Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Just Three Little Words

I have just been reading about what3words, an innovative way to transmit a precise position without having to resort to GPS position or address.   The problem with coordinates, be they grid or geographical, is that as soon as you involve a human there is always a risk that those pesky numbers get transposed.  And postal addresses are fine if you live in an urban area, but if you are trying to direct someone to a particular field of your farmland how do you do that?

What 3 words is a concept that uses a combination of 3 words to pin point you anywhere in the world to within a 3 metre grid square.  So rather than say 51°30′12″N 0°07′11″W (ok, I know, less granuality then a 3x3m square) one can type youth.names.zones (dots are not needed) into their search page and ta dah, you are at the London Eye.

Now I like this.  I like the simplicity of it.  So where would I currently like to be - according.gloom.broads?  Although there is no particular sanity check over the words, the creators have ensured that similar names are nowhere near each other spatially.  So if you mistype a word you end up in such the wrong place that you know you've gone wrong.  Indeed, if you put in according.gloom.broad you end up on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.  Not where I intended.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Underwater Noises - Quack

I know quite a few people who are interested in underwater noise.  I was sent yesterday a link about the Russian Navy taking over Crimea's combat dolphins.  No, I'm not making this up.

And today it was ducks in the Antarctic- "Ocean Quacks".    Apparently the minke whales have been befuddling marine biologists for decades.

It's a noisy world down there.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

When is a Trig Pillar Not a Trig Pillar?

...When it's sitting in a sea wall in Plymouth.

I noted that a fellow trig bagger had found this recently and couldn't believe I'd never seen it.  Not only have I lived in Plymouth for a year but I have frequently walked along the sea wall between the Hoe and the Barbican.
14 04 17 TP7586 - Sea Wall Plymouth (2)
So here it is, TP7586, just above a "no tombstoning" sign.  You can't miss it; the sign that is.
14 04 17 TP7586 - Sea Wall Plymouth (5)
It has wonderful views across to Mount Batten and, as it's not actually true sea wall, has 360 deg access for the surveyor without having to resort to ropes to take a round of angles from the seaward side of the wall.

I have also never come across a trig pillar with its own cafe, Duttons.  So we sat in the adjacent garden drinking coffee, eating scones (this is Devon after all), enjoying the sun, ships, sea and spider of course.
14 04 17 TP7586 - Sea Wall and coffee

Sunday, 13 April 2014


I finished my walk along the South West Coast Path early yesterday and had an hour to kill in Combe Martin.  I found this fine example of a binnacle in a local pub.
14 04 12 SWCP Day 3 (32) Binnacle
I haven't really poked around one of these before and I was peering at it a chap joined me and started explaining it to me.  For sure I get the navgation/compass/deviation bit but hadn't realised the point of the balls on either side.  Of course, used to calibrate the compass.  And I liked the candle holder.

It turned out that the chap chatting with me is an ex RN Submariner, last serving on one of the Polaris Resolute (or something beginning with R) boats.  Nice to chat with him.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Geo Rio

I have recently returned from Rio de Janeiro.  As ever when out and about my eyes are peeled for geo related finds.  I was therefore delighted to find a control point on these beautiful steps in Santa Teresa.
14 03 28 3 Ladeiro de Selaron (1)
14 03 28 3 Ladeiro de Selaron (9)
Last Sunday I tracked down the Naval and Oceanographic Museum in Rio.  It wasn't an easy find, not helped by the fact that it was in a very quiet part of downtown Rio.  However a warm welcome was assured and considering it's free we had a pleasant wander around.
14 03 30 2 Rio Maritime Museum  (3)
Over half the museum details the history of Brazil's wars, conflicts and tiffs.  I confess that I got a bit battle weary before 50% the way through and lost track of which Portuguese king was fighting which Spanish, French, British fleet and for what reason.

The boundaries of Brazil ebbed and flowed over the centuries (as did most country's to be honest).
14 03 30 2 Rio Maritime Museum  (4)
I was more interested in the modern side of things such as their Operation's room simulation.
14 03 30 2 Rio Maritime Museum  (8)
And their courtyard full of instruments.
14 03 30 2 Rio Maritime Museum  (11)
We didn't stop for coffee but I liked the name of their cafe.
14 03 30 2 Rio Maritime Museum  (2)
And the fact that you can drink your coffee standing on a mine.
14 03 30 2 Rio Maritime Museum  (1)
Afterwards we tracked down the harbour.  Lovely to see -it even smelt right.
14 03 30 3 Rio Waterfront (2)
Looking across to the naval base (the shallow water side - they park their carrier around the other side) I think I spotted V32 JĂșlio de Noronha a Corvette alongside some patrol vessels.
14 03 30 3 Rio Waterfront (4)
Behind this corvette is the Palacio Ilha Fiscal which hosted the last big party of the Empire before the proclamation of the Republic in November 1889. Now that's a party not to have missed!
14 03 30 3 Rio Waterfront (3)