Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Oh no. Do I need to attempt a succinct explanation of geomatics?" asks Professor David Parker of the University of Newcastle. "Well, I could say something long-winded based on the way we take measurements of the earth, but essentially we do SatNav and Google Earth – professionally. So whereas most people use Google Earth to visualise a drive along their high street, professionals can use imagery from land, air and space not only to visualise our urban infrastructure but to sense vegetation, moisture and heat loss."

Until recent times geomatics was a sort of adjunct to engineering. The Channel Tunnel, for example, wouldn't have happened without it. But as satellites have progressed, the profile of the geomatician has soared. "We can now sense the uplift around an active volcano or measure the rate of melt of the ice caps," says Parker. His science is the great hope for providing the blueprint (or greenprint) to enable us to have a truly sustainable lifestyle. Parker is loath to take any personal credit – geomatics is always a team effort – but he has brought geomaticians, engineers and geoscientists together to collaborate in a new way.

Ecologists point out that everything is interconnected, yet scientists often go about their business in a compartmentalised way. Parker and his team, however, merge data to create mind-bogglingly detailed maps that allow them to profile, for example, coastal erosion, or to treat Newcastle as an urban laboratory. Over the next two years, the School of Geomatics ( will map all the details of the city's infrastructure. "When we've done that," says Parker, "we'll know how to change to live within our means. Enough for all, for ever – that's the aspiration."

Yesterday, we drove out through fall leaves and a little further North, where the fall was already over, to Stratford to look at houses for our retirement. We saw a house on Maple from the outside, Redford Crescent round its own park, where there was nothing suitable for sale and inside the two half built houses on College, which, sadly will be ready before we can move. We liked the agent a lot and he represents Stratford's biggest builder, so we might find something in the future. We loved the town, although it is an hour or two from Toronto.
I have always lived in big cities and I don't know how well I will adapt to a small one.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I just made a little You tube film of photographs taken on my first cell phone. These are some of them.

Monday, October 18, 2010

As you older, it becomes more and more important
not to get water in you shoes,
to buy a Harley sometime soon,
to play in that old farts band,
not to get up at three thinking it's six,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stoned on Percocet and anti-histamine. I lay examining the word "coindre" Je coins, tu coins, il coin, Dans le temps nous coindrions, c'est a dire, nous nous mettions dans un coin. We painted ourselves into corners. I was coming back up to the surface slowly, irritated that even my watch strap was itching. The operation has been highly successful and a lot less painful than expected. I had a morphine pump for twenty for hours but used it less than I could have. I slept a lot. I came home today. I will have a pretty scar for some time to come. It was not my thymus at all. The remainder of my thyroid had descended behind the breast bone, hence the five inch vertical scar.

Saturday, October 16, 2010