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California State University, Long Beach
CSULB Geospatial Research and Mapping (GRAM) Field Program
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Daily Blog for Shelby Eagleburger


Day 25, June 27

Posted on June 28, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today was our last day to prepare for our presentations in the morning! I cannot believe that we’ll all be leaving in less than forty eight hours. I’m going to be so sad to see everyone go. I may have not known these people that long but after living together for a month I have made some amazing friends. I hope we all still stay in touch. Luckily modern technology can be of use. Today was used for making my power point and writing my final paper. It’s extremely gratifying to see it all come together and all the work pay off in a physical way. I can now appreciate how much background work goes into all the pretty maps that I see all of the time. The reality of research is much different than the idealistic idea that we often have in our head. My paper seemed to come easier after I had finished the PowerPoint. It gave me a frame of reference to follow. It’s quite a relief to have things wrapping up nicely. I also managed to save Jeanette from a toad. I think that I’m one of the only ones that isn’t bothered by the frogs, spiders, cows, and other critters. Except for the centipedes. I can’t deal with those. We also watched the moon rise with Dr. Wechsler. Presentations tomorrow, wish me luck!

Day 24, June 26

Posted on June 28, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today was a long data analysis day. I can feel my eyes bugging out from staring at a computer screen for so long. I have been running different analysis, most of which I have never used before. It never ceases to amaze me just how many different tool are embedded in ArcGIS. I have finally started coming up with an actual product. I have been doing statistical analysis mostly. Calculating average slopes, elevations, orientations, and the like. It’s working out quite neatly. All of the walls are falling within a 100-200m elevation range and a 15-24 degree slope range. I’m very excited to be getting semi-conclusive results. I must admit that I was dubious as to whether or not I actually would. I have so many documents and files on my desktop that you literally cannot fit a single item more. I clearly need to work on my organization skills. Now Arc keeps crashing every time I try to run the aspect tool. I swear I have been looking at this computer for at least twelve hours straight. Bed time now.

Day 23, June 25

Posted on June 27, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Not much to report today. It was a barn day dedicated to getting everything sorted out. I spent most of the day trying to get all of the data in a useable format as well as correcting the points using the base station information. I have started trying out some new tools that I’ve never used before especially in ArcScene. It’s frustrating and slow going but totally worth it. I love seeing the result of a brand new process. One interesting note is that we ended up with a house pet. A young dog, presumably one of the ranches, has decided to stay here. He’s adorable and was readily adopted by everyone. We fed him and gave him a bath. Wish I had the energy or content to write more but not tonight.

Day 22, June 24

Posted on June 27, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

I spent today in the field collecting the last of my data. It was tiring but nice to stretch my legs. Embedded exercise is one good thing about field work. I completed what I hope was a fairly systematic transect of the study area. I took points at the start and end of each wall, three slope measurements for each, as well as height and width. I got rained on a few times; at this point these periodic showers don’t faze me at all. I only had minor technical difficulties which I was able to resolve relatively easily. I feel like I’m much more proficient with the equipment than when I started. That process took up most of my day but the data I gathered will be worth it. Data crunching and importing happened at home after I got back. Nothing too eventful.

Day 21, June 23

Posted on June 27, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today was completely amazing! It was our day off so we intended to make the most of it. There were three groups that went their separate ways doing different things. I ended up in a car with Emily, Briton, Scott, and Courtney. It nice to be in a group with Scott especially since he had great insight as to spots of interest and he made navigating much easier. We had considered going to Diamond Head for some hiking but ended up at a different trail by way of Scott’s suggestion, and boy am I glad that we did! It was certainly a work out but the payoff was a spectacular view of a lighthouse, the island, and the ocean. It rained periodically and the wind was absolutely violent. There were WWII bunkers at the top of the cliff that we were able to explore. After climbing up we climbed down a practically sheer cliff face on the other side in order to go into the tide pools. It was quite the precarious climb. There was a blow hole that would spit water in the air like a geyser when the huge waves hit. The tide pools themselves were beautiful and clear, with little colorful fish swimming about. However although it was lovely it was downright perilous with the slippery rocks and crashing waves. At one point a very large wave came, as I had been warned about, but I was caught completely unprepared none the less. There was a giant surge of water and I couldn’t tell up from down as we were tumbled about like we were in a washing machine. By the time I was oriented again I realized that I had been washed all the way to a different tide pool! It was crazy. Even more so since I just happened to have my camera recording a video during the whole thing. It caused a few minor cuts and bruises, but it was worth it. After leaving the pools and climbing up the cliff again there was a quick stop at the mall for food although I packed mine. Then we decided to head down to Waikiki to hit up the beach. We went to this extremely fancy beautiful hotel restaurant that was right on the beach. I have never seen such a fancy place. Courtney and I went to the beach and not five minutes after laying down our towels the tide rushed up and soaked everything. The waves were extremely strong and a strange opaque turquoise color. The beach was packed but I enjoyed it none the less. I mostly just spent the next few hours enjoying the sun and people watching. Later Audrey joined us and we walked to the international market. There was a married couple preforming on the steel drums which was very entertaining. After our long day I was quick to rinse off the sand and hit the hay.

Day 20, June 22

Posted on June 26, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today was a day for data processing. I finally feel like I’m starting to get a product. Although I have been gathering information it’s just now beginning to come together in a visual way. I work best with visual media and seeing something on the screen other than random points and attribute tables is gratifying. After working with the data and trying to get a good visualization method I was having trouble really relaying it well. I then decided to turn to ArcScene, which is a program I had almost forgotten existed. Using the 30m DEM and the World View II 8 band imagery I was able to make a 3D terrain model however the resolution was so poor that the model was clearly distorted and inaccurate. One pro when it comes to all the time we’ve spent in the field is that we are able to immediately identify when something is incorrect, at least when it comes to obvious problems. I decided to delve into the World Wide Web in search of some better data. I am very grateful for all of the academic and governmental bodies that allow free use of the geographic data. Not that this means the data you need or want will be available or accurate, but much of it is. I was lucky enough to find a 10m DEM and tried it with infinitely better results. It gave relatively nice looking representation. I then added in my points including the Z values for proper placement. After some more tinkering we all gathered for a progress report of sorts. We all spoke of our projects, where we were, what we needed to do, concerns, and the like. It was both very helpful and interesting to hear what was going on with everyone else’s projects. The professors made some helpful suggestions and steered us in useful directions. It was Coles birthday today as well. After dinner we had a great nighttime swim and sat around the bonfire that took so much effort especially on Thomas’s part to light. I got to hang out Scott more than I had before which was fun. I am so glad that I have such awesome peers. It was a nice way to unwind and to look forward to tomorrow’s day off.

Day 19, June 21

Posted on June 26, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today was a day full of taking points and pictures. Hundreds of pictures. I have started collecting photos that I hope to use in Photoscan to render a 3d model to aid the visualization of the sites. It’s just so hard to really get a good idea what’s there from 2d images or aerial photography. The vegetation is just so dense and the color palate is very monochromatic, green plants and grey stones. Jessica stayed back and worked at the barn doing data processing. I was able to cover a good portion of the south wall. The newer Trimble which I used today is quite nice. I think the interface is much more user friendly than the older ones and more ergonomic than the Yuma’s. They also have built in cameras which is a super cool feature even though I never used it personally. I didn’t particularly care for the Yuma’s due to their bulky size and awkward layout. It is quite a hike and very precarious so I was very grateful for the lift to the site by the grad students. They’re always so helpful. I was stopped by one of the tour guides asking if I had a permit but luckily she was very friendly and let me pass as soon as I told her I was with the universities. I still can’t get over how the tourists will take pictures or videos of us as they pass as if we’re part of the scenery. I made it a half day of sorts, coming back earlier than usual. The rest of the day was spent data processing. It was a late night.

Day 18, June 20

Posted on June 22, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

It’s rainy today. We headed out to the field and started to look at the south wall. We used the clinometer to measure the angle of the wall as well as taking end points with the GPS. Unfortunately we were having Trimble problems and couldn’t manage to get it working which limited our data collection. We stumbled across a couple additional features including a possible terrace. While writing some notes and taking pictures I managed to end up in a cow pie. Although it had to happen eventually given the sheer number but it was stinky none the less. Jessica and I waded through some ridiculously tall grass, far over our heads. On our way back to the base camp we got rained on thoroughly. I was glad to get home and continued to work on data analysis. Exhausted now, so it’s a short post today.

Day 17, June 19

Posted on June 21, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Today was a long day. I haven’t been this tired in a long time. After a fitful night’s sleep we headed into the field with some new gadgets. Jessica and I were using a laser range finder as well as a clinometer. These were used to measure distance and angle. We started by finding the first wall and were accompanied by Dr. Wechsler who wanted to get a feel for the field area. She was great company and had some awesome puns to throw out. We decided to try and get the length from end to end as well as some sloe measurements along the wall in various places. Jessica was such a good sport climbing all the way up and down and letting me shoot lasers at her to gauge distance. After the first, we then headed to a rock feature and took a ton of photos in order attempt a 3d model with Photoscan or Photosynth. Jessica ended up using both and made some great looking models. After visiting a couple other sites we headed back to the ranch. It was my, Courtney, Julianna, and Emily’s turn to cook dinner. Stir fry and rice was the plan. Unfortunately in our little kitchen we only have two burners and one wok. Cooking for 25 with one pan.. Well let’s say it took a while. About four hours to be exact. I was exhausted by the end and couldn’t wait to hot the hay.

Day 16, June 18

Posted on June 19, 2013 by Shelby Eagleburger

Research and discussion were the main events of the day. It was tiring in the way that long meetings are, but we got quite a bit accomplished that was necessary. The professors met us in the morning at the barn to finally start talking about our personal projects. Some of the ideas worked others needed tweaking. It’s a very difficult challenge to come up with a question that is both interesting and doable with the time and resources that we have. I was able to stick with the question that I presented about the context and form of the walls lining the southern slope. It was interesting to see the plethora of different perspectives and idea that were formed. It is helpful to have people of many different backgrounds within the group. Scott is working on some underwater bathymetry and archaeology and Jeanette is mapping the cliff faces looking for caves, both of which are projects I considered. I’m glad that someone is doing them and am excited to see what comes of it. I have a feeling I’ll take a few moments to look over their shoulder as they work on their cool projects. I also hope to see the GPR in action even if I’m not personally using it.
Dr. Wechsler gave me a tool to measure angle as well as a range finder to use, both of will be very useful. Jessica and I will still be able to work together even though we have our separate projects, they complement each other well. I am very glad to have her to bounce ideas off of. Feedback is critical in being successful in my opinion. The discussion process took a considerable portion of the morning. After lunch we reconvened in order to do some more talking, this time about more technical and clerical matters. We spoke about the different file naming conventions, picture storage methods, geodatabase management, and metadata standards. It’s not exactly the most titillating topic but it is something that had to be discussed. Data management is extremely important in order to keep things running as smoothly as possible. I’m so grateful that we have Greg and Kerry around. They do so much work for the group and I know that everyone really appreciates it. They always take on extra side jobs to add to the common resources.
The rest of the evening was spent researching and deciding on a methodology to follow. I will probably have to create a new data dictionary for my own personal project separate from the common archaeology project one I have been using up to this point. Finding and reading some supplementary literature and collecting some relevant shapefiles to add to my geodatabase was also a big part. After dinner and a small fridge fiasco I decided to take a walk as usual. I certainly needed to stretch my legs after being indoors all day. I am now finishing up my research design proposal write up and am hoping to make it an early night.

About Shelby Eagleburger

My name is Shelby Eagleburger. I'm a senior Grography (GIS) and Anthropoogy student at the University of Missouri- Columbia.