June 14, 2012
The majority of today was spent on learning the equipment that we will be using while on Kauai. In small groups we rotated between three different “mini-crash courses”. The first section was learning how to use handheld GPS devices. I am very familiar with using GPS devices and generating points, so it was much of a review for me. However, I never used the device called Trimple. It is a GPS device similar to the small hand held Garmins, but the Trimble has many more options and is more complex. It is a combination between a GPS device and a PDA, it has a higher capacity to record and edit data. The interface is much easier to navigate with its touch screen. The other equipment we learned today was the XRF, which measures elemental composition of soils. We will use this tool while in Kauai on samples of soil. The final station was a “crash-course” in spectroscopy. It was led by a graduate student, Jake. The device measures the reflectance in the electromagnetic spectrum of different objects. This will be very useful in Kauai to build a spectral library of many different plant species and rocks, to compare with aerial imagery for a more accurate analysis of the land.
In the late afternoon we got to help fly “the blimp”. The blimp will be used to generate high resolution imager while on the island. It is about 3 meters across and filled with helium. Attached to the blimp are multipile cameras taking color and near IR data. It was a little hard to control the blimp with the winds, but after a little practice it was up in the air smoothly.
Overall today was a very hand on day with new equipment I look forward to learning and trying while in Kauai.
Tomorrow morning we are going to be split up into three groups, based on which project we want our focus on.
Still working on all the assignments that are due tomorrow evening. I am almost done, just need to finish writing a couple of reflections.