athelind: (green hills of earth)
As if to demonstrate that Life Goes On, I just had an Archimedes moment: I ran out of the shower, towel wrapped 'round my waist, shouting "EUREKA!"

You see, I finally figured out a series of graphics that would explain to observers just what I was seeing in all that Elkhorn Slough data back in 2004-2005. I was trying to get a coherent article out of three or four different studies, each of which insisted that the Big Erosion Hotspot was in a different part of the Slough. Unfortunately, because their studies found erosion and deposition occurring at opposite ends of the Slough, the PhDs responsible for two of the papers each had ... issues ... with the other.

Bear in mind that these gentlemen were supposed to be my co-authors.

Bear in mind as well that I'm the only guy who looked at all four and a half data sets spanning 15 years.

Of course, any hypothesis that reconciled these supposedly-contradictory datasets was going to get lambasted from both ends.

Of course, after staring at all that data for three years, I came up with one:

Elkhorn Slough would experience Big Erosion Events that would dump a lot of sediment at the head of the Slough, and it would work its way down to the mouth over a period of years, thus giving the pattern of "Erosion here, deposition there" in one study, and "Erosion there, deposition here" a few years later.

I just figured out how to make maps that show the bulge of sediment moving down the slough.

It's clearly visible in the "flip chart" of cross-sections I carried around with me during that whole project, but I just figured out a way to display the data in four or five Q&D maps, rather than making people scrutinize Excel graphs for three years to see the pattern emerge.

So, yeah, "Eureka".

And you know what's even better?

When I rattled this off to [livejournal.com profile] thoughtsdriftby, who's an engineer, he said, "oh, yeah. that's plug flow."

So:
  1. I still have all that data on my desktop hard drive.
  2. And I have an open-source GIS program that I've been wanting to figure out.
  3. And I want closure, dammit.


I may have material for a Master's Thesis here.


athelind: (green hills of earth)
People are always sending me "cool" links from places like BoingBoing, but it's always stuff related to SF and fantasy, or gaming and superheroes, or gadgets and space travel.

Among my various job titles over the years is "Historical Bathymetry Change Analyst", and that's the one I got to pick myself. I love maps. I love history. I love teasing out patterns from reams of data. Examining the way bodies of water change over decades and centuries fascinates me.

Ladies and gentlemen, This is Relevant to My Interests:



That's the course of the Mississippi River, as it's changed and meandered over tens of thousands of years.

Look at that incredible image.

Just look at it.


athelind: (green hills of earth)
Three-Way Clusterflock, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte.

See my comment therein for why this is really cool, and the product of either very hard work or a scarily, scarily smart algorithm.
athelind: (Default)
Three-Way Clusterflock, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte.

See my comment therein for why this is really cool, and the product of either very hard work or a scarily, scarily smart algorithm.
athelind: (work)
I know I haven't mentioned much about my current job since I started a couple of months ago, but I'm working on maps of the local water and sewer systems that are being rebuilt.

Today, I'm adding features showing the areas for which we don't yet have solid data. I have files that show what the original pipes looked like, I have annotations that show what's been demolished, and I've got a file with multiple contradictory proposals for the new pipe system -- but I don't know what's actually there, or what will be there.

I've named the shape file "incognita".

I'm fighting off the temptation to label the regions "hic sunt dracones".
athelind: (Default)
I know I haven't mentioned much about my current job since I started a couple of months ago, but I'm working on maps of the local water and sewer systems that are being rebuilt.

Today, I'm adding features showing the areas for which we don't yet have solid data. I have files that show what the original pipes looked like, I have annotations that show what's been demolished, and I've got a file with multiple contradictory proposals for the new pipe system -- but I don't know what's actually there, or what will be there.

I've named the shape file "incognita".

I'm fighting off the temptation to label the regions "hic sunt dracones".

November 2016

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