Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nettles, biting flies, and beams oh my!

After a long 12 hour day collecting data in the stream, I can definitely say I was pretty worn out but being able to get all of the data in one day was essential. When we began planning in the beginning of the term, I never expected that we would have so many different methods to try. We used the GPS feature of the camera to get longitude and latitude coordinates of the waters edge on the banks. We used a tripod "twinning" cameras method to take pictures that could be used to create 3D images of the stream. As with the first practice "field day" the square method was also utilized but with slight modifications this time. In addition to using the square to obtain horizontal and vertical lines, we also placed the square in three different locations and tried to include as many control points in pictures as possible as a means of testing the accuracy of the perspective correction. David and Kyle were busy taking hundreds of pictures to be used in the Photosynth software.
The non-photo methods were a lot more frustrating then I had hoped but they turned out a lot better than I expected once we got a system down and started. Maybe we didn't think them through as well as the others or expected the control points to be on the edge, but either way, we found a solution quickly.
There's just some things that a classroom can't prepare you for and I learned a lot during our field day. Spending the day outside was great, the weather was a little humid but we had lots of shade and thankfully lots of water :) The most important thing it taught me was that you will always learn something new and you may never be able to be fully prepared for research no matter how much thought you put into it. For example, in the classroom, I never thought about the interference of branches at the surface of the water that would hinder data capture or control point placement. Some of the control points couldn't be placed on the water's edge and we needed to brainstorm other ideas on the spot, so being slightly flexible is key. I learned that you can NEVER take too many notes. With all the confusion of trying to sort out the data I wish we would have written some more notes so we could better analyze the data. Learning to/determining a common way of using the ruler definitely wouldn't have hurt either, and once again, that's one thing I never expected would cause us any trouble.
Overall, we got a lot of data (suffering some minor aches and pains as the title suggests) and we'll be very busy these last two weeks sorting it all out and hopefully getting some conclusive results to show for all of our hard work!

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