Jul 012010
 

We did safely arrive in England, although we have been literally too busy to post an update. It was even easier to fit the trikes into the hire car than it had been with our car, and we had a very pleasant drive up through The Midlands and The Lakes to Whitehaven.

Our first day of riding was from the Irish Sea at Whitehaven up into the Lake District and Keswick. The route passed through lots of small farming hamlets and fields with sheep. There was even a runaway chicken that had escaped onto our path.

The weather was very warm, even by our Australian standards. That could have been emphasised by the two stiff climbs that dominated the day. In particular, the ascent up to Whinlatter Pass was a “long pull” (in the words of a friendly local).

We didn’t even get to feel the wind in our faces on the descent, as it was down a steep and rough gravel forrestry trail. We took it steadily and the trikes managed fine.

We arrived a little late at our accommodation, and took advantage of the long evening light to walk down and see Derwent Water. It was beautiful in the soft evening light, and the sheep frolicking on the shore surprised us.

It really is pretty here.

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Mar 312009
 

On the weekend, Pathfinders from across SNSW met at 3 Mile Dam for their annual “Expedition”. The Expedition is a hiking event, and there are 3 grades. Clansi and I were leaders for a group of girls doing A-grade, the hardest level. I carried my camera and gps receiver, and so you can experience the hike through an interactive map of our journey below.

After leaving Canberra in the late afternoon, we arrived at Registration after dark on Friday night. We quickly donned our packs, received our instructions and started hiking in to 4 Mile Hut. Being dark meant that we missed out on the views, but it did help avoid sunburn. After a few hours hiking we found the campsite and went straight to bed.

Saturday morning was crisp and clear, and we had a fairly relaxed start. After eating exotic breakfasts and packing up our gear, we walked down to a small waterfall north of the hut. Our primary destination for the day was Tabletop Mountain, which we summitted mid-afternoon. After enjoying the views, we continued on to set up camp near Broken Dam Hut. Finding water was a bit of a challenge, but after a short walk we got to a nice little waterfall.

On Sunday we set off on a cross-country short-cut back to the track. The girls navigated very well, and we found the track easily. After retracing our path to Mount Selwyn skifields, we took a slightly different route back to registration. It was not a particularly strenuous weekend, but it was heaps of fun.
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Mar 092009
 

This morning Clansi and I joined hundreds of other cyclists on the 25 km Big Canberra Bike Ride. The weather was overcast but clear and dry, and the temperature was typical Canberra autumn: perfect for cycling!

We rode down to the “Rond Terraces” on the north shore of Lake Burley Griffin, where the ride started. It headed north up through the central eastern suburbs of Canberra, and turned around at Dickson. We made good speed down Northbourne avenue and over to the south side of the Lake. After circling around and climbing part way up Red Hill behind Parliament House, we crossed back over the lake on Kings Bridge and finished at the start point. By the time Clansi and I had ridden home, we had done just a bit more than 30 km.

It was a fun event, and a bit of good exercise. Additionally, it was a fantastic occasion for me to try out my new geotagging tricks. Continue reading »

Feb 022009
 

One of the really great things about storing photographs digitally is the ability to embed all sorts of information about the image in “metadata” within the file. When I shot film, I carried a notebook around with me that I tried to record exposure settings in (I was usually too lazy); I wanted to be able to learn from experience by looking at the settings I used to take a particular image. Digital cameras have trivialised this process, as they embed the exposure settings within each photograph.

But digital metadata is able to store much more than just the camera settings. In particular, it is becomming increasingly common to store location information (collected automatically by GPS). This is not so much to remind the photographer where they took the photo (most of us are pretty good at remembering that with reasonable precision), but it allows entirely new methods of displaying and browsing sets of photos.

Over the last few months I have experimented with various data acquisition and image display techniques for geo-tagging. This is a growing field, and so I’m sure there’s a lot more for me to learn. However, here are my findings and a quick demonstration of the results. Continue reading »

Sep 152008
 

Clansi and I went down to the snow a week ago on Sunday for what will probably be our last skiing day for this season. The weather was spectacular, with no wind and extensive visibility; in fact, the sun was perhaps a bit too bright for the softening snow. By mid afternoon there were shiny patches of slush in places heralding the arrival of spring.

For a bit of fun, I took my GPS receiver with me tucked into the elastic band of my goggles (I have found that the device sometimes struggles to get good signals when it is in a pocket). I wasn’t afraid of getting lost, but the experimental scientist part of me tends to get excited about the datalogging capabilities of my GPS receiver. I was actually quite surprised at some of the information it recorded; for instance, I was a little unnerved to find that I had been travelling at up to nearly 50 km/h on the snow!

The best bit about GPS is of course being able to see a map of the day’s adventures. Here is an interactive zoomable map showing our entire day’s path colour coded by speed. It is superimposed on the Google aerial imagery, which must have been photographed during the summer. Continue reading »

Jan 082008
 

When I was young, my family had a tradition of camping at Myall Lakes for a few days before Christmas. A few weeks ago we relived this custom with a twist. Instead of camping at Johnson’s Beach, or Violet Hill, or Mungo Brush, we visited them all – on a houseboat.

We embarked on our voyage on Monday (Dec 17), and Clansi and I left on Thursday. I had my GPS recording our path for almost all of the trip.
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