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!