The natural cross section of "...maps, photos, geology and recreational computering..." is obviously Geograph, the project collecting photos and associated information about Great Britain and Ireland, neatly arranged by Ordnance Survey grid square. I use it to present my photos from walks across Wales and any other trips I make in the countries covered by one of the Geograph projects. So far, there are two offshoots outside the original project - Geograph Deutschland (my photos there) and Geograph Channel Islands.
Anything else that interests me that has nothing to do with work is here: an eclectic mix of trips, code and photos.
While in Paisley for work, I had a quick walk around the town centre before heading back down the M8. The light wasn't great on this grey January day but it was dry and I managed to get some shots of the University, Town Hall, Paisley Abbey and the Coats Observatory. I'll be back in the summer! [more]
This walk was a pleasant surprise arising from a disappointment: We were at Diamond Light Source to do some x-ray experiments on polymer films but a vacuum leak on the beamline meant that we had the afternoon off while Diamond's technicians were busy fixing the problem and pumping the system down again. Luckily I had some trainers and my camera with me, so we got to enjoy the sunshine and the scenery of the West Ilsley Downs instead. As the Ridgeway, an ancient track, runs along a ridge (the clue is in the name!) just south of Harwell Science Campus, we left the car at Bury Down right on the Ridgeway and walked west, with views of Didcot power station and the research centre we'd just escaped from. After a short while, we dropped off the Ridgeway towards West Ilsley. To do so, we had to cross some racehorse gallops (no racing horses in view), part of a network of grass gallops belonging to West Ilsley Stables. The view to the south included crop fields in the process of being harvested and straw bales being stacked, with some interesting geometrical patterns on the ground that I'm not used to from my usual moorland habitat. West Ilsley is a village with all the ingredients a stereotypical village is supposed to have: a cricket field, a pub (unfortunately closed for a nap in the late afternoon), a village green with resident ducks and a church. Having walked the length of the main street, we made the short ascent up Folly Down back to the Ridgeway and the car park. We did get our beer in the beer garden of The Lamb in Wantage later in the evening, and the rest of the beamtime went very well from the next morning, too. [more]
Rainbows are a common sight in a coastal town with changeable weather like Aberystwyth. However, it's rare to encounter one with all the trimmings - a full arc from horizon to horizon, a secondary rainbow on the outside of the primary with a dark band in between, and supernumerary fringes on the inside. Here are some photos and an attempt at an explanation of some of the features of "our" rainbow. [more]
The day after the Geograph conference 2014, fellow Geograph-er Basher Eyre took us on a guided tour of Southampton's old town. Starting at the station, we walked past the Civic Centre towards the town walls. After seeing an interesting mural summarising Southampton's history in Hamtun Street and hearing about Southampton's oldest church, St Michael's, we saw a number of preserved buildings such as a mediaeval wine merchant's house and the Duke of Wellington pub, passed by the Mayflower memorial and the offices of the Red Funnel ferry company. The tour ended at the ruins of Holy Rood church (now a war memorial), from where we left for tapas in Oxford Street. After the meal, the group scattered and I continued on my own past Bar Gate and the castle wall down to the City Cruise terminal for a close-up of one of the largest passenger ships ever built. After following the Quay roads and the remnants of the town walls at the southern tip of the old town in bright sunshine, I was chased back to the car by an approaching wall of black cloud. I just made it in time! [slideshow] [more]
A group of Geograph-ers met again the morning after the Geograph conference 2012 to walk the Loxley valley from Malin Bridge to Stacey Bank. Alan Murray-Rust had prepared a map and factsheet for each participant showing the locations of all the former mills along the way. Setting off from the tram stop, we soon left the road and followed a footpath along the river, seeing the sites of Wisewood rolling mill and forge on the way. The rolling mill at Little Matlock is still in operation, though no longer water driven. Not much is left of Olive rolling mill, although the very deep tailrace of the mill and former mill workers' accommodation can still be seen. Upstream, there is evidence of water management from the times when the amount of water to be taken from the river at various sluice gates had to be agreed to make sure all mills could run. The former compensation reservoir at Stacey Bank, just at the foot of the dam of Damflask reservoir, also served this purpose. At the end of the walk, we retired to the Nag's Head inn at Stacey Bank for drinks and food before everyone headed home. [slideshow] [more]
On the Tue afternoon before the 2012 Geograph conference in Sheffield, a group of Geograph-ers met at Meadowall South / Tinsley tram stop for a walk along the canal to its terminus at Sheffield Canal Basin on the edge of the city centre. The walk passes a flight of locks at the Tinsley end to take the canal up towards industrial Attercliffe. The canal then runs in a fairly deep trench, with the tram and several foot and road bridges crossing it at considerable height. Finally, the canal opens into Sheffield Canal Basin at the city end, where several original warehouses are still present, including the Straddle, built across the canal with five loading bays. After the walk, we dispersed briefly to sort out our hotels and then met in the Fat Cat, Kelham Island Brewery's pub, for beer and pies. [more]
Google has become sooo clever these days, it even knows better what I want search for than I do myself. At least it thinks it does. Alas, when seeking for a noodle in a haystack, it's not helpful to find zillions of needles instead. Here's a search box that keeps the pesky spell checker in check. [more]
Geotrips is a web application I've written for Geograph using the Ordnance Survey's OpenSpace API. It is a graphical interface to record trips with photos and GPS track logs. Geotrips has outgrown the limits of my site and has been hosted on Geograph itself for some time now - this also means 1:25k maps are now available thanks to the OS's in-kind sponsorship of the Geograph project. A version of Geotrips based on Open Streetmap map data is also available on the German Geograph site thanks to their developers' efforts. [more]
I've written a small web application as an exercise in using the Ordnance Survey's OpenSpace API. It is a rather simple affair that shows a centisquare grid (100m x 100m) on top of a zoomable map to help locating photographs when submitting to Geograph. Of course a much better tool that includes this functionality along with side-by-side maps and satellite imagery is Bill Chadwick's Where's the Path site. It also allows you to draw, import and export tracks and generate track profiles. [more]
I keep forgetting the arcane syntax of MySQL queries, so I've put a cribsheet of the most common commands together. [more]