Thursday, November 27, 2008

Righteous Epic Wave Ride

What a perfect day for playing in the Pacific Ocean. It was unusually hot, about 90 degrees. With brilliant sunshine and almost complete absence of the usual chilly seabreeze. I don't remember the wind ever being that calm in the afternoon here. Brother Larry and I got in the water which I think was in the mid 60's of Fahrenheit temperature. Once in it, the water didn't feel cold at all.

I've always loved being in those big blue-green Pacific Ocean waves. Being lifted up off the sand by them as a swell passes by. Watching the distant horizon disappear and then return. In recent years the swirling salty ocean has always felt like it cleansed me of the sadness of seeing mom's decline, and let me just enjoy the time with her. As we began to wade out to the breaking waves, we were constantly being pushed toward Seattle by a strong current. So much that I wanted to get out on the shore and walk back to where we had parked our towels and stuff. Each time we would ride a wave in, we waded back out toward Mexico to counteract this drifting. Wading against this current and back out against the incoming waves was difficult. It reminded me of seeing Mom trying to complete simple movements like combing her hair or taking a few steps. The waves and powerful currents slowing her down and constantly buffeting her are a disease in her nervous system.

We rode the waves on boogie boards. It's like a little surfboard that you sort of lay on with your legs hanging off the back. You can raise up on your elbows for a different view, and you can steer by leaning left or right. That's about the extent of my expertise. I see boogie boarders who are far advanced and ride along the face of the wave like on a real surfboard. On this day I saw a couple of them manage to ride under the curl of the breaking wave and pop out on the face of the wave like you see surfers do in movies. I like to get as far out as I can where the waves are breaking but I can still touch the bottom. As a wave comes in and starts to fall over its own feet, the water in front of it rushes back and it gets suddenly much shallower. This is when I like to crouch down and then spring forward to ride on the white froth in front of the wave.

After a while, Larry decided to take a nap on the sand. I continued riding and increased my focus on the moment. I felt a part of that beautiful rhythmic ocean and waves and sun and air and the sounds of the water and feeling my legs push me through it and feeling it push my legs. I didn't have my glasses on, so the visual experience was impressionistic. The close-up view was sharp. There were these sparkly sand particles swirling in the water, glinting in the sunlight. They gave away the secret movements of the water. There was all manner of white foam on top of the water, appearing and disappearing and moving in lines and streaks and blobs. At one point I stood there looking down at a pattern of lines of foam moving toward me and out to sea. Faster and faster as the water moving past my feet accelerated and dug my feet into the sand. It was my whole field of view and the sensation of movement made me want to fall down.

Sometimes the wave ride takes me to the knee deep water and I just walk back out to catch another. On one of the rides I enjoy looking at the frothy breaking wave right next to me. The froth and I are cruising along at the same speed. It's a perspective I've never had before. I'm one with the boiling froth. I caught a series of long rides that went right up to the shore. The boogie board eventually grinds to a stop on the sand when the water is a few inches deep. I roll off in the sandy water and laugh. I'm smiling and laughing and happy in a childhood moment.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Solana Beach Sunset

After the sunset with surfers at Solana Beach was Panang Curried Duck at Spice and Rice Thai Kitchen in La Jolla, one of my favorite restaurants in the world.

Monday, September 22, 2008

GIS Memories Nominated!

Hey, turns out this here famous GIS Memories blog has been nominated to receive an honor at the Blog Asheville Extravablogiversapaloozathon! Wow. I am honored to be nominated in the category, "least likely to care about traffic" or something like that. It's true. I don't care about traffic. In fact, when I first read that, I thought it was talking about automobile traffic in Asheville. I actually don't care about that, but I think it refers to my not caring about the number of people who look at this blog.

I have noticed that the search engine "google" does seem to like my blog for some reason. I once wrote a post about an issue I was having with the GIS software from ESRI. When I went back to searching about the issue, my post was coming out above the entries from the ESRI company itself. Weird.

In response to this honorific nomination, I did a little digging in the stats about what search terms are popular among those landing at this blog from all search engines. Hey Shari, you're at the top of the list. Now you know why your photography is getting so much attention lately! (jk) The Cheerleaders are very popular, and many people are apparently looking to prune their overgrown rose bushes and use their electric chicken buckets. My statistics system is not that sophisticated since I really don't care about traffic. I'm not even sure what time period this covers.

Anyway, after you study the list below, check out all the other great nominated blogs here. If you believe I deserve to win this honor, you can go here and vote for me and the other deserving nominations. (Before Friday September 26, 2008.)

4.93% shari pastore
4.23% authalic sphere
3.52% gism blogspot
2.82% pruning an overgrown rose bush
2.82% geometric network
2.82% expense chart
2.11% how to prune an overgrown rose bush
2.11% gpsvisualizer or gps visualizer
2.11% vw vanagon water pump diagram
1.41% virginia creeper trail elevation profile
1.41% its such a pretty day cause i spent i with you
1.41% january
1.41% nc cheer photos
1.41% cheer photo post
1.41% diesel fuel chart
1.41% blogspot gism
1.41% wearever electric chicken bucket
1.41% stupid mommy asheville blog
1.41% diesel fuel charts
1.41% cheerleader photography
1.41% twin falls cheerleader photographs 2008
1.41% pete zah
1.41% gis class august
1.41% edward west asheville
1.41% the kat box asheville
0.70% prune overgrown rose bush
0.70% emories
0.70% french broad river goldsworthy
0.70% wear ever chicken bucket
0.70% picture of a child like cheerleader
0.70% pressure-fryer chicken bucket
0.70% wear-ever manuals
0.70% gis resumes
0.70% the puffs
0.70% young lovers painting
0.70% eratosthenes sphere
0.70% pressure fryer chicken bucket
0.70% g.i.s.m blogspot
0.70% resumes gis
0.70% g.i.s.m blog
0.70% greatest shot of a cheerleader
0.70% county
0.70% nc map project
0.70% cheerleading photo frames
0.70% cheerleader photo links
0.70% ever wear chicken bucket
0.70% cheerleader picture captures
0.70% great cheerleader photography
0.70% authalic
0.70% wearever chicken fryer manual archived
0.70% girls cheer photos
0.70% air conditioner update
0.70% contributions of eratosthenes
0.70% the arabic gism
0.70% gism concrete
0.70% really
0.70% wearever electric chicken bucket pdf
0.70% wassercooling
0.70% fuel expense
0.70% moon claycombe
0.70% wearever chicken bucket
0.70% hello kitty giss
0.70% sanitary sewer geometric network
0.70% car accident rt 1 kurt
0.70% g.i.s.m
0.70% birthday
0.70% sweetashvegas
0.70% fuel expense fuel expense
0.70% black cheer photography
0.70% overgrown rose bush pruning
0.70% wearever chicken bucket pdf
0.70% golfer kills hawk
0.70% twin falls state park campground
0.70% cartographing
0.70% west asheville
0.70% gism filings
0.70% august
0.70% december
0.70% diesel expense
0.70% electric chicken bucket
0.70% spinning tires a symptom
0.70% wearever pressure fryer
0.70% old arial veiws of colonial beach
0.70% class
0.70% twin falls state bike trail
0.70% colonial beach gis
0.70% puffs
0.70% blogger
0.70% rapid city gis job
0.70% gis class
0.70% kurt vanagan
0.70% tuesday
0.70% wearever electric chicken bucket manual
0.70% vanagon cooling chart
0.70% network
0.70% diesel atom chart

John A. Henderson

Yesterday at church we had a memorial for one of our active members, John Henderson. I knew him mostly from church and his excellent presentations there. Here's his obituary with a summary of an impressive life of healing and helping. John wrote several interesting books which he discussed at our meetings.

At his memorial we read quotes from his books, and I kept this one which I especially liked, "We may not like the fact that random and accidental events determine our lives but that does not alter the reality of it. As we observe the unpredictability of life, we should realize that an intelligent, all-powerful, divine being does not control it."

You might gather correctly that our church is different from many others. John helped to make our group special and he will be missed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

River Rise

Our local river was recently very low. I think it was the lowest in 112 years of record keeping. Check out the chart. It was down to about 200 cubic feet per second (cfs). The triangles show the average is a bit over 1000 cfs. It was so clear and low you could see all the rocks and fish and turtles and tires and shopping carts in the river. I developed a fantasy to walk across the river since it was so low. I waited too long though and the remnants of Hurricane Fay came through and brought a lot of rain. In about 36 hours, the flow went from less than 200 to over 8000 cfs. I should have walked when I had the chance.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Twin Falls State Park

On the third day of my trip I woke up at Twin Falls State Park. The day before had been one of those exciting travel days when my eyes and head get so full of exciting things I have seen and done. This trip being during the long days of Summer, I had stretched the previous day very long and rolled into the Twin Falls campground in the drizzly dark. I saw no park personnel at the campground, and no campers. So I did the self register thing after finally figuring out which site of the many available I wanted. It was a little spooky being the only one there. I've been to this park before and it always seems under-utilized. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere in southern West Virginia, with miles of 2 lane roads isolating it from those who rarely leave the Interstate. I think it is very nice though.

The morning was a little cloudy and threatening rain. I decided to take a bike ride before enjoying the unpopulated shower facilities. The "Cliffside Trail" departed right from the campground, so it was my natural choice. I took my GPS with me and made the map below with the GPS Visualizer website. If you click it you can see it bigger. GPS Visualizer color coded my route based on the elevation.

The trail started out as fairly level riding on an old road. On the topo map it is labeled as "jeep road." Early on I saw a big flying thing which turned out to be a barn owl. It wanted nothing to do with me and flew off on big silent wings. The trail then started down steeply and I was thinking that I would not like the coming back up part. I almost fell down once. I was going down a steep section and tried to put my feet down and they just slid on the ground. So I crashed down on the crossbar and the pain was enough to make a shy bald Buddhist reflect and plan a mass murder. Actually it wasn't that bad because of my special padded bike shorts.

I reached the "cliffside" part of the trail and the scenery made the quick jump from rolling wooded terrain to much more vertical and dramatic as it seems prone to do in that part of WV. Above is an attempt at a panorama photo done with the tinycam. The weather remained changeable with occasional sun and light rain and low clouds skulking in the gorge as in the photo. The ride back was nice and followed by the hot shower. I packed up and left and still never saw any park employee or another camper.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tenuous Arguments

On my recent trip I learned that there are Virginians who are still mad about West Virginia's split from the state during the civil war. One of the arguments they make is that it was a violation of the US Constitution for a state to be created from the territory of another state. This seems ironic since Virginia had seceded from the United States at that time. I think that is also forbidden in the Constitution.

Hearing today about the trials now under way at Guantanamo Bay caused me to find similar irony. The media is sequestered away and listens to the trial over speakers that can be muted to prevent them from hearing classified information. One of the defendants was talking about the psychotropic drugs he was presently being given by doctors there. The speakers were turned off so that reporters couldn't hear what the drugs were. It was explained that it would be a HIPAA violation to reveal his health care information. The irony is that the trials are there at gitmo because the government says the US Constitution doesn't apply there. I guess HIPAA regulations reach farther than the Constitution? Now that I think about it, since the defendant was talking about himself, the question comes up: is it a HIPAA violation to reveal your own health care information?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

So Much Pollen

There's a B-17 visiting the area this weekend, giving people expensive rides. Flying the B-17 in battle in WWII is an example of extreme terrifying machine drama. It makes me shudder to imagine the adrenaline/excitement/fear of the guys who crewed those planes in war. There are some of these veterans left, and they come out to see the plane and relate stories like this: After one mission, Knight had to land his B-17 with a shot-up tire and one engine out. But he kept his 11-man crew safe. “The co-pilot and I, we really had to manhandle that thing to a stop with brute strength,” Knight said. “But those are tough planes. I’ve seen some that were nearly shot in two come in and land, and the belly would just be bouncing up and down, the ball turret and the gunner gone, of course.” This reminds me that Memorial day has just passed.

So I've had my ears tuned for the sound of huge flying piston engines. I spotted the plane a few times on my way to Arden this morning to pick up some free firewood, and noticed the sky was hazy and yellow. I was parked in the person's yard for about 20 minutes loading up the big old logs. When I said thanks and got back in the car, the windshield had a noticeable new film of pollen on it. On the way back I took the parkway, and the long range views were also now yellow and hazy like the view of the plane. Then I looked at the car ahead of me and saw that it was kicking up clouds of pollen as if we were driving on a dirt road. Amazing. I've never seen that before. That's a lot of pollen.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer Trip 2008

Remember last year? I had plans to do a lot of interesting blog posts about my vacation, but only a few came to fruition. It's a new year and another interesting trip has filled my cameras with images and my head with ideas. So I'll try to whip up at least a few posts from all the information stirring around in my head.

This trip became my "Industrial Heritage" tour of southern West Virginia. It did include plenty of scenic splendor like you see above in the panoramic photo from Pinnacle Rock. The theme of the trip though, was about coal mining and the sudden, dramatic industrial development that resulted. Sounds like thesis material doesn't it? It is a rich history with so many compelling stories. Amazing wealth rapidly descended upon a very cash-poor area of the south. An influx of European immigrants and African Americans from the deep south mixed with the locals, and strangely, they mostly got along. There was lots of incredibly hard and dangerous work to do, and these people were up for that opportunity, American style. Their descendants inherited that spirit and applied it to life outside of mining.

The Industrial Heritage theme also put me in close proximity to a couple other genres I love. As I mentioned recently here, I have a strange attraction to old buildings and derelict structures. Let's just say that this is a very rich area for that type of scenery. I am also a fan of "machine drama," like trains, big cranes, bridges, dams, and basically all things that would appeal to a little boy. I also got to do some bike riding on rail-trails, my favorite type of bicycling.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The End

It's the last meeting of the last GIS class for me. It's sad. I enjoyed the classes and learned quite a bit. Our instructor Pete Kennedy brought a lot to the material for me, by relating it to real world applications. I feel this is critical in technology instruction. Above is the group photo of us. I'm going to miss going to GIS class, it was fun.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Variety Pack

(I started this post weeks ago, and now it is finally ready to release.)

This week's GIS class was a variety pack. I remember on special occasions, maybe 3 or 4 times in my whole childhood, Mom would get the variety pack of cereals. All those cute little boxes of different types of cereal. (Do they even exist anymore?) It was special. Mom didn't go for that kind of extravagance very often. Her argument to me was that I wouldn't eat all the different types of cereals in the package, which was probably true. She probably also saw the lack of economy with all the extra packaging and higher cost. Mom grew up in The Depression.

That paragraph above brought back some memories of shopping trips with Mom to the grocery store in the small town we lived in when I was about 6-12 years old. It was Colonial Beach, Virginia. A town of about 2000 people on the Potomac River, near where it meets the Chesapeake Bay. It's a big river there, 3 or 4 miles across. It was a special place to live for those years of my life. Lots of cool things for a kid to do like swimming, fishing, boating, biking everywhere, and developing a powerful curiosity about the natural world and how things work. The grocery store we went to was the A&P. It seemed huge. Over the years, I've had dreams of being in a grocery store, and vaguely feeling like I was a kid in the dream. I always thought it was just a generic grocery store, but the variety pack memories got me thinking about that A&P and I realized that it has been that store in my dreams.

All the memories of the A&P got me wondering about the store and what became of it over the years. I remembered seeing at one point it had become a hardware store whose proprietor was one of my classmates from those childhood days. Some googling showed evidence that the whole little strip of a shopping center has been somewhat updated and is now for sale. I could find no decent photos of it on the net though. There's a talented photographer I know from flickr named Shari Pastore. I found her work on that site doing some searches for Colonial Beach photos some time ago. I asked her if she had any photos of the little shopping center and the old A&P building. No she didn't, but offered to take on a little assignment to go out and shoot some especially for this blog post! The subject matter is less than inspiring, but the photo she got, at the top of this post is pretty nice, I think. I mentioned remembering that cupola on top of the building, and asked if she would shoot anything that looked like traces of what the building used to be. If you click the photo and look at the larger version you can better enjoy its beauty. You can also see how the roof is all patched up and the end of the building is just bare plywood. Colonial Beach has always been like that. It probably has more than its share of old derelict businesses that did once thrive, but maybe it was a long time ago. Or new ones that were never really going to get off the ground and just folded and ended up sitting to slowly decline. I've always been attracted to that kind of stuff, and maybe that attraction comes from those formative years in Colonial Beach. Those sad old stores and houses and cars and boats and towns seem to have a lot to say to me. I just keep thinking about all the lives they have seen and the stories they might tell. This may be one reason I keep taking vacations in West Virginia. It also has a bounty of derelict structures, along with dramatic natural beauty and a tough, hard-working spirit that appeals to me.

(We now rejoin the original GIS class blog post from several weeks ago)

I did some work on a map that will be featured in an upcoming blog post about the kite powered message in bottle release project I recently completed. This involved assembling a map of the North Atlantic with some continents on it and drawing a 1000 mile long line at a particular angle.

I did some more work on my geodatabase. Pete says we should concentrate on the geodatabase part of it and less on making maps. That sounds good, since the last 2 courses have been more about making the maps. I worked on creating a geometric network out of the MSD data I got last week.

We got our tests back. I've been getting grades a little lower than I would like on the tests this semester.

I had a near disaster when I almost shut off the computer before copying my work back off of the hard drive. When you shut down the computer it erases all the changes you have made, so it is very important to copy your work to removable media so you don't lose all you have done. I was ready to hit the last key in the keyboard sequence that shuts it down, then remembered. Really close. That would have really sucked.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Neighborhood Disconnects

It was Saturday afternoon and the perfect time for a nap. I had been hearing loud music from outdoors for a while, and trying to figure out where it was coming from. The nap idea quickly evaporated as the music continued to drift in my windows. So I decided to do some GIS class homework and find out where the music was coming from at the same time. I went by bicycle and found the music to be at the Rainbow Mountain Children's School which was having some sort of festival. To the right is an overview of my trip.

Once I determined the source of the music I decided to explore some disconnections in the neighborhood. Below is a detail map of the 2 "disconnected" features I wanted to explore. Dale Street comes to an abrupt end, though there is now some infill housing being built there. Nearby as the crow flies, but much farther by road, is the Fairfax Ave stub. I have noticed for years that it appears this was planned as a continuous road, and even had been cleared at one time. It's pretty obvious from the aerial photo data.

The other feature I have wondered about is a huge culvert that emerges from under I-240 and empties into the French Broad River. It must be about 48 inches in diameter. On Virginia Avenue there is a neihborhood low spot that is backed up against a very large fill that appears to have been created when I-240 was constructed. It seems to me that this drains an area of a couple square miles. (further anaylsis required) I thought that the other end of the giant culvert by the river might be here. But judging by the GPS data that I captured, it is more likely that the other end is near the Fairfax Avenue stub. This is the same type of area as on Virginia Ave. A large drainage comes to a low point that is cut off from draining to the river by I-240.

I also visited the ruins of the hydroelectric plant on Hominy Creek which once powered Asheville's electric street cars. It was an interesting afternoon of data collection, and even more interesting analysing the data afterwards.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

GPS and Making Out

Tonight we started learning about GPS, which was very interesting. Pete took us out on a field trip around the campus so we could learn about collecting data with the handheld recreation grade GPS units. Then we came inside and downloaded the data from the GPSs and manipulated it a couple different ways. First, there's this:
That's a screen shot from Google Earth, into which we imported our data. You can see our route and several waypoints we created along the way. One waypoint I created is called Make Out, where 2 students were kissing hard in the student lounge. At the top of this image you can see part of Asheville High School. I have found that girls from Asheville High are some of the very best kissers.

Next we used something called GPS Utility to download the data from the GPS and work with it. This program is much more flexible. We created a shapefile and pulled it into ArcMap. We had some higher resolution aerial photo data, so you could get a better idea of the acuracy of the unit. Below is a detail from the map I created in ArcMap.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Geometric Network Errors

I was working on my Geometric Network tonight. It was interesting and shows a lot of potential, but I didn't get too far. I was applying attributes to points on the network, sinks and sources, and establishing direction of flow. I had problems when I got to doing more complex areas, such as the branching sewer lines where there would be multiple sources.

I also explored the errors which were occurred when I created the Geometric Network. Below is the map with the error points noted.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hello Kitty powered Message in a Bottle

All photos will enlarge if you click them.

This was an interesting experiment to send a message in a bottle out into the ocean, pulled by a kite. The kite cost $1, and featured a bold Hello Kitty design. It also came with 75 feet of cotton string. The Hello Kitty kite flew pretty well on the beach but tended to veer down to the sand in strong winds.

Monday March 24th 2008 dawned stormy on the coast of South Carolina. There was finally an offshore wind. Typically the winds are out of the south or southeast, which would push Hello Kitty back toward land or to the north and onto the North Carolina coast. Above you can see Hello Kitty fully deployed on her 75 feet of string.

To the right is Nell with the HKpMiB ready to deploy. The note was written on paper with an ink pen. Some sand was added to the bottle to give it some weight.

After deployment, the message system sailed out into the Atlantic Ocean on a 160 degree heading. (Photo at left) The estimated amount of sand appeared to be just about perfect so that the bottle dragged along the surface of the ocean. This kept tension on Hello Kitty's string so she could continue flying, but also allowed it to pop out of the water and release excess tension when a stronger gust was encountered.

We watched HK through binoculars until it was no longer visible.

Below is the map of the Atlantic Ocean showing the trajectory of the HKpMiB if it continued in the direction it left the coast. The line represents 1000 miles of distance and lands smack dab in the middle of the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola. The path also takes HK very close to several of the Bahamas. I created the map using a projection which preserves direction, so the shapes may look distorted. If HK alighted in the ocean, the message system may have ended up in the Gulf Stream and headed toward the UK. So far, there has been no response to the message in the bottle.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Do not eat pizza during a test.

It was very nice of Pete to get us some pizza tonight. After the pizza was on the way we started working on the 2nd test of the Semester. Then the pizza arrived, and I had to eat a piece because it was hot. This was not a good idea. First it was drippy, and I couldn't write on the test and hold the pizza at the same time. So I looked over the whole test whilst eating on the pizza slice. Soon I reversed hands so that I could write and nibble at the same time. My handwriting was still affected though, and it is not so good to begin with. Then I think the pizza carbs began to surge into my brain, and make it dull and foggy. I wallowed my way through the test, and hope I did better than last time. I was better prepared for sure.

Pete was surprised that he didn't already know that the first word I could read was Schlitz. He thought he would have learned that from my blog. My Dad used to take the 5 year old me to the tavern on Saturday afternoon, where I would read Schlitz on the coasters. There's a photo of an old Schlitz coaster, but it is not exactly like the one I remember from Dressel's Schiller lounge in Elmhurst, IL circa 1969.

Below is the latest version of my county map of many colors. I now have some perky sewer data thanks to Pete's significant efforts to get that from MSD. That's the purple lines. I also refined my census data so that it calculates population density based on how many people are in a given census block of a given size. That was pretty easy to do that powerful manipulation.

This week Jill returned from her jaunt to Tuscany over Spring Break. She said it was her first vacation in 5 years, so I guess in that case it should be a deusy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I wear a County of Many Colors

Tonight I worked on my Geodatabase. I found some data for water and sewer pipes from the NC One Map project. I clipped them down to just Buncombe county. Pete is going to continue trying to get some better sewer data from MSD for me. I also got census data from NC One Map. It is quite detailed. I was working with symbolizing it based on total population for each block. I think I will further refine that by also using the area of each block to get a better idea of the population density. Above is one version of the map which I used the very bright color ramp on. That's how I got the county of many colors, which reminds me of The Blue Nile albumn called A Walk Across the Rooftops.

NB: Don't start your feature class names with zeros. Probably not starting them with any numbers is a good idea. ARC not like that, don't do what ARC not like, OK?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Diesel Fuel Expense Chart

My typical driving driving routines have not significantly changed over this period of time. The spikes are times I went on trips. This represents about 105,000 miles of driving.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

GeoCoding Again

Tonight we got globalized again. This time it was much less intense as we just briefly visited the blog of Pam Silvers who is Pete's boss and my friend and IT mentor. She is in India on another sort of exchange program like the one that sent Pete to Mexico a few weeks ago.

Next we learned about Geocoding and watched Pete demo the process. It's a way to turn text data into a location on the map. It is a powerful technique. Usually it takes an address and converts it into latitude and longitude and sticks it int he right place on the map. It is the way that you can put your address in an internet map site and have it find where your house actually is. We did this exercise:
We created an address locator for the whole state of SC and then used it to digest a big list of student addresses from a college in the Upstate. You can see most of them are clustered up there around Greenville. Sometimes parts of the data is not accurate and it can't figure out where to put an address. Then you can painstakingly fix the problems. Fortunately, we didn't have to do that for this exercise. That looks quite tedious.

Since I was all in the SC Street Centerlines file, I zoomed in on the sea shore area where I will visit with my sweetheart on spring break. I'm excited about that.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Golfer Kills Hawk

A professional golfer named Tripp Isenhour killed a hawk a few months ago, and it has hit the news this week. Read an article here. Or another one here.

He apparently was upset with the bird for making noise while he was trying to make an instructional video. He said, "It was unfortunate, but there'll be plenty of time for me to tell my story," and that it was foolish for people to believe he could have realistically hit the bird. "That's obviously people who don't know very much about golf," he said. "To say it's a one-in-a-million shot for an accident like that to happen, you know, and when it did happen, I was very remorseful, very upset that it happened." Another quote has him again referring to what happened as an accident.

An Accident? I could see this as an accident if he had hit the bird in the course of playing golf. Witnesses said he drove a golf cart toward the bird in order to hit golf balls at it from a closer location. "He was just going strangely out of the way to go after it," said Jethro Senger, a sound engineer at the shoot. "And it was almost, the whole thing was basically like a joke to him. The balls were getting closer and closer. 'Haha, look how close that one came.' 'That one was even closer.' "I yelled at him," Senger said. "I said, 'What did you expect was going to happen?," Senger said. "I said, 'You're a pro golfer, you're hitting line drives right at it.'"

He said he was only trying to scare the bird, so I guess he was trying to have the golf balls go really close to the bird to scare it away and the accident is that he actually hit the bird. I know intent is an important concept in the American legal system, so maybe he got some legal advice to comment only in ways that he never admits that he intended to hit or kill the hawk.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

2nd Geodatabase Project

Pete returned from his school related trip to Mexico this week. Very interesting stories about the sister city to Asheville, and a sister school to ABTech. There is the potential that there will be a GIS collaboration with the school and/or local agricultural agencies. He visited the Mayan ruin called Chichen Itza. I remember from taking the class called "Architecture, Design and Society" years ago tales of the long, tall, wide stairs that lead up the pyramid of Chichen Itza being covered with the coagulated blood of human sacrifices to the extent that they looked like a smooth slope rather than stairs.

Then I got to work on my 2nd Geodatabase project. Check this out:

That's just the county map with some zoning data on it.

Pete also turned us on to, a microsoft mapping product like google maps. They have a feature called "Bird's eye view" which is aerial photography, but not looking straight down. Instead, it is at an angle, so it gives a much better 3 dimensional view of buildings, trees, vanagons, etc. The data for Asheville was just recenlty added. Below is my house, with it's fancy new roof and the Golden Luvwagen in the driveway.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

First Test of Spring Semester

We had a test tonight and it was not too bad. I think it was not as long as previous tests, so it didn't seem as bad. It was still kind of hard, and I got some things wrong. I think I did well on the hands on part of the test because I had just done something very similar for practice last week.

Over there on the right is something from the exercise I was working on tonight, which was really in the nitty gritty of creating a geodatabase. It's all about subtypes and domains and default values and constraints on the data that is entered. It was kind of tedious but informative.

Blogger, blogger. I...

Blogger, blogger. I am calling Blogger. Nuts, how many nuts are good to eat? People are going too bad. Too many nuts, people are bad can cause a stomach ache. I am sending this post to the blog from Jott by talking into my cellphone.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super-Phat Tuesday

It is totally Super-Phat Tuesday, and I'm back in GIS class after 2 long weeks of absence. I missed out on an attempt to do some sort of long distance participation from my vacation in California one week due to the fact that I forgot what day of the week it was. I guess that could be expected on vacation.

Next week we have our first test and I have some serious catching up to do after missing 50% of the classes so far. I also did the project from one of the classes I missed tonight instead of the current project so that I would be ready for the lab part of the test next week. So there is the result, above. We took a CAD file that had drawings of a lot of features around campus and georeferenced it to a map file of the buildings on campus. In my version I made Pink Roads, Red Sidewalks, and Yellow Buildings with tight black borders on them. The buildings look tight, which is good on a Mardi Gras Super-Phat Tuesday.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Air Pressure Changes

Above is the chart of air pressure changes I encountered yesterday in travelling by air and car and recorded by my watch. It takes a reading every 15 minutes. Click the chart if you want to study it in greater detail.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

GIS Class Resumes

This time it's GIS 215: Data Models. Wow.

Class started out with a discussion of some interesting things we are going to study this semester. Lots of stuff about the databasular workings behind the GIS data we work with. Later, we will do some GPS work which I am very much looking forward to. We will train on an expensive professional grade GPS unit the college has.

Then we had a lecture on databases in general and dove into some work on a step-by-step tutorial on using Access 2007. This was tedious and not too valuable to me. It did get me a little deeper into Access 2007 than I have been, and would have definitely been valuable for anyone in the class who had never used Access.

Above is a little screen capture from the exercise. All those fussy little data fields and labels and property sheets.

There are 7 people in the class, including Josh and Ben from last time. I miss Mary. Where is Mary?