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

Day 15:

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Scott Honda

Plenty of action today.

Both Williams Aerospace and “Chuck n Iam” crews were flying their UAVs today, so there was a lot of excitement going on at the base camp. Even though there was only one drone in the air at a time, gathering and ensuring all the data was gathered and in the correct place or drive was quite a task. It was still fun to see the drones fly in both auto pilot and manual. Art also flew his little plane and he spun, flipped, and banked it with amazing agility. It’s not much use for what we’re concerned with, but it was still cool. But Iam’s and Chuck’s X8 took the air twice and they gathered a lot of imagery with the RICOH cameras, in both NIR and Visible Light. I think they covered around half of the valley or close to it. Processing will soon commence!

As for my research topic(s) Uluhe ferns is an interesting topic. I’d be interested in to seeing if native species have a higher presence where Uluhe is present, if they are present at all. I could also delve into the controlling factors of where Uluhe grows, as other students and myself have noticed that Uluhe are more prominent toward the back of the valley. However, Dr. Lipo suggested an idea that was also interesting. The research topic was something along the lines of “Does bathymetry determine ancient Hawaiian fishing practices?” It’ll be cool to see if there is any actual artifacts near the shore. One reservation is that I’m not sure if I’d be able to even recognize an artifact that’s been weathered by the currents, but it’s definitely worth looking into.

Anyway, tomorrow the X100 is supposed to fly. I’m curious as to how much of the valley the X100 will cover after one pass.


Day 14:

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Scott Honda

The presentations of the common products were today. It was good to see what everyone was able to produce this week. One thing I think I noticed is that the Archaeology, Bare Ground, and Hydrology group all had mapped features in the same area. All with three lines on the south side of the valley. I’d like to overlay the shape files to see if they line up.

After the presentations we had pizza for dinner, then the professors gave a summery of what they saw and talked about some ideas that we could base our projects off of. One of the ideas, the controlling factors of where invasive species grow, seemed the most interesting to me. I could delve into the effects of topology and elevation on invasive species because I feel that it would have the most effect on where plants can grow. I’ve been interested in a few general topics, but tomorrow we’ll also have time tomorrow to talk about our ideas for research projects.

Tomorrow more UAVs will be taking off, so I’m excited to see what kinda imagery we’ll get. Hopefully we can get full coverage over the entire valley. It would be cool to have a full mosaic at a high spatial resolution. Plus it’s always fun to see the drones fly!

I’m looking forward to the next two weeks as it’ll be more directed research and I’ll have a better sense of what I’m looking for and why. That is if I can figure out my research question or at very least a preliminary research question.

Day 13:

Posted on June 16, 2013 by Scott Honda

Today we finished our presentations for tomorrow, which will be on our common products that we are to produce. We are able to produce mosaics of the areas where the X8 covered, but it was short of the valley. Hopefully when the X100 takes flight we’ll be able to produce a complete mosaic. It’ll be fairly easy too now that we have a pretty good feel for the software we will use. We can use PhotoScan to produce Orthophotos and DEMS, GPicSync to geotag imagery, and flight planner to produce flight logs. Having all of those softwares at our disposal will be great to dealing with all the imagery we’ll hopefully get.

Anyway after working on our presentations everyone went to Hale’iwa. We ate at Cholo’s, walked around the town, and went for a swim. It was a pretty good day, it’s fun to play tourist. By the time we got back it was about 9 pm. James’ 21st birthday was also today so we all sang Happy birthday before he blew out his candles. Tomorrow we’ll fine tune our presentations and be able to talk to the entire group about project ideas. I’m looking forward to it because it will give me the chance to bounce ideas off people, and who knows maybe I can come up with a good research question.


Day 12:

Posted on June 15, 2013 by Scott Honda

Today I got to see a surveying tool called ground based LiDAR. It shoots microwaves and calculates the return signals to create a 3D image and it does a complete 360 from where it is positioned. So for the first two setups that we were there for we hid behind trees and rock walls so we didn’t get into the line of sight of the machine. For the third setup we got to stand by the machine and watch it take measurements and it was quite a exercise. There we about 8 of us running around trying our best to not get into the sight of the business end of the machine. That meant we had to run around the machine as it rotated. Out of context it would be a pretty silly sight to see us doing this “ritual”. I’m excited to see what the data will produce!

Then for the rest of the day we pretty much processed data and I got to talk to Paul (one of the TA’s) about the limitations of PhotoScan. It’ll help down the line as I go forth with my project ideas. It might be cool to collect images of the cliff faces to map the areas where there were burial caves and use photoscan to recreate the areas. However, I don’t know what the significance of it would be in an archaeology sense. I’ll ask Dr. Lipo or Dr. Hunt about it to get a better sense of what kind of question I could form.

On Saturday our UAV common product is due but we do not have much at the moment as few UAVs have gotten off the ground so there is not much imagery to work with. So at the moment we’re using the imagery we do have and trying to get PhotoScan to produce something usable.

Day 11: Murphy’s Law

Posted on June 13, 2013 by Scott Honda

At the very beginning of the day we took more GCPs, but then hurried back to watch and collect data from the UAVs from William’s Aerospace. All the UAVs from William’s Aerospace looked sleek and state of the art. One UAV, the smallest of the bunch, took off with little problems and it was quite a sight to see. It banked and turned with a surprising amount of agility. In its landing it lost a propeller though, but a propeller is only 3 or so dollars.

The next UAV, which looked like a bigger version of the first smaller UAV, took a bit of time to set up and calibrate. I’m not sure of all the things that the guys from William’s Aerospace was shouting out, but there was alot of it. However the launch did not go as planned and the UAV ended up crashing into the ground.

The third UAV (yes there were three of them!) was calibrated and ready to go until a tour group came in. So, we had to wait til the group left and in that time the Williams people and the professors checked the camera and realized there was something wrong with the sensor battery. By that time it was getting late and we had to pack up. However there are more flights scheduled tomorrow and next week so I’m definitely looking forward to it and seeing the imagery that is produced.

One good thing from today is that I got to chat with Dr. Lee again about my project. It was good just to be able to talk some ideas through and see were I stand. I still have to clearly define my project idea and refine it.

Goodnight world!

Day 10:

Posted on June 13, 2013 by Scott Honda

Today was more of yesterday, collecting imagery with the quad-copter as the topoteam collected ground control points to georeference a mosaic of the valley. It was a bit more challenging to fly today because we flew near the beach where the offshore winds were gusting in. But between me and Greg I think our flight skills are getting good as we can land in some pretty tight spots. On one of our routes we crossed into a cattle pasture where Courtney and Greg was chased by mooing cows. One cow is not scary, but a heard of them is. Afterwards we watched Chuck and I am fly their X8. They lost control of the X8 at one point and everyone was a bit panicked as no one knew what to do. It turns out that the auto pilot took control when it shouldn’t have.

Now that the UAVs are taking flight we’re (the UAV group) are beginning to organize and process the imagery. These next two days we’ll be overrunned by imagery so we’ll have to be on top of things. However, I’m not too worried as we’ve set out a pretty good organization method and we’ll use PhotoScan to process the data. Tomorrow there is supposed to be even more UAVs flying, which is always exciting.

As for my project I need to narrow the area of my research to Ka’a’awa valley as Dr. Lee pointed out. He suggested that assessing the impact of land mangement on vegetation species is a good place to start, but I need to refine my question. Maybe I could widen my topic by bringing in other aspects like land management’s affect on hydrology and geology. I could otherwise deepen my topic, but not am not sure how.

Anyway good night world!

Day 9: Quad-Copter Galore

Posted on June 11, 2013 by Scott Honda

We were supposed to see the x-100 fly today, unfortunately things did not work out. Instead we collected more imagery of ground control points that were collected. I must say we’re getting pretty good at flying the quad-copter.

At the end of the day we reviewed where we collected control points and there are some spots in the valley where the GCPs are sparse. So, tomorrow we know where we need to go. Hopefully we get to see some fixed wing drones fly tomorrow too!

One good thing we got to do was explore the area as we were collecting GCPs. One neat spot there was a pond with an island on the middle.

In another spot there was a tunnel that was used to collect water from within the mountain. The tunnel must have been at least 100 yards into the mountain. It was scary and I’m pretty sure I saw a ghost in there.

Then I got to see areas where they filmed LOST, Jurassic Park, and Stargate Atlantis. All very cool.

I’m still thinking about what my project will be on. I’m leaning toward a project involving the Gap Analysis Program. I saw that Ka’a’awa Valley was not classified at all for GAP. I could possibly assess the condition of Ka’a’awa Valley (if there is a gap in protecting native species) and compare it to other neighboring areas or areas with a Status 1 or 2 in the Gap Analysis Program. Maybe this could give some insight into the effects of land management on native vegetation. I ought to delve more into this topic. I’d also like to use PhotoScan. Maybe I could relate the two somehow.

Day 8: First day of field work

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Scott Honda

We began collecting data today in our first day of field work. Most groups took ground control points of their individual focus, but for Greg and I we flew the quad-copters! Our objective for the day was to collect imagery of the topographic team, who were taking Ground Control Points for us to geo-rectify or ortho-correct images from the X wing. We managed to collect imagery over 7 points in about 2 hours which is not bad considering we made it all the way back into the valley. It was an exciting experience to walk the entire valley, I don’t think many get that kind of access. It really is a beautiful valley. Tomorrow I believe we are going to used the X-100, which will produce higher resolution images over a wider range. I am definitely looking forward to it.

The groups used trimble GPS units to collect their GCPs. I’ve alwalys heard of Trimbles, but have never seen one and I was little shocked at how big it was. I guess the bigger the better.

On a side note, I was able to get my hands on some local food that I’ve been craving, spam musubi’s and Poke! It was soooo gooood, but I ate too much.

I’d like to learn a little more about Geology and Botany because after today I realized I don’t know much about either.

Day 7:

Posted on June 9, 2013 by Scott Honda

Did a tour of the Ka’a’awa valley (a.k.a. Kualoa Ranch) to get a better idea of what sorts of data we will be collecting.

We started the day with a lecture from Dr. Terry Hunt from the University of Hawaii. His lecture explained the basic overview of Polynesian archaeology and it’s relation to Hawaiian archaeology. It was really interesting to hear about how people throughout history have navigated across oceans and found these small islands with relatively little technology. I also really enjoyed hearing about how the different languages developed across the different locations relevant to their spatial distributions. We followed this excellent lecture with a quick yet delicious lunch and then headed out to the Kualoa Ranch.

On our tour of Kualoa Ranch we saw the many features. It was funny that most of the excitement came when crossing movie sets. I was most excited to see  the sets from LOST as it is one of my all time favorite TV shows, but that’s not why we’re here. The tour guide, David, is the owner or part owner of Kualoa Ranch and he showed us A LOT. I’m pretty sure it was not the usual tour. After, we sat down and strategized how our groups will go about collecting the data and processing it. Greg and I, the UAV group, was able to set our plan up pretty easily. 

Anyway, I have to set up the tent so I’m not up all night being attacked by mosquitoes. Goodnight!

Day 6: Home Sweet Home

Posted on June 9, 2013 by Scott Honda

After a week of trying to answer all the questions everyone had (as best I could) about Hawai’i, we’ve finally arrived. Everyone seems blown away! I guess I take the sights and sounds, the ocean and mountains, the culture and the people for granted sometimes. But don’t get me wrong, I would never want to live somewhere else.

We’re staying at a working barn. It is much cooler and cozier than it sounds. I think I could definitely live here for three weeks… or more. There are cows, horses, goats, ducks, roosters and who-knows-what-else-I-have-not-seen. It’s a legit farm. I’m Very happy with the accommodations and the owner of the property made all of us dinner! It was sooo good to have some homemade food.

On the flight over I was able to do some of the supplemental readings. I read about GAP, the Gap Analysis Program. Its aim is to “keep common species common” by assessing the land cover of areas, a species location, and the stewardship of the area. Sounds like a interesting program, but I am curious if it protects a species genetic diversity because it assumes that a species does not have a gap in protection if 10% of it’s population is properly protected. This could might be the basis of a possible project but I’m not sure if a Gap analysis of one valley would be practical.

Anyway, its good to be back in Hawai’i. I missed the smell of the fresh salt water air the most.

About Scott Honda

Geography major at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with a minor in Information and Computer Sciences. Interests is GIS theory, GIS development, and Remote Sensing applications. Is also the president of Geography Club at UH Manoa.