Learner-Shaped Technology

May 18, 2008

Costa Rica Day 3

Filed under: costa rica,general,gis,mapping,science — Mike W @ 3:49 pm

It’s Weds. morning before 8 am and already incredibly hot and steamy. Today is going to be a scorcher. The power died this morning, so I’ll have to type quickly on battery power. Yesterday morning (Tuesday) we hiked the Firestone reserve property taking the North trail along the boundary of the property. We hiked along the river to the waterfall (see flickr pics) and then up the trail for a steep 1,000 ft ascent to the ridge where we met up with the team geocoding the numerous petroglyphs on the site. I took a few snapshots of the petroglyphs, and I think the running total for this ancient rock art is now over 50 on the 300 acre property. Bamboo was planted back when the property was pasture, and it’s really taking over up top. Right now contractors are cutting and treating the wood on site for use in local sustainable building initiatives to keep growth in check. We climbed the bamboo ‘tree fort’ and looked at several petroglyphs while on the ridge, then caught a ride down the mountain with the contractor.


The station was abuzz with student researchers, one of whom described her research to study the impact of the clearing effort on the thickness of remaining bamboo growth. She cautioned about the many snakes she’d seen that morning and commented, “Geez, I hate snakes”. Lunch was great. I’m getting hooked on fresh mango and pineapple.

After lunch Warren went over some GIS information, and we learned some surveying techniques using compass bearings and inclination measurements. It really takes a steady hand and some patience to get good readings. After that we surveyed a loop on the property and then ran the data through COMPASS software to determine our loop closure error which was less than 2%. Not too shabby! Travis did a great job with measurements.

Back to the property for dinner, a little more GIS instruction, and a great slideshow from Keith and Don (the bat experts) on some visits to caves in Panama. I was going to run on the beach this morning and opted for an extra hour of sleep instead. Determined to try tomorrow am, my last chance, I think.

Today we stay on the Haciendu Baru to survey in the lowlands, so we can connect to the Firestone surveys. That means hot and buggy and no internet, since we only get that at the Firestone station. I’m anxious to gather real rather than practice data. I had a quick Skype conversation with Susannah before the kids got out of school, and it worked pretty well. I miss her and the kids a lot and am bummed that it will be another day before I can communicate with them in any shape or form.

Man, it’s hot today, and it’s not even 9 am. More tomorrow. More pics from Tuesday added to flickr. Check ’em out.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress