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Topics - Pete McK

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« on: July 29, 2014, 07:59:28 AM »
Lyle, following your article about smartphones in this month’s Trail, has Memory Map’s IP68 & military standards specification just done it I wonder?

Android Smarthone GPS

General Discussion / MH17 300 miles off its usual path
« on: July 24, 2014, 07:21:37 AM »
From today’s Daily Telegraph

The crashed MH17 flight took a route 300 miles to the north of its usual path, an aviation expert has said.

Robert Mark, a commercial pilot who edits Aviation International News Safety magazine, said that most Malaysia Airlines flights from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur normally travelled along a route significantly further south than the plane which crashed.

Malaysia Airlines has insisted its plane travelled on an "approved route" used by many other carriers.

But Mr Mark said: "I can only tell you as a commercial pilot myself that if we had been routed that way, with what's been going on in the Ukraine and the Russian border over the last few weeks and months, I would never have accepted that route.

"I went into the FlightAware system, which we all use these days to see where airplanes started and where they tracked, and I looked back at the last two weeks' worth of MH17 flights, which was this one.

Now ask yourself the all-important Cui bono question - Who benefits?

Would Putin or Russia benefit? Just the opposite.
Is Putin stupid? Just the opposite.
Who has the most to lose? Putin.
Finally, who benefits by fomenting war between Russia and the rest of the world?

Now let your mind wander back over some of the "false flag" operations of the last few years from Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq to babies being taken from their incubators in Kuwait and ask yourselves, "Is it real, or Memorex?"

Interesting isn’t it?

General Discussion / The Water Myth
« on: July 23, 2014, 10:25:57 AM »
I see that the Mountaineering Council of Scotland are warning about dehydration in this weather and peddling the same old drink at least 2 litres of water myth. The best advice I know came from my buddy who is a GP and outdoor enthusiast: Drink when you are thirsty, because your body knows best.

For my birthday, this weekend, Emma bought me a copy of 'Flying for GPS' by Len Jacobson, and the first chapter has gripped me :o

Best Places to Buy / Grab a bargain dry bag
« on: May 26, 2014, 01:08:58 PM »
A 40ltr dry bag, really solid construction and 100% waterproof at Aldi for just £10 now (May 25, 2014)

Bought two, one as a liner to my 50ltr rucksack and other for boot of car to stash dirty kit, boots in after hike.

I been thinking about this question for a while - Why are so many Nation States building their own GNSS, given the massive costs and the fact that there are already two fully operational GNSS?

BBC World reported this week that India is launching several satellites this year to build a regional system, which may eventually become a global system, according to their space administration. All this from a country with huge problems of poverty. It doesn't seem to make sense to me.

I have just come back with my Y9 (13/14 years) pupils from their second field trip. After the first excursion, navigation proved to be the most popular part of the course, as a result this trip was dedicated to this subject.

Most of these youngsters have either basic smartphones, or more frequently simple mobile phones, none of them own a handheld satnavs. Hence I was really pleased when the group determined for themselves how they could calculate their individual pace counts.

In the classroom, prior to leaving and of their own volition, they surveyed the area we were staying in using Google Earth and identified two easily identifiable landmarks, with an even distance between, measuring this using the Google Earth’s Ruler tool.

They were also interested to learn how their individual pace counts would correspond to their height and inside leg measurements and if this could be used to accurately predict somebody’s pace count. The answer is yes it can.

Next week we will be taking the Y12 (16/17) on the same trip and will repeat the work the Y9’s did – there are taller students in Y12 – and I will publish the combined table we create.

Training tips / Training and fitness equipment
« on: November 06, 2013, 01:18:30 PM »
On the Gadget show a couple of weeks back, they tested various training apps which use GPS. I currently use the Suunto X10 which was probably really good when I first got it a couple of years ago, but today’s app have many more useful functions.

A sports colleague told me this week about a real advance in these types of products called Kinexon One, which is being launched this month.

It gives online analysis and is a cloud-based solution for analysing and visualising training data on mobile devices. You carry a small, portable location sensor and the resulting data is fed into the cloud from a stationary base antenna, this enables users to track and analyse various performance parameters to centimetre level and all in real time. His club have ordered one and I will be going along to see just how good it is and how poor I am :(

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / Edge Touring and Edge Touring Plus
« on: September 03, 2013, 05:45:56 PM »
I read that Garmin have announced this week the launch of the Edge Touring and Edge Touring Plus satnav navigators for handlebars (the type found on touring, commuters and mountain bikes)and claim they work like their car satnavs, yet with bike-specific features, including waterproof, replaceable batteries and preloaded maps and points of interest for on-road and off-road navigation. No release date for the UK yet.

Reviews, Suggestions and Advice / The Best Tent
« on: August 17, 2013, 09:42:39 AM »
We have just spent a terrific month hiking and camping in Sweden and have some tips to share about a new friend we made called Hilly.

Hilly is actually a Hilleberg Anjan 2 tent which we bought in Gothenburg after British Airways managed to lose one of our rucksacks. Hilly is Tardis like in spaciousness and his waterproofness in very heavy downpours more than compensates his relative chubbiness (1.5kg). Once mastered, Hilly pitches easily, even in moderately strong winds with the camming adjusters on its guylines.

Our first lesson to share is read the instructions, or better still watch an on-line video, on how to pitch the tent instead of leaving it until 10pm when you back from the pub. Added to this we pitched under a tree which during the night was fine but the following day when we returned from hiking it was covered in sap.

Luckily, the store where we had purchased all of our new kit, Naturkompaniet, was still close at hand and we returned asking if they could help wash the tent and re-proof it. Now I know we had spent a lot with them, needing everything except boots, but we didn’t expect them to replace the tent for a new one. Everyone we encountered in Sweden goes out of their way to help you – Emma’s writing a trip report we will post later.

Bertil at Naturkompaniet stressed the importance of using all of the guylines when pitching the tent as they are designed to give it maxim strength and his advice was spot on when in some very high winds the stability of the tent was brilliant.

Our old/lost tent was a North face which we had always thought good, until meeting Hilly, but our biggest problem with the north face was condensation, even when all of its ventilation flaps were open, this is the best way to reduce condensation which all tents suffer from to a great or lessor extent. We learned to pitch Hilly facing downwind, not only did this mean that the wind passed over the tent like water over the hull of a ship, it also allowed a through-flow of air and through the vents and the condensation was never very high.

A feature we would have never sought on a tent before, yet when we were wild camping came in really useful were the reflective strips on the tent making it so easy to relocate at night in your head torch.

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / Money well spent?
« on: July 01, 2013, 07:29:10 AM »
An item of news last night quite shocked me. India are today due to launch their first satellite for their regional navigation satellite system, from their spaceport of Sriharikota, off the coast of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India.

The reason I was taken aback was that a few years ago we visited India and were astounded at the extreme poverty, which was everywhere, and we both felt that Britain’s financial aid to India was necessary. Now I wonder how much of this aid went on building their space program?

Forecasting / Storm chaser dies
« on: June 05, 2013, 08:33:21 AM »
Tim Samaras, one of the world's best-known storm chasers, died in Friday's El Reno, Oklahoma, tornado, along with his 24-year-old son, a gifted filmmaker, some of whose fantastic documentaries have been screen by The Discovery Channel :(

Some of their brillioant photography, never publically before seen, can be viewed at:

General Discussion / Aurora sightings in England
« on: May 20, 2013, 01:04:56 PM »
I have been covering geomagnetic storms with one of my year groups and thought forum members might be interested in the website which sends out in advance Aurora alerts by email. On St. Patrick’s Day this March we witnessed one of the largest geomagnetic storms created by solar winds emanating from coronal holes on the Sun. People at high altitudes, in light aircraft or above, saw spectacular aurorae from as far south as the Isle of Man.

Apps / Recognise that peak?
« on: May 06, 2013, 09:55:19 AM »
One of my colleagues t work showed me a new app that he has for his iPhone called Peak Scanner. The app interrogates a file which contains over a million image details of 250,000 mountain peaks across the world, probably stored on a cloud; this could be checked by turning the mobile data off on the phone. By pointing your iPhone’s camera at a specific peak which the app then tries to recognise. Evidently it does this by narrowing down the number of files it needs to interrogate by identifying your location using the phones in-built satnav.

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