Palaeoglaciology of the Last Irish Ice Sheet Reconstructed from Striae Evidence

Wednesday, 29 September, 2010

Smith, M.J. and Knight, J.(in press)
Quaternary Science Reviews

A database comprising some ~5200 individual striation measurements on bedrock surfaces across the island of Ireland was used to produce maps of flowsets corresponding to individual ice flow events during the last (late Devensian) glacial cycle. These flowsets were identified on the basis of regional-scale correspondence between striae orientations which, when linked together spatially, are able to identify consistent ice flow vectors. Four main chronological stages are identified on the basis of this evidence: (i) incursion of Scottish ice into Ireland; (ii) glacial maximum conditions; (iii) ice retreat and dissolution; and (iv) development of localised ice domes. Striae-based reconstructions of the glaciology of the last Irish ice sheet are qualitatively different from those based on bedform (mainly drumlin and ribbed moraine) evidence. Significant differences are apparent in upland areas which have fewer preserved bedforms and a higher concentration of striae. Combining bedform and striae datasets will enable a better understanding of the temporal evolution of the ice sheet. It is likely that both datasets record a snapshot of ice flow direction and subglacial conditions and environments immediately prior to preservation of this directional evidence.

CSVed

Tuesday, 28 September, 2010

I’ve blogged a couple of times about the utility of CSVs as a file format for the distribution of data. They are horribly inefficient, but incredibly simple and widely supported. For that reason they are good for distributing data and forever crop up on Wikileaks and Free Our Data. Excel usually grabs CSV as an extension, but its quite often easier to have something that’s designed for the job and CSVed does this admirably. You get a spreadsheet like view that allows in-cell editing, but its the many other touches that are nice. Drag-and-drop rows and columns, append files, change delimiters, split columns, prefix/suffix, filtering, sorting. The list is quite long and targeted at these dealing with large scale manipulation of CSVs.

CSVed comes highly recommended, but, like Excel there is the odd glitch. Its only with Excel 2010 that some of the file constraints are easing, but upto this point you are pretty much limited to 256 columns and 64,000 rows. I often end up with more than 256 columns when dealing with spectral data from a spectroradiometer (usually well over a thousand). Unfortunately CSVed hangs when trying to load these and Excel won’t load them, which usually leaves me using R to load the data and then transposing the file for further manipulation.

SSTL Developing Three new satellites

Tuesday, 28 September, 2010

SSTL have just announced the development of three new satellites in a 100M investment. What’s interesting with this announcement is that it’s a partnership between SSTL and its data processing subsidiary DMCii and will be operated commercially, leasing time on the satellites to nations that would otherwise not be able to afford their own satellite.

TLS to 3D shapefiles

Monday, 20 September, 2010

We have taken delivery of a new GeoWall system at Kingston which Ken has been painstakingly putting together. It does just look like a very large Meccano set. Anyway, we have been thinking about some 3D datasets to show, initially through ArcScene. Given we have a Leica ScanStation 2 (although I might take issue with it being “affordable” and “entry-level”!), we thought it would be good to show-off some of our laser scan data and, initially, one of the campus buildings.

This data is scanned and stored in Cyclone. Cyclone’s earlier iterations were more closely aligned with CAD, as users were initially producing 3D models of existing infrastructure. The data itself is simple; x,y,z triples of position, but millions of them. Whilst the LAS format is common for the transfer of airborne LiDAR data, the shapefile is a convenient storage format and understood by just about anything. In ArcScene its then simply a case of changing the base heights to the elevation field and its done. Simple. Except Cyclone only exports as a textfile file; no problem, ArcMap can probably handle it. And I’m sure it probably can, except I gave up trying to work out exactly which ToolBox tool is required and, if its not comma or tab separated, how it should imported and whether a schema ini file is needed. I fired up Global Mapper instead which just has a text import filter and a shapefile export filter. Nothing fancy, no drama; it did it. OK, so the 170Mb file took a few minutes to process (on my slow machine!), but it didn’t hang, crash, give an unintelligible error message or anything else. It loaded in to ArcScene fine. Sometimes its nice just to have something that’s straightforward (and it would help if Leica could take the shapefile exporter from LPS and stick it in Cyclone. Different heritage and development teams so I don’t expect it to happen!).

DEMView: 3-D Visualization of DEM Error

Monday, 20 September, 2010

M.B. Gousie and M.J. SmithProceedings of Spatial Accuracy Assessment in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Leicester
It is well known that a digital elevation model (DEM) may contain systematic or other errors. In many 3-D visualization systems, problems in the data may be highlighted, but it is often difficult for the viewer to discern the exact nature of the problem. We present DEMView, a viewing and error assessment system specifically for use with DEMs. The system displays a DEM in 3-D with the usual translation, rotation, and zooming tools. However, the system incorporates a suite of visual (qualitative) and statistical (quantitative) assessment tools that help a researcher determine and analyze errors and uncertainty in a given DEM. A case study shows the efficacy of the system.

Mapping European Stereotypes

Monday, 20 September, 2010

Something in this for everyone:

http://alphadesigner.com/project-mapping-stereotypes.html

Funny.

Photogrammetric Week

Saturday, 11 September, 2010

Photogrammetric Week has a long and enviable record as a high profile, quality, conference. In fact, amazingly for a “conference”, it held its 100th Anniversary last year. And whilst it obviously focuses upon photogrammetry, there are many talks devoted to related topics (LiDAR, IfSAR etc). And, somewhat like RSPSoc Annual Conference they publish a set of extended abstracts which are really very useful. If you’ve missed these then the entire back catalogue is available. This is a fantastic resource and, being open access, means they are index by Google as well. RSPSoc need to take a leaf out of PW’s book and do the same, otherwise they will languish on a dusty shelf.

Yes another story about OS monopoly

Wednesday, 8 September, 2010

This time though its the Monopoly boardgame and OS have created a modern map showing the locations of monopoly squares in London. The end result is a fun piece of work, even if it’s not a staggering piece of cartography. Shame its only available as a low-res GIF (unless Ive missed something) because you can’t read much. Not sure why it hasn’t been created as either a high-res raster or vectorised PDF give that VectorMap is available as part of OpenData. And of course it’s not as simple as you might expect; besides some of the locations being area based (e.g. Mayfair), others represent quite long roads. And we now have a location for the mythical “Go” square. That’s not to stop people griping that the “Go” square is wrong or that some of the other locations are inaccurately placed.

Department for Education puts in searing cuts

Saturday, 4 September, 2010

Had a meeting at the Department for Education last week. From all the press I know that cuts have been hard in government, but I hadn’t expected education to be fully bearing the brunt of them.

Michael Gove’s office is top left.

Camp Stansted

Wednesday, 1 September, 2010

I left for RSPSoc 2010 yesterday. Flights from Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick all go in to Cork, but I reckoned that Stansted was easiest and caught the airport bus up late last night. Its a 6.20am flight so decided in the end that the best bet was to stay at the terminal. A quick butchers at Sleeping in Airports suggested Stansted was extremely budget traveller friendly. And so it was. There are a limited number of seats to lie across and, in any case, in order to get a good nights sleep, you need to take a sleeping bag and Therm-a-rest. It was surprisingly quiet, although the usual odd tannoy announcement, rumble of trolleys and espresso machines. Well recommended for an early start at Stansted!