Posts posted by jfitzpat
If we assume that the first coordinates are ddd mm.mm (common on Aviation GPSs), then it seems that the first coordinates put you at the front door of an FBO (Fixed Base Operator) and Carlsbad/Palomar airport:
This would be open to the public during normal business hours. There is probably some security now (GA has tightened up - but since it doesn't really represent a terrorist threat, it is still nothing like commercial terminals). If you make the trip, check out the airport diner. It is upstairs in what used to be the control tower, and it overlooks a vintage airplane club.
What's to happen to usgsmapsJ.dll ? Is there any possibility of issuing it as freeware? Source code so someone can port it to something that can run a *nix shared environment?
This is too cool to lose!
I don't think that the ASPI DLL would be much use to anyone. It is pretty much just a front end to a specialized engine.
I did write some code once that pulled Terraserver Tiles, as a sample for another programmer, but I am pretty sure that it would require tweaking, since all the apps I know of that pull tiles had to be updated when Terraserver was rehosted awhile back. Still, if someone wanted it, I could send what I have.
I have some basic building blocks I offered up long ago, for example stuff to do basic UTM/LL conversion, and even datum conversion. I even offered a decent WGS84->NAD27 converter to this site back when one of the automatic links only accepted the older datum.
I'm pretty agreeable to giving away code, and even some guidance. But, if someone wants to deploy the same sort of image construction, for free, they are going to run into some high bandwidth usage.
I'm just not into the whole fee/member thing, since it would become an obligation instead of an occassional hobby. Again, I'm happy to donate, but someone might want to rethink the whole approach before making the comittment.
As far as I know, they aren't stored on their servers, but grab the images needed, stitch them together, place a dot on them, and then issue them up as requested.
Could be a better way to do it, but I don't have the math or programing skills a the moment to make it happen. However, a less bandwidth intensive way could to let the browser stitch them together in a form of a TABLE grid and then issue a DHTML layer to place a dot. Geotags.com uses the DHTML layer technique so the map doesn't have to be redrawn for each request. And if I remember correctly the terraserver itself issues the images in tiles.
I'm thinking lostoutdoors.com can be done in a much lower bandwidth fashion.
FWIW, their are actually three potential problems with client side solutions. First, the dot 'moves' from browser to browser - In other words, the dot isn't exactly on the correct pixel. Generally close, but not dead on.
Second, in my case, all the source material was not in the same datum, so it seemed to make more sense to normalize things at the server end. Switching datums can move you a couple hundred yards.
Third, if you tile it is not trivial to save off images, with markers, for later. Sure, you can alt-printscreen and paste into paint, but that is a pain and only works if the whole image fits on screen.
I didn't actually write LostOutdoors with Geocachers, or bandwidth usage in mind. I wanted accurate markers and easily saveable images for a project I was doing with some friends. It seemed useful enough to make public, so I did. Similarly, short of transcribing, there wasn't an easy way for us to trade waypoints at the time, so the Waypoint exchage was written. The reason the Waypoint Exchanges lets you map waypoints directly from your GPSr, is that is the way I use it. I like to review waypoints after a climbing or hiking trip by just plugging in my GPSr.
There are actually a fair number of hidden, or semi hidden pages which are basically only for my own use. For example, I only recently made some tools I use for flight planning available on a volunteer pilot page. I find stuff like this:
useful, but it wasn't generically useful enough for me to widely expose. Sometimes, I'd just expose something for the heck of it, like the aviation database. But, other stuff, like a hidden page to convert tracks into Microsoft Flight Simulator videos, are fun for me (I actually like 'flying' hikes more than flights), but just a bit too hard to explain and support for broad general consumption.
If an online form of USA Photomaps (a fine program) tiling would be useful for Geocachers, I hope someone writes it. I didn't know about USA Photomaps when I wrote LostOutdoors MapMaker, if I had, it probably wouldn't exist. Still, USA Photomaps can stitch tiles together for saving, and can place markers quite accurately - both things which would still be awkward on a web based tile solution, so I will still either use the app, or a private link to my own NT service.
Sorry for the long boring explanation, I just want anyone to think that a tiling solution had not occured to me. It just wasn't accurate enough and covenient enough for my purposes, at least at the time. And, of course, when I made the stuff public I didn't really expect the sheer volume of requests.
I have never used that site. Now I have looked at it and the white-on-black color scheme hurts my eyes. The adventure database is a great idea but it is practically empty, it only contains two entries. The site can generate USGS maps, but so can the software Usaphotomaps locally. The waypoint exchange thing... I'm not sure what it is but apparently it can be done locally as well, using usaphotomaps or something. So what's the big deal here, guys? How is this site so tremendously useful?
Honestly, I'm not sure - but Geocachers are using it to the tune of about 400 GB a month...
Really, it isn't a big deal - but a fair number of people are linking directly and seem to be pulling images for various things. Since a lot of the high volume sites are geocaching related, I figured I'd give everyone fair warning and offer up the servers if they wanted to leave it up somewhere.
When I put together LostOutdoors on a whim several years ago, I had no idea it would be so popular. I'm glad that folks have found it useful, but between map requests and direct request for images, it has been saturating a T1 connection at my office for many months.
While my boss has been very good about it, the word has finally come down that I either have to start defraying some of the connection costs, or move the servers elsewhere. I looked at moving the image servers to the same ISP that hosts the web page, but when they quoted the bandwidth being used it came out to about the same as a T1 each month.
I toyed with the idea of asking for donations, but if I charge for the site I'd feel obligated to give it more attention than I have - and if the donations don't cover a hefty portion of the connection costs, I'd potentially be in the situation of taking away a site from people that have helped pay for it.
So, my current plan is to take down the servers at the end of the month. If anyone would like to host the service, I could donate the existing servers. I'd even be happy to change the icons and re-sign the ActiveX controls. Alternately, if someone has any other suggestions on how I could keep the service going, I'd like to hear about them. I can be reached via email at email@example.com.
YeOleImposter! If you are out there somewhere and want to lend a hand to a neighbor....
The following two lines of code which I stole from an earlier post of yours does a great job of creating a custom URL link to mapmaker, but it lacks the "marker". I assume it is your preference not to display the marker. Is there a way for me to put the marker in?
Hmmm, ah, my error - when I converted the commas to %2Cs I left one - right before the 14 - if you remove the offending comma it will probably work. (prior to 3.04 the comma was stripped by GSAK so it did not cause a problem)
I have updated my links since 3.04 also allowed putting commas instead of %2Cs in the links so they now look like this:
(the forum may split the lines - so make sure each of the above is all in one line when you paste it into GSAK)
The 255,0,0 is the color of the 'dot'
the 14 is the size of the 'dot'
the s=3 is the size of map
the t=2 or t=1 is the type of map
the z=1 is the zoom (meters per pixel)
Wish I could find a way to make the text of the marker larger.
Wish I could make it default to opening with the dot centered on the screen.
All these settings were found by trial and error. There is probably a help file somewhere that explains what all you can do.
I like the Lost Outdoors maps because I can easily save them as .jpg files and either print them or store them on my palm
FWIW, you can bypass the 'map' page altogether and go straight to the image source (sauron.etree.com). The parameters aren't identical, but they are similiar. One additional parameter is the Q factor for the JPEG file. If you look at the normal map page and the 'printer' friendly page you will that I default to a higher quality image for printing.
When I grab images for PDA, I usually go direct because tweaking the Q factor seems to really impact clarity on the different screens. I also put in a size 0 for the image server, which is much smaller than anything offered on the web page. Even 'big' just took too long on the wireless internet on my PDA ;-)
P.S. A fair number of people are grabbing images directly, some in high volume. I don't mind, the site is/has always been completely free, but rather than guessing at usage, drop me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org). A few high density users were making a lot more requests on their sites than they needed to, really cutting into the bandwidth left for everyone else.
Oh my gosh I hate using the stars, I did not know airlines had to use the jetways. I still have some of my high charts laying around somewhere. Stars are almost as much of a pain as SIDs. We could sometimes get away saying we were military aircraft and "unable to comply due to equipment" and just get vectors to final like a bunch of losers
FWIW, you can generally reject STARs and DPs (SIDs) - supposedly even putting "NO STAR, NO DP" in the remarks of your flight plan. But in practice this either means that you will have it read to you as a full clearance or, in a busy airspace like Los Angeles, find yourself holding at Filmore or Palmdale waiting for SoCal Approach control to accept the handoff from Joshua Approach or LA Center.
Approach Controllers who are used to dealing with military traffic, like Joshua which sees China Lake, Palmdale, Victorville, Mojave and a couple of small strips that no one talks about, are often a lot more forgiving and cooperative. It's been years, but I recall the same being true in parts of Florida.
The Jet airways thing is partly procedural, and partly old computers. The airlines do their own routing and filing, as well as receive quasi-real time ATC tracking information via an amazingly complicated infrastructure put together by the VOLPE center and private contractors. Unlike DUATS, which I think has been a relatively successful private/public collaboration, CTAS and the related systems is pretty much what you would expect when private competitors, public agencies, and academics design something by committee... ;-)
Alot of times they just file GPS direct so looking for the navaids is pretty pointless, except on the approaches and unless you have the approach plates for the certain runway you are landing at, again it will look boring, since 99 percent of times they just get radar vectors to the final approach course and fly the localizer or the full ILS depending on the pilots mood. Now some of the approaches we flew at pensacola were arcing approaches where you arced at a certain DME from the tacan station to intertcept the final approach course, those would be pretty cool to look at.
FWIW, while private pilots and bizjets routinely receive GPS direct clearances, until last week, airliners did not. For various reasons, the airliners still primarily fly on the high altitude enroute structure (which uses ground based navaids). Now the FAA has approved a grid of waypoints that can be used for RNAV type navigation at the highest flight levels.
Presumably, over time, the same flexibility will be offered at lower flight levels. Like the new extended flight operations rules for twin jets over water, I am not entirely sure that the FAA is putting safety first. The push has been for issuing direct clearances, but that is not the way the IFR system is designed, and it really hasn't been restructured.
If someone is interested in looking at approach plates for a particular airport, you can view many of them at www.airnav.com. But, as you pointed out, in a radar environment, most arriving aircraft receive vectors to final. What might be more interesting are the STARs, or standard arrival procedures. The first few fixes of these are almost always flown as published.
I like South West Airlines the best, since they have not had any fatal crashes, falling out of the sky.
It would not be good to use the Backlight on the GPS, because it generates alot of RF radiation, also do not use an amplified antenna on the gps. Game Boys can be bad on the plane, with all the noise those can generate.
FWIW, one benefit that Southwest has had is that it started with an all new, all identical fleet. Now that the fleet is getting older, they are starting to see increased maintanence costs and failures.
Also, having seen a Southwest flight crash through a barrier and into the street in Burbank, I figure that it is just a matter of time until they have their own 'event'.
As for consumer appliances, the FAA basically forbids everything but pace makers and such, but then leaves the door open by allowing devices that the PIC (pilot in command) deems safe. Part 135 operators have additional restrictions, but it all pretty much boils down to airline operations policy.
If everything is working correctly, both on the avionics side and on the consumer side, anything with an FCC sticker should not be a problem. But, most pilots with Bose active noise cancellation headsets can tell you seconds in advance when your cell phone is about to ring, and there have been incidents where flight crews reported erratic nav indications which subsided when passenger devices were turned off, so no devices on TO and L has become the norm.
A portable GPSr has perhaps had the most inflight testing, since huge numbers of private and corporate pilots routinely run them, hanging on the yoke next to the nav stack, every day. Electroluminecent displays do generate a fair amount of EMI, but are generally not prescribed from cockpit use, so I wouldn't lose sleep over your backlight.
The inability to disable the baro. sensor in Garmin units is a pain. It's nice as a backup altimeter in small piston singles and twins, but useless in a pressurized cabin.
Well, the title about sums it up. For something I was doing for www.Angelflight.org (free medical flights), I ended up adding airports, navaids, reporting points, and intersections to www.lostoutdoors.com.
On the New Map page, you can now scroll down below the GNIS database search and place names in the FAA search line instead. You can use identifiers, like L52, KSEZ, etc. or city names (ex. La Verne). The original fix database work was done by www.navaid.com. I pulled the data from there, so if you find it especially useful, check out the donation page there.
For those of you who are pilots, you can also search on intersection names, although I can't think of a good reason to search for, say SAUGS... :-)
Paul Tomblin's site is very good. And while you're at it, if you have a Palm, get Copilot. It's an excellent flight planning tool, and you can download databases from Paul's site for it in addition to the .gpx format. You can download by state, by lat/lon, or for the entire US or most other countries. If you're interested, you can get coordinates for all the offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
I am a big fan of CoPilot for Palm. I get the airports, fixes, and navaids from navaid.com, do my flight planning, then send my route and waypoints to my eTrex Vista for backup using a little companion program we put together here called CoCoPilot. Since the navaid.com data isn't always perfect, CoCoPilot will also grab an image from LostOutdoors (if you have a Palm VII). If you have a VII you can also grab a route or area briefing if you have a DUATS account.
I find it easier to take the Palm VII and a serial cable instead of a laptop (with my family, we are always near gross weight). I never polished CoCoPilot up for freeware release, but send me an email if someone wants a copy to play with.
I rebooted the server this morning and everything seems fine. Please drop me an email if anyone is still having trouble.
Several hundred of you have already emailed me to let me know that the LostOutdoors.com map server is currently down.
I'm out of town this weekend, but will address the problem tommorrow (Monday). Sorry about the inconvenience.
Garmin #1 sounds like standard customer service operating procedure - ie, when in doubt, get the customer to a clean slate
Garmin #2 seems reasonable, it has to be some sort of closed polygon for a calculation
After reading your post, I tried carrying my Vista to Starbucks, then went the long way around the block on my way back to the office. The area calculation seemed correct.
So, I cleared the track and tried again, this time stopping part of the way around and got a zero. I suspect that the feature may be coded correctly, but your usage may exceed the limitations of the GPS sat system.
For example, if you are trying to measure the area of something with a section narrower than 40-50', EPE could be giving the unit a much different shape to work with than you expect. Or, if you are in an area of poor reception or sat. geo., 3-4' of overlap may not be enough to give the unit a closed track to work with.
Welcome to the world of National Security. You can get some heads up on area GPS outages by calling Flight Service Centers (1 800 wxbrief from most locations). Select a live briefing and ask for "Notams related to GPS outages" in your area.
But, not all outages are pre-scheduled and noted. And, there will be lots of them while the President jumps around the country on the campaign trail.
I think that Peter has it nailed. Magellan is less accurate topographically, Garmin is less accurate in terms of man made features.
Both are nice for orientation, but NOT a substitute for real quads.
I think that there must be some confusion. The MapMaker on LostOutdoors does not use any client side scripting and works with just about any browser.
On the other hand, the WayPoint exchange, which sucks waypoints directly from your GPS, does use client side components. That is because it directly accesses hardware (RS-232) on your machine. As far as I know, there are no server only ways to accomplish this. And, semi-generic solutions, like Java, are typically closed off from hardware for portability and security reasons.
I'd second (22nd?) the recommendation for the Sawyer extractor. Keys, car, and urgent care are better, but at least the thing has been shown to be somewhat effective.
Better still, it works pretty well at removing stingers, etc., and I have actually used it that way. All things considered, I'd be more worried about people having adverse effects to insect stings than snake bites in most parts of the US. If you are willing to put an extractor in your first aid kit, you might want to consider getting a prescription for an Epi-pen from your doctor to go in their as well.
I started carrying one after getting swarmed by bees in Joshua Tree National Park.
30 miles isn't very far. Last week, the FAA was indicating that people should expect unreliable GPS operation within 300 nautical miles of China Lake at some elevations.
Originally posted by ScottJ:
This is utter BS, or at the very least an incredible coincidence. Radios don't make gyroscopes swing to the wrong headings, any more than they can make toilets flush or toasters pop up. A gyro is a mechanical device. Either the reporter had it completely wrong, and was talking about a GPS or VOR receiver rather than a DG, or the story itself is apocryphal.
Actually, that is not quite correct. Certainly, the vacuum driven attitude indicator or DC driven turn coordinator in most general aviation aircraft is not going to be effected by EMI or even EMR. But, in a modern, high-end glass cockpit, the attitude and directional instrumentation is not directly viewed.
Like an HSI that is slaved to a magnetic direction finder off in the wing, flight director displays can be (and are) driven by modules mounted off at the center of gravity in the plane. It is the electronic coupling (sometimes inductive) between sensors and display that can be effected by RF and EM interference.
Interestingly (to me at least), the sensors themselves no longer have to be spinning gyroscopic devices. Crossbow has had one 'no gyro' gyro FAA certified (it borrows on the anti skid/slip technology developed for cars), and other companies have submitted products.
As for toilet flushing, here is a true story. A dark shirt causes the toilet at my office to flush spontaneously, and a white shirt causes flushes to get missed. Dead batteries cause continuous flushing. It isn't the good 'ol valve, but the electronic sensor - designed and built by idiots, that is to blame. If I could get it to flush using my GPS (or even my handheld VHF transceiver), I could at least have some fun (at someone else's expense).
As it is, I just have to resort to the low tech solution of draping white tissue over the sensor when I am wearing dark clothing...
Renegage Knight, HartClimbs,
Sorry, I'll mix my response to your two posts together.
Regarding, 'until the cacher dies'. Sorry, no. I'm not a lawyer, but I've followed this subject for other reasons. There is substantial case law concerning items and materials left on public lands. Food and supply caches, bolted anchors for rock climbing, watering troughs and sheds for equestrian uses... You name it. The results are always basically, 'you leave it on public land, you have no reasonable expectation to get it back' and 'maintain no inherent ownership rights'.
The good news is that, although the property is 'abandoned', it is not, according to the same case law, a permanent man-made fixture, which is precluded on a lot of public land via other regulations (presumably, if sturdy stables don't quality, a tupperware tub full of Happy Meal toys or a couple of 3" RAWL bolts don't either.)
Regarding stupidity vs. liability and/or power trip, I'll stand by 'stupidity' for 90+% of the cases on public land. Private land is another matter. Most US land owners are (rightfully) scared of being sued. After all, if hot coffee can get a person millions... But, even on private land, I can think of a number of cases where a few self absorbed jerks had already pre-disposed land owners against access, even when groups are willing to address liability issues with leasing, etc.
Certainly, that was the case with some climbing areas in AZ over the last 10 years.
I don't know how long you have been climbing, but I think that climbing's biggest access problems are primarily due to explosive growth. Take lots of climbers with some showing virtually no self control when it comes to bolting, boom boxes, and chalk and you are going to have problems. Add to this that accidents are on the rise, particularly when folks transition from plastic to the great outdoors, and liability concerns are increased as well.
But, a little dialog and self restraint have kept some truly great areas open. I like that I can still share experiences like High Exposure in the Gunks, Durrance at Devil's Tower, Mount Conness at Yosemite, etc. with my daughter. I just hope that as she gets older, more ambitious adventures, like Snake's Dike, Mace II, etc. will still be open to us.
[This message was edited by jfitzpat on March 18, 2003 at 04:05 PM.]
Well, VOR/DME has been in use in aviation for a long time (radial and distance from a navaid). The concept has been in use in various navigation systems since at least the 1920's. Of course, road signs showing distance to a town date back to at least the 12th century...
"Invent" generally implies originate, not apply an old idea stupidly.
Adventure Passes in California are for several National Forests, not National Parks. There is a difference.
Since a number of popular climbing spots require them (ex. Williamson, Tahquitz, Suicide), you can find endless threads complaining about the fees on rock climbing forums (ex. www.rockclimbing.com )
In case it wasn't clear from the posts above:
True North - the top of the planet
Magnetic North - the place magnetic compasses point to (exact position moves over time, but it is not the top of the planet).
Maps are usually drawn referenced to true north, so if you spend a lot of time taking bearings from your GPS and plotting them on maps (or vice versa), true north is probably easier. Positions (lat/lon) should plot the same regardless of the setting (making THAT come out right requires compatible map datum settings in your GPS - a different subject).
Because the magnetic fields curve or 'dip' as they near magnetic north, the variation between true north and magnetic north changes based on your location. This variance or deviation is usually expressed in degrees east or west (example, 13.5 degrees East, or 13.5E for my office) Good compasses often have an adjustment you can make to correct the compass to give true readings, but this can be a pain, especially if you are traveling over a large area.
In an airplane, for example, everything is in magnetic, radar vectors, radio navigation aids, GPS readouts, you name it. The only real exception is wind direction in pre-flight briefings (true north), but in the air, even wind direction is given in magnetic.
On the ground, I keep everything in Magnetic as well. I think it is less error prone, for a variety of reasons. However, the by-the-book approach to land navigation would be to either set variance on your compass, or correct all readings mathmatically to true ("east is least...")
It is largely personal choice, but do know the difference and how to convert between them.
Plane & Pilot
in General geocaching topics
For what it is worth, the other one is near the GA terminal at KPNE:
I've never been there, but it seems farther out on the ramp - could be a fuel pit, or just a mistake on the coordinates. This one, I'd go with a pilot. There is generally a fence and a gate code outside GA terminals these days...