Jun 19, 2009

Science and Wanting Again

I'm writing this post as my Mac loads giant aerial photographs into a remotely run Windows machine that allows me access to ArcGIS software. Animals produce young faster than I produce maps. Every time I zoom in or out of the photos, it takes 5-20 minutes for the image to reload. Complicating matters is the fact that the giant air photo files are on my Mac, forcing the remote Windows machine to access my hard drive. Yeah, that's because I don't have enough profile space through my university to put these files onto the remote server.

Is this making your head explode? It's making my head explode. My endeavors with science are always adept at proving Murphy's Law, if nothing else.

I asked for a disk quota increase at my university. Well, my prof did. I think that request might have been blown of by the IT folk cuz I never heard back. So my prof suggested that I cut the air photos (which are actually 5 different files per photo). To do this, I require a PC. Or Windows on my Mac. I don't actually have enough space to partition my hard drive to run Windows. So I need a PC. Back to wanting! Do I really want to get a PC just to cut some air photos? No. Will I? Maybe. I don't have time to load these things otherwise.

I could ditch the air photos, I suppose, but they're amazing! Yesterday at the office I was able to rectify the errors of the dinosaur GPS by zooming in to a level at which I could distinguish the parking signs I'd used for annotation during the fiel mapping. (nb I don't recommend using parking signs for such descriptors: There are too many of them!) As much as I'd love to work from the office, there's only one computer with Arc, and the staff have pressing things to accomplish. In other words, I'm kinda in the way at times, though no one ever makes me feel that way. I was on a roll yesterday, but had to quit about 30 minutes from finishing. And frankly, I like to do computer work at night, not during sunny days when the fieldwork is calling me!

But processing these maps is required before I can sample. Lake Merced is a patchwork of sites that I can't keep straight without decent maps. Even with decent maps I keep screwing it up.

Ooh, my image has loaded. Time to export and print. Time to hit the north side of the lake, where I'm working under a double breasted cormorant rookery. There's so much guano there that you can see it in the air photos. From across the lake it looks like someone has spray painted the tule and willows white. Photos soon!

2 comments:

Dr D said...

Just a tech note that you could run the free VirtualBox to run Windows on your Mac although you will have to buy a copy of Windows. You probably know this... Or maybe you Mac is based on the PowerPC...

Term said...

Man these new machines are really complicated.