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CSULB Geospatial Research and Mapping (GRAM) Field Program
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Daily Blog for 012557556


Day3/Week3

Posted on June 20, 2013 by 012557556

Scott, Gordon and I set out on a quest to conquer the ocean.And by conquer I mean find some freshwater seeps. I slept in a bit and slowly gathered my belongings after most people had already left to go out to the field. I worked with some of the TAs and made sure that out conductivity probes and GPS devices were synced up and ready to go. Little did we know that they weren’t perfectly synced and that it would take five hours to get our data to the working point that we wanted.

 

After loading up the gear including two kayaks in the back of a single minivan, I hopped in the side and held on to make sure that nothing fell out. Playing music and feeling the morning Hawaiian breeze was a good start to the day. I sat with the gear for a bit while one of the TAs ran back to get some more gear situated. Finally at noon we set out on the water. I had never been ocean kayaking before, and for the most part it was a lot of fun except for the fact that we had to be pretty conscious about the large amounts of electrical gear on board. The plan was to make several passes along the mouth of the valley and match up the GPS time stamps with the conductivity probe time stamps.

 

6 miles. Four flips. Lots of reef. Not enough sunscreen. Sore back. Fun.

 

We were able to vary our distances from shore so that we could get a large range of data. The fact that we had two kayaks with monitoring setups also helped so that we could compare data. Later on we made some graphs out of our data. While there were some oddities and incongruities, we found a couple locations of interest. Next step, match up the GPS data with the conductivity data to get a better spatial understanding of the results. Out on to the water again!

 

 

Day2/Week3

Posted on June 19, 2013 by 012557556

We had another group meeting today! Our transition period is coming to a close and our project ideas are starting to get rolling. Although we didn’t go out to the field, we were able to make sure that every student has an individual project. I finally figured out what I am going to be doing. It’s pretty exciting. After talking to Dr. Becker, I found out that investigating the seeps is going to be too large for a single individual. Therefore, Gordon and I are going to take on different questions once we get the first bulk phase of data collected, mapping the freshwater oceanic seeps.

 

So, tomorrow morning will be the first day out on the kayaks. Let’s hope that they won’t be too uncomfortable without seats. We are going to set up the conductivity probes and make a few sweeps along the shore to see if we get any obvious salinity changes. If things are working out, we will probably test a few other variables and try to pinpoint the seeps. If we are lucky, we will also be able to locate vents and start characterizing them as well. The whole time, we will have synced GPS units with us so that we can accurately locate our conductivity data.

 

If all goes well, we will then focus on different areas. I will likely investigate the offshore environment while Gordon looks into the near-shore and shoreline environments. I want to take a closer look at how the seeps are affecting both the coral community locations/health as well as bathymetry differences.

 

I just finished my proposal. I am going to tinker with some Arduino boards. That’s all.

Too many scribbled notes.

Day1/Week3

Posted on June 17, 2013 by 012557556

Some more professors arrived today making things both complicated but also relaxed, like a transition day should be. When I got to out to the field, I set out with Cole to get a few vantage points. Since I still didn’t have a solid question, I wanted to get an overview and he needed to get some panoramas taken. We then split up and I walked along the coast contemplating project ideas. I hadn’t actually been down to the shore yet (near the Ka’a'awa valley), but I noted that it seemed similar to the beach back by our ranch. Deciding that it would be good to get back and watch the UAV flights, I took a road I’d never been on and looped back around to the staging area.

 

I was starting to get nervous since I hand’t developed a question yet. It’s funny how during class analysis research projects, I can come up with far too many questions. But now that I am in an actual field, I’ve found it pretty difficult to pick variables to check against each other. While the various UAV groups spent hours staging and preparing for lights, I took notes and talked to some professors about several ideas. I want more experience with the software programs that I haven’t used before (eCognition, ERDAS, PhotoScan), but most of these tools won’t be utilized of offshore projects. So I have shifted away from the idea of exploring seeps. Although it may need to be refined, I was thinking about looking at the unusual hydrological regions in the valley, such as where stops flowing and then reappears.

 

Tomorrow morning should be pretty useful. We are going to have a much needed open discussion to throw ideas around. Hopefully then I will get a chance to talk to Dr. Becker in more detail about some of my questions and explore the tools like the arduino boards he has been talking about.

 

Nice job cooking tonight team 1. The grilled vegetables were quite delicious.

 

Cheers

Day7/Week2

Posted on June 16, 2013 by 012557556

Presentations!

Most of us work up early to add the finishing touches on our common product presentations. While our group had our powerpoint finished a few days ago, I needed to make sure that all of the movie and Google Earth files worked correctly. While I try not to use filler words, I was frequently told that I say essentially quite a bit. Oops, guess I will work on that. However, our presentation went pretty well! I have learned more about geology than I thought I would have… which is good I guess since I joined geology just for that reason. I wanted to better understand natural subsurface activities.

 

Everyone else’s presentations went pretty well too. It was cool to see all of the common pieces come together with a large amount of contextual overlap. I am not sure that I will be using all of the common data, but once I have a working question, I am pretty sure that I will use at least a few layers. After three hours of presentations, we relaxed and grabbed some pizza, and then started to talk about the next phase of research… individual projects. Although I still don’t have a question, I am excited to take a look at all of the available tools & sensors. I’d also like to talk to the professors who have just arrived to see what they can suggest.

 

I’m going to clean up our geology & roads layers and start thinking more about a question. I usually have so many questions, so I’m puzzled why don’t have any large ones for this trip so far.

 

Well anyway, here is an image of an overlay involving the geology layer!

 

Day6/Week2

Posted on June 16, 2013 by 012557556

We took a break from fieldwork to work on our presentations and have some time off. Jeanette and I wrapped up the last few details on our Powerpoint by changing the theme, adding more data to our image slides, and rehearsing for the live presentation. I think that we will have enough solid material to talk about.

 

Around 1 all of the undergrads and TAs rode up to the north shore. While there were a lot of tourists, it was pretty relaxing. We walked around and saw a bunch of shops, restaurants and food trucks. After hopping back and forth between the beach and a restaurant/bar (celebrating James’ birthday), I got a chance to borrow some snorkel gear and poke around the reef. Peter and I took our cameras and explored underwater. In a few spots we discovered complex coral channels covered with urchans and other life. With beautiful golden hour sunlight, a full rainbow, cloud-covered mountains in the distance and warm ocean water, I decided that I never wanted to leave. All I need to do is get a bit better at not sucking up saltwater.

 

Our presentations are tomorrow. I’ve presented in front of groups plenty of times so I’m not worried. I do however need to start narrowing down to a single working question or two.

 

My toes hurt. Got stepped on by a horse, and a small one at that.

 

Gnight

Day 5/Week2

Posted on June 15, 2013 by 012557556

We had a half day today. I quickly ran out and got some photos on my phone (that were geotagged) of contact points and points of interest for Geology. After that, I hopped in a van and went to take a look at an extremely expensive professional grade ground LiDAR machine. Although I was told that the owner was hesitant to have so many people around it, I was happy that we had the chance to see how it worked. We should be getting the data soon.

 

Since we got a half day, Jeanette and I were able to do a bit more work for our presentation. We created some new shapefiles as deliverable for other groups to use (since all the other groups have large amounts of data and we mostly just confirmed already recorded geological structure). I look forward to waking up late tomorrow. I am going to do a lot of thinking about an individual project. Since I have shifted from archaeology to ocean hydrology, I have been talking with Greg to figure out some project that we could either split into two or perform different analysis on the same topic.

 

Before I get too deep into a project, I want to make sure that either Erdas or Ecognition are utilized in my analysis. I want to learn more about those pieces of software than ArcGis at this point.

 

Happy birthday James, Emily is the best TA ever.

-Thomas A Hervey

Day4/Week2

Posted on June 14, 2013 by 012557556

Today was another day of jumping around between groups. I spent most of the day working with the archeology group climbing through jungle. Three of us took a ride south and out of the valley past the AA turret installations and down the road a bit. Professor Lipo pointed out some densely vegetated slopes where they had noticed some rock walls on a previous visit to the area. After climbing up the slope a bit, we noticed two very defined walls on either side of us. I got experience working with the Timble again as I climbed over the walls trying not to roll my ankles. Rolling rocks were a risk, but were much easier than climbing over tall reeds and grasses. After we cataloged the two walls, which ran all the way from the above cliff face and the road, we walked a ways down the road and started back up the slope. In total, we encountered three more defined walls and what looked like a ritual area. Although I have been drifting away from an archeological topic, I was super intrigued by the structures, and I was amazed at how easy they were to spot.

I got a lot of scrapes from the climbing adventure I did the other day. I reopened some cuts so let’s hope I don’t get an infection.

Afterwards, we watched a series of UAV flights by different groups that came to hang out with us. Some of the devices were very incredible including a few that have been made for military contract purposes. However… there were a few crashes. We learned a lot about crashes for sure.

I am wrapping up the data and Powerpoint for our geology presentation on Sunday. While we don’t have bulk data like a lot of other groups, we are finishing the .mxd file that accurately shows the main geologic contact In the valley. It’s raining, there is a lot of pool playing, I’m going to try and wrap up this work quickly.

Gnight again

Day3/Week2

Posted on June 12, 2013 by 012557556

I wrapped up our geology search today at around lunchtime. I went out with our TA Michelle to confirm the contact locations we had found yesterday. She was very helpful and we were able to confirm that the contact line on the geological map is pretty accurate. After walking the northern contact line, we wrapped around and tried to predict where the finger of the old alluvium was. We took a break to watch some homemade UAV planes fly around, and then preceded east towards the shore. The first thing that we noticed was how there was old alluvium exposed along the ridge right behind our basecamp. Due to dense vegetation and private property, the rest of our investigation was cut short for access limitation reasons. We were however pretty confident that the southern side of the contact follows right between the marsh area and the slope.

Afterwards, I joined up with the UAV and topology groups. I had a lot of fun trying something new. Some of the members left, we ate, and then hiked up to the deep northern slope of the valley. I got experience gathering data on the Trimble GPS as well as flying the quadcopter. It started to get windy and we started having a bit of an issue using the wolrdview2 imagery to locate where our next point needed to me… and where we were. We got a little mixed up but found a pretty cool observation tower. It was amazing to climb to the top and watch the rain and the clouds come in and swirl around in the valley. Knowing that we needed to start there tomorrow, we hiked back to basecamp, packed up and shuttled home.

Now to get the Internet fixed, review the potential questions in the professors’ slides, create an .mxd overlay file for general use, and watch Jurassic park. Seems like a pretty good night.

Day2/Week2

Posted on June 11, 2013 by 012557556

We started the day where we left off yesterday, looking for more evidence of a contact. We went back to the best location and decided to walk upstream from there. With the help of Scott, we started categorizing our data better by including more physical attributes than before. We walked up by the Lost sign, stripped away the surface material and took samples. The red material was moist, dense and full of clay. This was sediment from the old aluvial material. We had known this from yesterday, but we hadn’t described it yet.

 

Our general survey direction followed the contact line on our reference geological map. We quickly found out that it wasn’t that accurate. I’m not too surprised since the map covers the geology of the entire island without too much detail. After several hours of taking samples along stripped walls, we got a pretty good idea where the northern contact line between the old and young sediment is. Tomorrow we will likely try to find the finger of old sediment that sticks out into the young sediment close to the water/ staging area. The last hour or so of my day went slightly in a different direction. I picked a steep slope that I wanted to climb and was determined to make it to the top and back before everyone left. It was a bad choice. Although it was an adventure, I’ve never been covered in more seed pods, crawled through denser brush, or crushed a snail shell in my back pocket. I thought that it would have been a good artifact until half way back down I realized that there was something alive in it.

 

Time to go clean all of my clothes and attend to my wounds, maybe tomorrow will be a bit more tame.

 

-Thomas Hervey

Day1/Week2

Posted on June 10, 2013 by 012557556

We started working today. We started gathering data and really getting involved with our environment. I am part of the Geology group, and along with Jeanette and Scott, I made a lot more observations than I thought that I would. We began by heading up towards an old water tower (the image below) to get a better view of the valley. Once there, we checked some topo maps, hopped some fences and headed up to the nearest cliff face behind us. We took a handful of points for archaeological, geological and hydrological reasons.

 

We though that we may have found a series of agricultural terraces since we found rock piles in a linear fashion on the down slope. We noticed a change in fluvial processes and rock sediment composition. After taking a few points, we came down from the base of the cliffs and began looking for both a survey mark and dramatic bends along a geological contact, which we had observed on a geological map. After meandering around near the main creek stream bed, we looked into where water starts to go underground. Although we ran out of time and were distracted by filming for a Roxy advertisement, we have a great place to start tomorrow. We are going to try and find better evidence of a true contact (by digging/sampling around stream and hill slopes) and follow it to see if it is similar to the geology map.

 

Today was fun, and now we have a much better idea what we are going to need in our data dictionary.

The water was also nice. Laying out into the ocean trying to catch an ultimate frisbee’s pretty fun.

kthxbi

-Thomas

 

About 012557556

Rising Senior majoring in Information Systems and Geography with certificates in GIS and Web Development from UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County) in Maryland.