08.31.2007 21:03

The no internet at home experiment

I went and cancelled my home DSL starting this morning. I was paying about $70 for the combined phone/DSL charges. Anyone have any thoughts about the cell phone based systems from Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile?

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.31.2007 19:23

AGU 07 Magnetics of Sediments Session

This session looks pretty good. Too bad I don't have anything new to add.
Enviromagnetic Fingerprints Recovered From Modern Sediments (GP06)
Modern sediments are valuable enviromagnetic archives. The session
will focus on the ability of enviromagnetic parameters (e.g. low field
susceptibility, frequency-dependent susceptibility, anhysteretic
remanent susceptibility, bivariate ratios, bivariate plots) to
differentiate sedimentary environments. Environmental magnetism is
able to characterize processes in modern fluvial, deltaic, lacustrine
and marine environments, as well as in modern soils. Case studies
concerning aquatic systems are particularly welcomed. Presentations on
the modified magnetic signatures recorded in ecosystems under natural
and/or anthropogenic pressure are strongly encouraged. Calibration of
sediments, e.g. by magnetic susceptibility, and correlation with
geochemical and/or geoecological data are also topics of interest.
Convener: Sorin-Corneliu Radan
Co-Convener: Ann M. Hirt
We will have invited talks given by: 
Christoph Geiss (Trinity College, USA), 
Kenneth Kodama (Lehigh University, USA), 
Barbara Maher (Lancaster University, United Kingdom), 
Daniel Rey (Universidad de Vigo, Spain), 
Andrew Roberts (University of Southampton, United Kingdom). 

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.30.2007 18:16

dods and hdf support in fink gdal

Rob B. gave me a report that gdal in fink is missing hdf supprt. Strange, but I am not sure what it is missing.
% gdal_translate > formats-fink
% /Library/Frameworks/GDAL.framework/Versions/1.4/Programs/gdal_translate > formats-chaos
% diff formats-fink formats-chaos
>   FITS: Flexible Image Transport System
>   HDF4Image: HDF4 Dataset
<   FITS: Flexible Image Transport System
>   PCRaster: PCRaster Raster File
>   Terragen: Terragen heightfield
>   JPEG2000: JPEG-2000 part 1 (ISO/IEC 15444-1)
Anyone know what I am missing in the config? In the process, I noticed that the dods support was not working. I should have that working in the next revision of the gdal package.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.30.2007 09:47

NOAA press release on whale tagging


August 29, 2007 - For the first time, researchers have recorded
"megapclicks" - a series of clicks and buzzes from humpback whales
apparently associated with nighttime feeding behaviors - in and around
NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. As detailed in the
most recent issue of the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, this
study offers the first documentation that baleen whales produce this
type of sound, normally associated with toothed whales and

'Megapclicks': acoustic click trains and buzzes produced during night-time foraging of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) [biology letters/royalsoc.ac.uk]

Alison K. Stimpert1 David N. Wiley, Whitlow W.L. Au, Mark P. Johnson, Roland Arsenault
Abstract - Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)
exhibit a variety of foraging behaviours, but neither they nor any
baleen whale are known to produce broadband clicks in association with
feeding, as do many odontocetes. We recorded underwater behaviour of
humpback whales in a northwest Atlantic feeding area using suction-cup
attached, multi-sensor, acoustic tags (DTAGs). Here we describe the
first recordings of click production associated with underwater lunges
from baleen whales. Recordings of over 34000 'megapclicks' from two
whales indicated relatively low received levels at the tag (between
143 and 154dB re 1microPa pp), most energy below 2kHz, and interclick
intervals often decreasing towards the end of click trains to form a
buzz. All clicks were recorded during night-time hours. Sharp body
rolls also occurred at the end of click bouts containing buzzes,
suggesting feeding events. This acoustic behaviour seems to form part
of a night-time feeding tactic for humpbacks and also expands the
known acoustic repertoire of baleen whales in general.

Images from NOAA:

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.29.2007 21:58

jing for movie capture on mac and windows

Finally we have a movie capture from the screen tool that works on the mac (and windows probably works fine too)...


It doesn't even give me a kernal panic like another program did. The UI is a little strange with the sun like icon it put in the top right corner of my string. If it works, it works.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.29.2007 21:21

New Castle BBQ

This evening, Alice, Lynn, Michelle/Trooper, Val and I went to a BBQ out at the New Castle Coast Guard station. Awesome location. Trooper stole the show...

The new UNH pier is coming along, but it is strange to see how much short this one is compared to the old USCG pier that it replaces.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.28.2007 19:17

Garden update

The garden is doing pretty well. This evening I made my own pasta sauce that was made mostly from things from my garden. Here is the current crop that I got today. The squash, corn, and cucumbers are donation from the neighbors (and really good stuff!) The beats aren't quite the shape I am used to seeing in the store. The carrot looks funny, but yum!

Some of the sunflowers are doing quite well.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.28.2007 11:10

External sensors to verify AIS ship data (e.g. dimensions)

AIS is notorious for having ships that broadcast incorrect data. There is even a group that got a publication out of this:
A. Harati-Mokhtari, A. Wall, P. Brooks, J. Wang, J., "Automatic
Identification System (AIS): Data Reliability and Human Error
Implications," The Journal of Navigation, vol. 60:3, pp. 373-389,
A while back, I wanted to setup an AIS receiver with a webcam and trigger the web camera off of the AIS receive position. Then I could automatically start building a database of ship images. Convenient to have the ship telling you when it is in the field of view of the camera. Then I was looking at the sensors available in the NOAA PORTS system and realized that there is a similar idea available. A few bridges have been outfitted with airgap sensors. If we combine high rate air gap measurements with the GPS from the AIS broadcasts, we can calculate the length of the ship. We can then check the length of the ship (Dimensions A+B in AIS Msg 5) to see if it is within tolerances to what the airgap sensor seas. Then an alert can be sent to a VTS operator who can inform the ship that they need to correct the values in their GPS.

I imagine that there are other sensors available in locks and other tight areas that could do the same for width. For IMO number, a webcam can capture a picture of the ships IMO number and a human can quickly verify that it matches the AIS if a simple display showing both is available. Then if we have an upward looking sonar on the bottom, we could also check the draft. NOAA uses bottom mounted ADCP's to look at currents. They could also look for ships passing over. An alternative is to use computer vision to look at the lines on the side of the ship showing the load level, but that might be much less reliable.

The minimum keyboard displays are difficult to use and this could be a gentle way to let the mariner know that he has some values that need to be updated.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.28.2007 10:50

CCOM web site people page now has pubs

Yesterday I was talking to Briana about the new look of the CCOM publication section which is a huge improvement of the previous way. The old way had each publication only once in a big list. That made it hard to say "browse all papers by Colin Ware." Her new style is to have each person in a big web page with all the pubs that include that person.

My next suggestion is to have a publications section under each persons bio. I thought I was asking for too much, but this morning surprised me with an IM to go look at the people page and there it is. The default look is without the pubs, but if you click "Publications by Schwehr," it pops up a list of my pubs that are in the CCOM database. Sweet!

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.28.2007 10:06

Paper on AIS for oil spill applications

Phil and I put together a short paper on our thoughts about AIS for Oil Spill issues. Phil will be giving this as a talk at MTS/Oceans07 the first week of October.

[PDF] Schwehr, K.D., McGillivary, P.A., Marine Ship Automatic Identification System (AIS) for Enhanced Coastal Security Capabilities: An Oil Spill Tracking Application, Oceans07 MTS/IEEE, Vancouver, B.C. 29 Sept - 4 Oct 2007. Abstract:
National and international trade via shipping is already significant,
and expected to continue increasing rapidly over the next decade.
Both more ships and larger ships will contribute to this trade,
including ships from countries with less rigorous shipping maintenance
and inspection standards than the United States, and less strict
pollution monitoring regulations.  Changes in ship traffic management
protocols have been implemented in recent years in the U.S. to
minimize damage to coastlines, particularly near sensitive or
protected marine environments.  For example, to reduce risk to coastal
resources off central California, shipping lanes for larger vessels
were moved further offshore to allow for additional response time in
case of accidents before such vessels might drift into coastal areas.
Similarly, ships are now routed via specific approach channels when
entering Boston Harbor to reduce impacts within adjacent National
Marine Sanctuary resources.  Several recent high profile cases have
occurred where 'mystery' oil spills were found near shipping channels,
but no vessel could be readily identified as their source.  These
incidents lead to extensive and expensive efforts to attempt to
identify the ships responsible.  As time passes in responding to these
incidents, the likelihood of confirming the identity of the ships
diminishes.  Unfortunately, reports of vessels engaging in illegal
oily waste discharge to reduce fees for offloading the waste in port
are ongoing.  We here discuss use of improved capabilities of
near-continuous real-time position location monitoring of shipping
traffic using marine Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) for ships
that would facilitate identification of ships responsible for illegal
oily waste discharge. The next phase of the National AIS, N-AIS
Increment 2, can supply additional spatial coverage not currently
included in the N-AIS Increment 1, which can provide an enhanced
capability for monitoring shipping and improving management of coastal
ship traffic and response to pollution incidents.  These methods will
not only improve response time, but reduce cost of response as well.
As always, my pubs are available online: pubs/papers/reports/etc

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.27.2007 18:12

Geologist - Uncyclopedia

Geologist as defined in the Uncyclopedia. If you are a geologist or know us geologists well, this is laugh out loud stuff.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.27.2007 16:28

apache2 and libapache2-mod-python-py25 in fink

I was having problems with mod-python in fink. After rebuilding apache2, the bus errors disappeared. I think this comes from me building apache2 a while back and then compiled mod python. I did a fink rebuild of apache2 and now all is well. When it was failing, life was not fun. After doing an apache2ctl restart, it went into an infinite loop trying to start apache2. BTW, Mac OSX sticks crash dumps in /Library/Logs/CrashReporter/apache2.crash.log

The proceedure:
fink install apache2
fink install libapache2-mod-python-py25 
sudo a2enmod python2.5
sudo emacs /sw/etc/apache2/apache2.conf
Now in the apache2.conf file, add this to the end just for testing:
<Location /mpinfo>
    SetHandler mod_python
    PythonInterpreter main_interpreter
    PythonHandler mod_python.testhandler
Now restart apache and give a look at the mod python info:
sudo apache2ctl restart
open http://localhost/mpinfo

General information

Apache versionApache/2.0.59 (Unix) mod_python/3.3.1 Python/2.5.1
Apache threaded MPMYes, maximum 25 threads / process
Apache forked MPMYes, maximum 6 processes
Apache server root/sw/etc/apache2
Apache document root/sw/var/www
Apache error log/sw/var/log/apache2/error.log (view last 100 lines)
Python sys.version2.5.1 (r251:54863, May 11 2007, 07:21:53) [GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5341)]
Python sys.path
Python interpreter namemain_interpreter
mod_python.publisher availableYes
mod_python.psp availableYes

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.27.2007 11:46

LNG Boston news articles

The Glaucester Daily Times has two articles this month on the LNG terminals that are going in next to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS):

August 10, Second company granted key permits for gas terminal, By Douglas A. Moser
Suez Energy North America received the last few state permits it needs
to begin construction on its deepwater liquefied natural gas port
proposed about 10 miles southeast of Gloucester, company executives
said yesterday.
The project received a water quality certification from the state
Department of Environmental Protection and coastal zone management
consistency certification from the Massachusetts Coastal Zone
Management Office.
Clay Harris, president and CEO of Suez North America, said in a
statement that the company still plans to begin operations of its
liquefied natural gas terminal by the end of 2009.

August 13, LNG company funding whale detecton system, By Douglas Moser
One of the companies building a liquefied natural gas terminal off
Gloucester is paying for a new system that will help detect whales and
avoid strikes by its massive tankers.
Environmentalists and marine biologists hope it could dramatically
reduce the number of whales killed by vessel strikes. Two whales that
washed up dead on Cape Ann shores this summer died as a result of
being hit by large vessels, officials from the New England Aquarium
Six buoys, which each have a microphone tied to it 50 feet below the
surface and an antenna to transmit data and sound, surround the
construction site of one liquefied natural gas terminal 13 miles
southeast of Gloucester. Excelerate Energy LLC, based in The
Woodlands, Texas, is building the Northeast Gateway Energy Bridge and
paid for the whale monitoring system as part of a mitigation package
the state ordered when approving the terminals.
The buoys will help monitor whales in the main shipping route from the
LNG site to Boston.
"A company wanted to build these (LNG terminals) a mile away from a
marine sanctuary, and we wanted to find ways to mitigate their
impact," said Leila Hatch, a regional coordinator for marine
bioacoustics with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.24.2007 09:03

Saturn Vue Hybrid

Yesterday I drove a Saturn Vue Hybrid down to Groton, CT for a meeting at the USCG RDC. I've driven a Prius before, but it was fun to tryout a more SUV like hybrid. I drove 387 miles with about 95% of those miles on the highway in traffic that was almost always going over 60 MPH. I ended up putting 12.39 Gal in the tank. So assuming enterprise gave me a car with a full tank, the car got 31.2 MPG. Not bad for an SUVish vehicle, but I was hoping for better gas mileage. My old Saturn SL2 gets about the same for my around town driving.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.22.2007 14:37

Hercules and Argus recover Doerri

Here are some images from Art T. that show the recovery of DOERRI by Hercules and Argus in the Black Sea. The vehicle flooded, but the pinger worked and they were able to find it.

The team is back on land and will be back in the states not too long from now. They are going to be telling some priceless sea stories for sure.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.20.2007 11:32

How to check out a svn project from Eclipse

The initial task of checking out an existing project from svn for use in Eclipse is a little overwhelming. I had to ask for help a couple time to get to this point. Here is how I did it, but unless you are a CCOM person, you will have to use a different svn tree. This is on a Mac running 10.4 with eclipse 3.3.0 configured how I discribed last month.

First, we need to have python 2.5 and pylint installed. Use fink:
fink selfupdate && fink install pylint-py25-bin
Now configure pydev:
Eclipse - Preferences
     Interpreter - Python
       "New..." to the right of Python interpreters
           Harddisk /sw/bin/python2.5
         check use pylint
	 location of pylint (lint.py)
   OK... takes about 30 seconds
Now you need to open the repository for browsing:
Window - Open Perspective
  SVN Repository Exploring
Right click in the SVN Repository
   New - Repository Location
      Url: https://cowfish.unh.edu/projects/schwehr/trunk/src/noaadata/
Now you should see your repository. Check it out.

Right click on the url in "SVN Repository..."
	      pydev project
	          project name: noaadata
       		  Choose project type: python 2.5
		  Uncheck create default src

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.20.2007 10:55

Black Sea DOERRI article

Scientists Take Underwater Robot On Black Sea Expedition [sciencedaily.com]
Science Daily - Using a novel underwater robot, University of Delaware
marine scientists will help reveal the mysteries of the Black Sea's
geology and maritime history, including ages-old shipwrecks, during an
international expedition that is now underway.
The Institute for Exploration and the Institute for Archaeological
Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of
Oceanography are leading the mission, which will conduct geological
and archaeological research in the Aegean and Black Seas--waterways
that have served as major trade routes for centuries.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Delaware.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.20.2007 09:53

trac update for fink

Charles Lepple and I have worked together to get an update to trac in fink. I picked up the maintainership to clearsilver-py to get it to python 2.5. That I did, but I still need to fix up the package to see if I can get it to allow python 2.4 and 2.5 variants to be installed at the same time. Charles did the trac update to 0.10.4 and added the python 2.5 variant and now has it depending on pysqlite2-py. That means trac will be force into using an sqlite3 database rather than the option of sqlite2 or sqlite3 depending on if you have pysqlite2-py installed or not. I think this will reduce confusion in the long run. Plus sqlite3 is faster and smaller than sqlite2. To update your database, do this:
   $ mv trac.db trac2.db
   $ sqlite trac2.db .dump | sqlite3 trac.db
and you will be back in business. For some of my databases, the file size dropped to about 1/2 the original size.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.17.2007 14:27

Black Sea update

We finally heard back from the Black Sea via Roland. Doerri and the AUV team are all on board the Alliance. The Alliance provided the Flamingo pumps and the Flamingo has been towed back to Sevastopol. Apparently, there was trouble with the shaft gasket on the Flamingo. Art T. kindly instant messaged me before they had to leave the Flamingo. The Alliance is back to regular ROV operations and the AUV is being packed up for return state side.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.17.2007 08:40

gCaptain on when radar is out

Radar is out? Stop cursing and grab a plotting sheet.. He suggests plotting AIS contacts with a grease pencil. Why not have an AIS charting system that can plot contacts on the chart. Then spend most of your time "looking out the windows". Most of these ships have very few people on the bridge.

However, learning to use a grease pencil and plotting is a very valuable skill even in the computer age.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.17.2007 08:36

MS Virtual Earth for Emergency Response

Mobile Tactical Collaboration System(TM) for Emergency First Response and Alert Notification
Our friends at Ordia Solutions are making news around just such an
application, their Virtual Earth powered Mobile Tactical Collaboration
System. The system is a map driven solution that allows collaboration
between multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary first responders
such as police, fire and rescue, and other emergency managers to
visualize and analyze critical situations and to coordinate command
and control. MTCS integrates Virtual Earth maps with collaborative
software tools, advanced GIS tools and voice-over-IP for real-time
incident reporting, communications, the sharing of photos and videos,
and map annotations through shared workspaces. Like most Virtual Earth
applications, it is delivered via a web browser and MTCS runs on
mobile wireless information devices mounted inside emergency
vehicles. Screenshot of the application below.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.16.2007 18:12

GLUT is not GLUT is not GLUT

Ouch... I am trying to track down the source to GLUT that Roland is using for some GeoZui development. I had thought until now that GLUT was GLUT and FreeGLUT was pretty much the same thing. Apparently not.

He has references to these functions: glutStylusButtonFunc glutStylusMotionFunc, glutCursorButtonFunc, glutCursorMotionFunc, glutEraserButtonFunc, and glutEraserMotionFunc. I can't seem to find them anywhere. In the GLUT that he has they look like this:
GLUTAPI void APIENTRY glutTabletMotionFunc(void (GLUTCALLBACK *func)(int x, int y));
GLUTAPI void APIENTRY glutTabletButtonFunc(void (GLUTCALLBACK *func)(int button, int state, int x, int y));
GLUTAPI void APIENTRY glutStylusMotionFunc(void (GLUTCALLBACK *func)(int x, int y, int p));
GLUTAPI void APIENTRY glutStylusButtonFunc(void (GLUTCALLBACK *func)(int button, int state, int x, int y));
GLUTAPI void APIENTRY glutEraserMotionFunc(void (GLUTCALLBACK *func)(int x, int y, int p));
GLUTAPI void APIENTRY glutEraserButtonFunc(void (GLUTCALLBACK *func)(int button, int state, int x, int y));
GLUTAPI void APIENTRY glutCursorMotionFunc(void (GLUTCALLBACK *func)(int x, int y, int p));
GLUTAPI void APIENTRY glutCursorButtonFunc(void (GLUTCALLBACK *func)(int button, int state, int x, int y));
That clearly is not freeGLUT as it has FGAPIENTRY instead of APIENTRY and spits the headers out with glut.h including two other headers.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.16.2007 10:57

ogle earth links on Vesseltracker and GeoWeb 2007 presentations

Ogle Earth has a links post with some good content: Links: Vesseltracker, earthquake, Vint Cerf on the geoweb:

Jim Case pointed out that there are a million more Google Earth ocean related sites and files on this site. It was good before, but now it is just crazy. I've got one link on there at the bottom for "Whale Tracking" in the "Atypical sites" category. http://www.justmagic.com/GM-GE.html

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.15.2007 14:22

Human error in AIS data

To quote someone who said this in jest...
You mean, there are errors in AIS data!???
We've been struggling for untold hours to deal with bad data in AIS streams. Here is a article by another group of researchers about the problems found in AIS data.

Automatic Identification System (AIS): Data Reliability and Human Error Implications by Abbas Harati-Mokhtaria, Alan Walla, Philip Brooksa and Jin Wanga.
This paper examines the recent introduction of the AIS to the ship's
bridge and its potential impact on the safety of marine
navigation. Research has shown that 80 to 85% of all recorded maritime
accidents are directly due to human error or associated with human
error. Safety is an important element of marine navigation and many
people at different levels are involved in its management. The safe
and efficient performance of joint systems, is heavily dependent upon
how functions are allocated between the human and the machine. This
paper investigates different regulations, supervision for proper use,
training, and management of AIS users. It uses previous research and
three separate AIS studies to identify problems. The potential of the
AIS to cause problems is analysed. The classic human factor "Swiss
Cheese" Model of system failure has been modified for the AIS to
investigate a possible accident trajectory. The paper then concludes
with recommendations and suggestions for improvements and further

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.15.2007 14:17

AIS Class B article in Professional Mariner

Ben Ellison (of panbo.com has an article in Professional Mariner: Class B AIS is coming, growing pains included (Issue Date: Professional Mariner #104 - June/July 2007, Posted On: 5/14/2007)
"All AIS is good; and Class B is going to give people a better picture
of what's going on out there, no question about it, but my problem
with it is that update rate of just once every 30 seconds," said
former tanker captain and current Penobscot Bay pilot Capt. Skip
Strong. And he's just one of several AIS experts who say that Class B
transponders, the just-about-to-arrive third phase of the AIS marine
safety revolution, will take some getting used to.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.15.2007 09:37

skype to the black sea

I just used Skype for the first time... Roland gave me a tour of the Flamingo out in the Black Sea. Kinda hard to top this as a first Skype experience. Art held up a sign saying "Mac GeoZui" with a big smiley face. I know, I know. I will try later today if I can get some other tasks out of the way.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.13.2007 20:40

Press coverage of Healy Arctic cruise

After the Russian flag on the pole stunt, there will probably be a lot of press coverage of the CCOM/JHC Healy cruise to the Arctic. The team is flying north tomorrow and the day after. The Chase Ocean Engineering will be weirdly quiet the bit as the lab has the Black Sea Cruise, the Arctic Cruise, and the GEBCO international students head out tomorrow. After Russia and Canada, U.S. ship headed for Arctic, By Deborah Zabarenko
This is the third such U.S. Arctic mapping cruise -- others were in
2003 and 2004 -- and is not a response to a Russian mission this month
to place a flag at the North Pole seabed, or a newly announced
Canadian plan for an Arctic port, U.S. scientists said.
"This cruise was planned for three years and we've had the earlier
cruises; this is part of a long and ongoing program, not at all a
direct response," said Larry Mayer of the University of New Hampshire,
who will be on the voyage.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.13.2007 19:10

AIS in Google Maps

ship-position.kml is a Google Earth file. As I've written before, certain types of KML/KMZ files can be displayed in Google Maps. I still haven't had a reason to play with the google or yahoo maps APIs. Maybe someday.

This URL will display a ship in the San Francisco area in Google Maps. It should be easy to add multiple ships to a kml. I still have not checked if google maps will respect the refresh settings in KML.
./ais_msg_1.py -d '!AIVDM,1,1,,A,15Mmkl0P03G?iwjEWG9ICgv606sd,0*3A,1183247946' -T kml-full > ship-position.kml

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.13.2007 15:57


NOAA 2007-043
NOAA's Office of Coast Survey, in partnership with the University of
New Hampshire's Joint Hydrographic Center and the National Science
Foundation, will embark on a four-week cruise to map a portion of the
Arctic sea floor starting Aug. 17.
This is the third expedition in a series of cruises aboard the
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy designed to map the sea floor on the
northern Chukchi Cap. Scientists will explore this poorly known region
to better understand its morphology and the potential for including
this area within the United States' extended continental shelf under
the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea.
The data collected during this cruise will also provide valuable
information for better understanding sea floor processes and fisheries
habitat, as well as provide input into climate and circulation models
that will help scientists predict future conditions in the Arctic.
Previous mapping cruises in this series were conducted in 2003 and
Healy is equipped with more than 4,200 square feet of scientific
laboratory space and a multibeam echo sounder, the primary tool that
is used to map the sea floor. The research has been funded through a
NOAA grant award to the University of New Hampshire and will be headed
by cruise chief scientist Larry Mayer at UNH with NOAA's Andy
Armstrong serving as co-chief scientist.
The northern Chukchi Cap is an ice-covered region of the Arctic Ocean
where little data about the sea floor is available. The cruise will
primarily be mapping the 2,500 meter (about 8,250 foot) depth contour
and the foot of the continental slope - the area where the continental
margin transitions into the deep sea floor.
The Administration is currently seeking Senate consent to
U.S. accession to the Law of the Sea Convention as a priority
recommendation under the President's Ocean Action Plan. Accession
would allow full implement of the rights afforded to convention
parties to protect coastal and ocean resources.
Coastal states have sovereign rights over resources of the sea floor
and subsurface of their continental shelves. Under the Law of the Sea,
a country gets 200 nautical miles of continental shelf automatically,
but may extend its shelf beyond 200 nautical miles if it meets certain
geologic criteria. Under the Law of the Sea Convention, nations submit
scientific data on their continental shelves to a technical body
called the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. If a
country's claim meets Commission criteria, it strengthens the legal
certainty underlying the country's assertion of entitlement to the
extended shelf. (The United States is seeking to become a party to the
Convention in part to benefit from the legal certainty that comes with
this mechanism.)
Additional research, coordinated through the National Science
Foundation, includes the deployment of several Metocean
ice-beacons/buoys for the National Ice Center to collect information
on long-term ice drift, as well as the recovery, refurbishment and
redeployment of two high-frequency acoustic recording packages used to
record background acoustic noise. Scientist on the ship will conduct
sea ice analysis and routine collection of observations of sea ice
The partnership between NOAA's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping
and the Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire
in Durham, N.H., is intended to create a national center for expertise
in ocean mapping and hydrographic sciences. The centers focus their
activities on two major tasks. The first is an educational task to
create a learning center that promotes and fosters the education of a
new generation of hydrographers and ocean mapping scientists. The
second is a research task that develops and evaluates a wide range of
state-of-the-art hydrographic and ocean mapping technologies and
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the
U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and
service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the
Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather
Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of
America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety
through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related
events and information service delivery for transportation, and by
providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine
resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of
Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than
70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global
monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes,
predicts and protects.
On the Web:
NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov
NOAA National Ocean Service: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/
NOAA Office of Coast Survey: http://chartmaker.ncd.noaa.gov/
University of New Hampshire Joint Hydrographic Center:

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.13.2007 10:14

Black Sea cruise - Images by Roland

Roland is out in the Black Sea with Doerri. We've been watching some of the cruise on our Internet 2 video feeds. Roland sent back a few pictures that are not on that feed.

The Alliance as seen from the Flamingo. Notice the nice astro turf.

Where the cruise currently is located. Click for the original full sized image. I hacked the small one to work better a blog.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.13.2007 09:27

Presolicitation Notice (NOAA) - AIS based Program to Monitor Vessels off U.S. East Coast

I got to this by putting 14972 into the quick search on this page: 14972.


A -- Developing an Automatic Identification System (AIS) - based Program to Monitor Vessels in Waters off the U.S. Eastern Seaboard
General Information

Document Type: Presolicitation Notice
Solicitation Number: NFFK0000-7-14972
Posted Date: Aug 10, 2007
Original Response Date: Aug 24, 2007
Current Response Date: Aug 24, 2007
Original Archive Date: Sep 08, 2007
Current Archive Date: Sep 08, 2007
Classification Code: A -- Research & Development
Set Aside: Total Small Business
Naics Code: 541710 -- Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences
Contracting Office Address
Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Acquisition and Grants Office, SSMC4 - Room 7601/OFA61 1305 East West Highway, 7th Floor, Silver Spring, MD, 20910, UNITED STATES
NOAA intends to monitor vessel compliance with ship strike reduction measures vis a vis threatened marine mammals. Initially NOAA wishes to explore the feasability of doing so through remote sensing, specifically AIS and related technologies.     Therefore, NOAA seeks to explore the feasibility of developing a unified network of receivers and centrally processed, parsed, stored, and relayed data.     As such, this call for proposals is about assessing existing U.S. east coast AIS capabilities and to the extent deficiencies exist, assessing the feasibility of developing an U.S. east coast-wide AIS network.     In addition, the contractor will prepare a draft plan for implementing such a system, identify any obstacles, identify the soft- and hard-ware and technical requirements, and assess the costs associated with creating such a system and implementing an AIS-based program. The p[eriod of performance for this initial phase shall not exceed one year.     Evaluation using simplified acquisition procedures shall utilize technical approach, past performance and price.     A time and materials order is contemplated.     This is a simplified acquisition under the SAT.
Point of Contact
Donald Thompson, Contracting Officer, Phone 301-713-0820 x118, Fax 301-713-0806, Email don.thompson@noaa.gov
Place of Performance
Address: Silver Sp
Postal Code: 20910

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.13.2007 09:24

AIS conference renamed to eNavigation

eNavigation2007: http://www.enavigation.org/ This was AIS06 last year. The conference is Nov 13-14, 2007 in Seattle. I am not sure if I am going this year or not. Attending last year was a huge leg up for my AIS based research.
"E-navigation is the harmonized creation, collection, integration,
exchange and presentation of maritime information on board and ashore
by electronic means to enhance berth-to-berth navigation and related
services, for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine
environment." - IMO's NAV subcommittee
This November, Pacific Maritime Magazine will present a conference
intended to explore how Electronic Navigation and information
technology can be applied in short sea shipping and waterborne
eNav 2007 will explore how information technology can be used for
improved navigational safety, better governmental stewardship of the
environment, more effective law enforcement and security and greater
efficiency in the maritime links in national and global supply chains.
The target of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is to
develop the implementation strategy for e-Navigation by the end of
2008. As with our popular AIS conferences of which this is a natural
outgrowth, eNav 2007 will give vessel operators and marine cargo
terminal operators the opportunity to discuss information technology
application with federal and international regulators and
manufacturers in an interactive panel discussion format.

Last years presentations: http://www.rhppublishing.com/AIS06Presentations.html

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.12.2007 09:03

Garden update

Here is a quick update on the garden in photos. The tomatos are producing, but have something that is killing of the leaves pretty quickly. The mammoth sunflow is as tall as the bottom of the roof to the garage. Sweet peas are pretty much done with all the heat.

The beans are doing quite well on the arch. I definitely should have planted more climbers.

The sunflowers in the back row are huge...

I think the chocolate sunflower is the best for color.

As the sunflowers start to bloom, they kind of look like a alien spoor thing.

And this is the perfect little sunflower bloom next to the garden gate.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.12.2007 08:33

JPL Image Processing Labs

In previous posts, I showed were I work when I am in Tucson. Here is the other side of the fence back at JPL. This is the Digital Image Animation Lab (DIAL). I tend to sit at workstations right behind the camera. During the summer, this area is one of the summer student work areas with 2-3 students at the Macs shown here.

Around the corner is a hallway with light boards mounted on the wall. Entering the lab through this hallway really sets the stage of switching from the Mall outside the building (with deer and such) to the other worlds that are seen through the image processing labs.

Kris does an awesome job of producing super high quality prints that adorn many parts of JPL. It is not uncommon to have 20-30 foot long plots laying on the floor being prepped for display.

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.10.2007 16:39

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.10.2007 16:20

The history of ossimPlanet

I had the pleasure today of meeting Norman Vine who was visiting CCOM. He pointed me to a recent email describing the history of ossimPlanet: Re: [OSSIM] ossimPlanet Release Date
I guess 'officially' the ossimPlanet project got started at the UMN
Mapserver Users Meeting  in Ottowa Sept 2004 where Mark and I met
face to face for the first time and he also embraced the concept of
producing an OGC Standards enabled Interactive Widget
I had been givings demos of a non internet enabled interactive globe
for a year or so prior to that and Mark, Garrett and I had discussed
the idea of using OSSIM as the 'base platform' before then but that is
when we decided to "just do it".
At MUM the following year, June 2005, I gave a lightning talk about
'Planet' and how it had come to be and what could be accomplish using
OGC standards. This was probably the first 'public exposure' for the
project but IIRC we had working code before the first of the year in
the public CVS and I am sure we had given other demos before then
As the lead OSSIM developer Garrett has been leading the development
effort since the winter of 05 or so

Posted by Kurt | Permalink

08.10.2007 11:21

noaadata 0.29 released

I just released noaadata 0.29 that has a number of new features that support an upcoming paper.
  • 0.29 - 2007-Aug-10
    • Added ship traffic gridding using postgis. grid.py and ais_pg_grid.py
    • Transit summary support for SBNMS work
    • ais_pg_create_transit_table.py and ais_pg_transitlines_noMakeLine for building the tpath table used for summary reports
  • http://vislab-ccom.unh.edu/~schwehr/software/noaadata/

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.10.2007 10:06

    Bluetooth tide gauge

    Bluetooth Tide Gauge [ hydro internation product news ]
    ... In the world of dredging and hydrographic survey the tide gauge
    has largely been replaced by RTK GPS, giving high quality tidal Z
    values local to the point of measurement, however, the relative low
    cost and reliable logging tide gauge is nearly always deployed as a
    backup device and also provides a gross check on the GPS values. For
    Port and Harbour operations reliability and cost are the main
    parameters of interest, an ideal scenario would be an RTK antenna
    deployed on a buoy and to send real time height values back to the
    port control via telemetry. In reality the cost of an RTK rover unit
    with its associated base station and telemetry do not firmly represent
    value when compared with a more conventional tide gauge. The
    vulnerability of the rover system together with the fallibility of
    radio telemetry are also a potential weakness when the system is
    required to provide data even during storm and bad weather conditions.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.10.2007 09:33

    Blogging in academia

    A probably the only person in my building to blog extensively about my work, I was interested to see what community thinks about blogging in Academia. Web 2.0: To Blog or Not to Blog in Science and Academia? [nature.com]
    Yet in the world of social science I have come up against a lot of
    resistance and sometimes mirth at my blogging activities. Indeed one
    colleague at a recent conference suggested that I had given up
    academia for the last year because I run a blog.
    So blogging is a tricky line to take, if even those involved in
    internet based technologies frown upon virtual worlds and blogging
    then what hope is there for the rest of the academic community? I
    would be interested to know if any readers have set up a blog with
    regular updates on their research and if so what the feedback has been
    like from fellow academics?
    I now consider blogging critical to my research. I still write peer reviewed papers, but use blogging for communication of a large body of information that would never make it into a journal article. I try a wide range of different tacticts before I get to the one I publish. Those results are valuable, but not publishable. Then there is the collaboration aspect. I have had quite a few experiences where I show up for a site visit and the people I work with have been reading my blog posts. This really increases the value of the time I spend working with them. That pre-synchronization leaves much more time for new research.

    Plus, I think that I am the heaviest user of my blog. How did I do that last time? The act of putting something in my blog forces me to put in more thought to writing about a topic compared to what is in my work log.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.10.2007 09:24

    Back in NH

    I'm back to the East Coast. Many thanks to nasagrl for connecting me up with Judy for a place to stay. I had much fun hanging out with M&M+Judy when I wasn't working.

    And it was great to see many of the SIO crew, but I didn't get to see everyone :(
    And for Dingler... a garden update is in the works :)

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.10.2007 09:19

    Visualizations of visualizations

    This is a nice selection of visualizations...

    Data Visualization: Modern Approaches [smashingmagazine.com]

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.10.2007 09:01

    AIS Class B not until October?

    Panbo has more info on a Class B transceiver in TH Class B, & come on FCC! and a guess that it may be a while before we get Class B AIS units in the U.S.
    But they're not, and recently I heard that there will be yet another
    comment period and even waivers may not happen until October.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.10.2007 08:58

    Yet another "what is AIS" article

    GlobalSecurity.com has an Automatic Identification System (AIS) article.

    AIS is a shipboard radar display, with overlaid electronic chart data,
    that includes a mark for every significant ship within radio range,
    each as desired with a velocity vector (indicating speed and
    heading). Each ship "mark" could reflect the actual size of the ship,
    with position to GPS or differential GPS accuracy. By "clicking" on a
    ship mark, one can learn the ship name, course and speed,
    classification, call sign, registration number, MMSI, and other
    information. Maneuvering information, closest point of approach (CPA),
    time to closest point of approach (TCPA) and other navigation
    information, more accurate and more timely than information available
    from an automatic radar plotting aid, can also be available. Display
    information previously available only to modern Vessel Traffic Service
    operations centers is now be available to every AIS-equipped ship.
    Nothing special, but it is a quick read.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.10.2007 08:53

    AIS Satellite tracking

    the gcaptain site has more info on AIS from Satellites: AIS Satellites For Global Ship Tracking

    Studies conducted at Johns Hopkins University in 2003 indicated this
    concept was feasible, but it was not proven until a Dec. 16, 2006,
    launch by the Department of Defense of the TACSAT-2 satellite, which
    was equipped with an automatic identification receiver.

    The Coast Guard's ORBCOMM satellite is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2007, and ORBCOMM has announced plans to include automatic identification system receivers in future communications satellites.

    In another effort, the University of Miami's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, using a concept of operations developed by the Coast Guard, led a successful multi-organization experiment in late Sept. 2006 to develop and refine maritime domain awareness concepts and capabilities. Using seven civilian satellites, the Center was able to detect and track vessels transiting from the eastern Mediterranean to the coast of the United States.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.08.2007 15:34

    TSS in ASCII art

    I plotted up the number of ships of one type through the traffic separation scheme (TSS) in my study area. It is neat how you can see the two lanes of traffic that run horizontally with a slight slope down to the right. Look for the regions will cell count greater than 100.

    AIS ASCII art:

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.08.2007 12:51

    Gridding AIS data with ship catagories (gnuplot)

    First an aside. I happened to catch a few minutes of CNN in a coffee shop. There was a guy talking about the earthquake near Jakarta. For is basemap he was using Google Earth Pro with a USGS layer for the quake and then he had a graph of tides where he was saying something about Tsunamis (which I could not hear over the coffee shop noise). The interesting part to me is that the graph was clearly created by gnuplot. Gnuplot made CNN. You probably don't agree, but I think that is pretty awesome!

    Now on to AIS data and gnuplot...

    I am not there yet on the visualization end of things, but here is a quick look from gnuplot. There are three surfaces in the plot. The red is the base grid showing the level of no ships present. The cyan and blue are two difference categories of ships from within this list:
           0: 'cargo_container'
          ,1: 'fishing'
          ,2: 'passenger'
          ,3: 'service_research'
          ,4: 'tanker'
          ,5: 'tug'
    The command to use in the upcoming noaadata release is something like the following command. Do not forget to add the region and step size or you will default to one of my study areas :) ./ais_pg_grid2.py -d my_ais_2006 --basename='passenger' --category=2 Then in gnuplot, turn on the gridding and hidden surface removal. I set the grid size to be what my region happens to be.
    set dgrid3d 37,54
    set hidden3d
    splot 'redbaselevel-grd.dat' with l, 'sometype-cells.dat', 'another-cells.dat'
    The resulting image looks something like this picture.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.07.2007 23:10

    YouTube ranking for phoenix launch sim

    My posting of the YouTube video by SSV of the Phoenix Mars Lander simulated launch made it to the "96th - Most Lined (This Week) - Travel & Places".

    So far the stats:
    Views: 597 (probably about 20 by me)
    Comments: 5
    Favorited: 2 times
    Honors 1 (see below)
    Links: 5 (2 by me)
    Please link to this youtube video, comment on what you think, and rate it. The buzz for the launch will be rapidly falling this week for the Launch that occurred last Saturday morning. The next ORT is in Sept/Oct and landing is not until May.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.07.2007 19:07

    AIS track gridding

    I think I finally have AIS ship track gridding working enough for it to see the light of day. I got in trouble with a number of corner cases and speed optimizations, but now that I have extensive unit tests for the grid.py file, it should be okay. Here is a little teaser of 30 ship tracks through an area.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.06.2007 21:02

    10m dem coverage for the us from the usgs

    Nick F. pointed me to this site today. It's only partial coverage at the highest resolution and the web interface is clunky, but there is some good lookin data on the site.

    http://seamless.usgs.gov/ - "Seamless Data Distribution System, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS)"

    Apparently this has been around for a while, but I didn't know about it.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.06.2007 20:54

    gmt-doc is broken in fink

    As JJ pointed out to me, gmt-doc is broke. If it is installed then you can't update gmt. I'll hopefully get to fixing that soon, but I've got some code to get done tonight. For now:
    fink remove gmt-doc
    fink install gmt
    I've also added a tweak to fink to bring it up to the right revision, but gmt-doc.info should really be a splitoff from gmt.info with that file.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.06.2007 20:06

    Using numpy to make image files with PIL

    This short article sounds like a great trick to write out images. I am not far away from having to do some large image writing myself.

    http://jehiah.cz/archive/creating-images-with-numpy by Jehiah Czebotar.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.05.2007 18:04

    gnuplot gridding

    This is my first time using gnuplot to generate grids. This is great stuff! First, my test data set (4.dat):
    0.500000 0.500000 2.000000
    0.500000 1.500000 1.000000
    0.500000 2.500000 1.000000
    0.500000 3.500000 1.000000
    1.500000 0.500000 1.000000
    1.500000 1.500000 0.000000
    1.500000 2.500000 0.000000
    1.500000 3.500000 1.000000
    2.500000 0.500000 1.000000
    2.500000 1.500000 0.000000
    2.500000 2.500000 0.000000
    2.500000 3.500000 1.000000
    3.500000 0.500000 1.000000
    3.500000 1.500000 1.000000
    3.500000 2.500000 1.000000
    3.500000 3.500000 1.000000
    Then the gnuplot commands:
      set term x11
      set dgrid3d 5,5,1
      splot '4-grid.dat' with l, '4.dat'
      set ticslevel 0.5
      set view 60,30
      set autoscale
      set parametric
      set style data points
      splot '4.dat'
      set style data lines
      splot '4.dat'

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.04.2007 09:38

    Struggling with eclipse

    I am trying again to work with Eclipse. There is much to like, but things that are currently giving me trouble:
    • I seem to be using the mouse all the time. Not good for the body. I miss my emacs keyboard motion commands. Ctrl-A and Ctrl-E guys?"
    • The white background. Ouch. Why so bright? I feel like I might get a sunburn. How can I pick a more mellow color scheme? I use a black background in emacs.
    • How do I do a diff before commit back to svn? The team drop down for a file is a bit confusing. "History" is clearly not the answer.
    • Is there a keystroke for "run how I just did before"? If I just did a unittest on a file, how can I repeat that even if I am in some other file at the moment?
    • Now this one is driving me batty. I have two very large monitors in front of me. How do I put up a different source file on the other monitor? Tabs are great, but dragging the whole eclipse UI across screens does not show the other tabs and how wide do I really want one source file to be? With Emacs, 4 or five full screen columns of code can nicely fit on one monitor and I can layout frames however I want.
    • What is the keystroke to switch editor tabs?
    • I setup pylint, so how do I get at the output of it?
    • How about Apple +/- to make the font bigger/smaller?
    • Grr... the pydev extensions are partially free and partially for pay. I know it is the author's right to do this, but it makes me less inclined to stick with eclipse.
    Yes, there is lots about eclipse that rocks. But right now, it does not make me feel very productive. The whole "Refactoring" drop down looks so appealing.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.04.2007 08:18

    Phoenix launch successful

    Phoenix is now on its way to Mars!

    Leaving the tower:

    Solid rocket separation:

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.03.2007 21:20

    mbsystem on intel macs with fink

    I just committed the fink package that provides mbsystem on both ppc and intel macs. Please give it a try if you use mbsystem on intel macs and let me know if there are any problems.

    T minus 8 hours phx launch...

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.03.2007 20:41

    Mandatory JPL deer photo

    I imagine that most new JPLers end up taking a picture of the legendary on-lab deer. Yesterday, I ended up about 4 feet from an adult trying to get to work along one of the narrow walk ways. There was just a waist high railing between me and the doe with her fawn. They hardly notice people on lab. This evening as I was taking pictures, a guy came out of the building and actually waved and said high to a deer that was right out side of the door he came out

    Here is my manditory deer photo:

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.03.2007 19:36

    mbsystem byte swapping

    With a little help from RangerRick over on #fink, I have a quick way to set the byteswapping for mbsystem. I am about to put something based on the cpp method into the fink package so that mbsystem will work on intel macs too.
    #!/bin/bash -e
    # dangerous first thought
    if [ `uname -m` == i386 ] ; then
        echo yes
        perl -pi -e 's|\$BYTESWAPPED = \"NO\"\;|\$BYTESWAPPED = \"YES\"\;|g' install_makefiles
        echo no
    # better way
    cpp -dM /dev/null | grep __LITTLE_ENDIAN__
    if [ $? == 0 ] ; then
        echo yes... need to byte swap based on cpp
        perl -pi -e 's|\$BYTESWAPPED = \"NO\"\;|\$BYTESWAPPED = \"YES\"\;|g' install_makefiles
        echo no need to byte swap based on cpp
    I covered this cpp trick early last year, but RangerRick pointed out
    that /dev/null can be used instead of a real input file.  No fuss, no

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.03.2007 18:10

    Phoenix launch in less than 12 hours

    The Phoenix Mars lander is just about to launch... the clock on the web page has the countdown at 11 hours and 15 minutes.

    Wired has an article today on Phoenix: $400 Million Mars Lander to Launch on Saturday

    Image credit might be Corby Waste, but wired was not to clear about this.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.03.2007 17:54

    gmt 4.2.0 now in fink

    I've pushed the gmt 4.2.0 package from Remko into fink. I had tried the package a while back and had seen some strange problems. In rebuilding and testing the package, I can't find those problems, so it is now committed to the fink cvs free. Rsync users should see the update shortly.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink

    08.02.2007 14:37

    coin44 (2.3.0) has left fink

    I am finally getting around to cleaning up some stuff in fink. There is a new version of coin in fink (coin45 2.4.6), so the old coin44 2.3.0 is no longer in the fink 10.4 unstable tree.

    Posted by Kurt | Permalink