my parents and I popped out to see them. My parents live in Basingstoke so a visit to the beautiful Devon south coast is a treat. And for me as well - I never tire of this county. wink

I realised we were only 1km away from High Peak trig so I just had to go and bag it. I dragged my Mum up too. I think she likes these 'interesting' walks I take her on. She seems to remember Dorcester with fondness. "You kept taking me off on walks to discover something surveying related," she recalled.

There is a superb view from the trig - look at this.

Happy days.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


A benchmarking friend of mine (see? I do have some) sent me the link to Geograph today. It is an OS-sponsored website which collates photographs of every grid square in the UK - National Grid square to be precise. The term is 'geographing'. It's like a mini version of the Degree Confluence Project. I'm not surprised the OS sponsored this site; it's free (or pretty much free to them) crowd sourcing, but neatly organised into OS-speak. By this I mean, it functions around grid squares which land mappers in the UK are very happy with but for others, such as myself who think in lat/long, it drives me potty.

Can't blog for long, I'm off to play games with Perdita the Geograph hamster. Honestly!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

UN GIS Committee

Read that the UN Economic and Social Council have set up a committee on global geospatial information. It's obviously great that the UN have taken this onboard. I quote the Secretary General who proposed that

"the UN take the lead role and serve as the coordinating entity of the global geospatial information community, hence the decision to create the committee."

There's a little voice inside me though that is saying 'horse - stable - bolt'.

Friday, 26 August 2011

GNSS Guidance and Other Friday Night Musings

The new Guidelines for GNSS Positioning in the Oil and Gas Industry have recently been published. You can find them at the IMCA website, and also the OGP one. A lovely read; reminds me of the type of documents I used to know insideout. Alas I am just management material now.

There are echoes of the latest RICS guidance here too, "Guidelines for the use of GNSS in surveying and mapping', the latest edition can be found here. Not sure if you have to be member to download this one though - surely not.

Interested to read that the sea ice has melted sufficiently this year to give routes through the Arctic.

I've also been reading the UK Government's open data consultations which were released earlier this month - Making Open Data Real: A Public Consultation and the Public Data Corporatation. These are important documents which need measured responses. However, it being Friday night, I was also quite tickled by the adverts which popped up between the pages of this consultation - ranging from ferry offers to kitchen appliances, xerox adverts and more than the usual smattering of warnings that 'the end time is here'.

Monday, 15 August 2011

French Benchmark and Other Goodies

Well, you knew I was going to look didn't you? Found one in Thonon-les-Bains but this was in St Jean d'Aulps. Good old IGN.

Other French goodies... Visited the control room of the ATLAS cell of CERN. Spent the whole day here wandering around the exhibitions and having a 2 hour tour. I must confess that our tour guide's enthusiasm was a bit much for me at times (she's an experimental physicist) but I have no doubt that I probably sound as keen/geeky on my specialist passion too. [For those with good eyesight you'll note that the LHC was being maintained at this moment and there are no experiments being conducted].

After a whole day of quarks (I had no idea there were so many), antimatter, string theory, muons and the search for Higgs boson my head was somewhat stuffed.

I was interested to find out why the majority of the LHC is in France. Apparently in Switzerland one owns not only the surface skin on which your property is, but all the land beneath it. You can imagine that building a 27km ring 100m below ground makes for some complicated land law discussions. ATLAS is the only one of the 4 experimentation units on the LHC which is in Switzerland.

Enroute to CERN I realised that our sat nav was displaying our next road name. Isn't this just cool?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Brambles 1 - Ruth 0 (but still got my trig!)

Sometimes when I'm feeling low I need to get out and find a trig. OK, perhaps not normal but works for me usually.

So today tracked down Rockbeare Hill New trig. A pig of a find as it's on the edge of a quarry and there are a horde of brambles to wade through to get to.

And if I'd planned ahead and wore appropriate clothing I wouldn't have, once again, drawn blood through the cause of duty. But there's something quite heroic about trig pillar hunt injuries don't you think?

Friday, 22 July 2011

My Mate Dave

Well, to be honest, I haven't seen David Powell (of Anstey's Boundary Disputes fame) for a few years but we used to work closely together when he was Chair of the Geomatics Professional Group of the RICS. Just read this article by him, which reminds me of a debate I listened to perhaps 5+ years ago between David P and a.n.other (it was really that memorable) when David was anti precise cadastre. Pleased to read he's still on his straight and narrow!

So what rocks your boat - general boundaries or precise cadastre?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Holyhead Find

Not found by me but my uncle and aunt on a recent holiday. And they know I like a good trig. wink

Always handy to have something to lean against when consulting the map.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Royal Institute of Navigation

Attended the RIN AGM yesterday in London on behalf of my business. An interesting event - mix of old school and cutting edge technology. The Duke of Edinburgh was there to present the prizes (poor photo but you'd never believe me otherwise).

I enjoyed the talk on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by the CE of Northrup Grunman - lots of whizzy applications continue to be developed. I didn't, however, enjoy the school boy humour at times directed against women. The RIN claims to be a professional institution, so I don't expect to see sexist derogatory pictures of women at this event. I mentioned it a chap over drinks later "ah, well we're all the same aren't we?" he chuckled. Well, it's put me off even considering joining.

Apart from that met up with some old faces and had a good chinwag with a guy from Collingwood and someone from Abbeywood (is there a wood theme?).

And also bagged a lovely BM.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

I Succumb...

We are having an extension built at the moment and the builders are using our garage to store their tools over night. Imagine my glee when I found one of these

tucked in a corner. It's been there a couple of weeks and last night I could resist no longer and set it up in the garden. My 15 year old was pretty unimpressed when I showed her how to level the bubble and my 13 year old didn't even budge off the sofa she was that underwhelmed.

Well, I think it's cool!

Friday, 1 July 2011

RICS - Technical Routes to Membership and Chinese Delegations

The RICS has recently launched two new routes to membership for technical surveyors, Assoc RICS (formerly known as TechRICS) with a Land/Engineering route and a Hydrographic Surveying one. It has taken us far too many months of thought, review, re-review, and a good deal of prodding of RICS Education, to get to this stage. But, at last, droggies with a Cat B qualification - spot the typo if you can - can easily join the RICS at a technical level. [Actually, other hydro surveyors can too - but read on]. It has taken many years to get to this stage. When I first took over as Chair of Geomatics I asked what the routes to membership were for Cat A and B surveyors. "You what?" they responded? So there started the education of RICS staff to ensure they understood the relevance of the internationally recognised IHO qualification. We are getting there I'm happy to say.

And, more good news. The RICS is gradually easing its focus off the UK (or, even, London). With over 70% of its membership in the UK, and its HQ in Westminster, it is easy to fall into a London-centric viewpoint. And it suited the RICS for many years. Perhaps it didn't notice its land surveyors scaling mountains in Africa with tellurometers, or its hydrographic surveyors bobbing around in the Gulf of Guinea. Anyway, China visited us last week and, as you can read in the blog, we are certainly outnumbered. In a good way.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

This is My Brain

OK, a starter for ten. My geo brain output.
Wordle: Wordle for 16 June 11
I need more input!

But bear with me reader. I'm not convinced this is a true reflection. It appears to have split joined pairs.

And there is no mention of shoes. [other blog]