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Skians conference 2015

Sep 26, 2015

I went to the conference 'Skians' of the Cornish Language Research Network in the last couple of days. They will have a website dreckly, but in the meantime here is their facebook page.

The conference had a number of presentations on a range of topics about the language, ranging from grammatical topics, the various manuscript sources of Cornish, to translating Cornish poetry into Italian.

One particular topic that I thought I could shed some light on with my work on maps was Ken Mackinnon's "Henderson’s Black-more revisited: disinterring a lost landscape" which discussed the Cornish language in the china clay (kaolin) mining area of mid-Cornwall, in which the landscape itself has been altered and some of the older history obscured by the activities of the industry.

For instance, a stone called "Men Vagar" originally stood at Longstone Downs but was moved to Roche when the original site was covered by a china clay spoil heap.

Ken's presentation also said that the Cornish language had been spoken in the area until the late 17th century, which was later than I had thought.

I have reproduced an extract from my own topographic maps, with names in Cornish from MAGA, and topography from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, and with the slope lines method that makes use of the segmentation method developed for my MSc thesis on Martian glaciology! 
I also add the mines that I detailed from various sources on my website.

The elevation I show with colour shading.
Land at sea level is white, which becomes more green up to 250m. I also overlay yellow at higher elevations from 100m up to 350m. 
I also have a number of hills marked from the database from
I overlay various vector data including roads from OpenStreetMap and foreshore, and inland water from OS Opendata layers.

In this version, I show slope with the red channel, overlaid with slopes of 15 degrees or over solid red. large version

This version shows slope direction using the segmented digital elevation model (based on the method used in my Martian glaciology thesis). I visualise it in the way I did in some earlier blog posts, where the steeper the slope, the thicker the lines. Concave slopes are blue, convex are red, and they are black if they are planar. larger version
Same as above, but with a different elevation colour-coding which perhaps makes it easier to see what the actual elevation is, but maybe harder to distinguish the slope lines. larger version

Edit - OpenStreetMap landuse:'quarry' 

In the landuse layer of OpenStreetMap, the 'quarry' type captures most (but not quite all) of the artificial land surfaces due to kaolin quarrying.  larger version


The Meriga Project - British Isles

Sep 22, 2015

Since I have the 1 arcsec SRTM data ready to go for the British Isles, I thought I'd make a more detailed map for the Meriga Project shared-world speculative fiction anthology for the British Isles. See my last post for an explanation.

OS grid ref projection. 1:3million if printed at A3. full-size version

OS grid ref projection. 1:1.5million if printed at A3. full-size version

Some more detailed maps

I have rendered some more detailed maps at a scale of 1:500000 at A3, of certain areas, which should now cover most of England and Wales, though I have not yet done Scotland and Ireland.

OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. The England-Scotland border now has a substantial inlet along the Tweed. The Tyne also reaches far inland. full-size version

OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. Substantial flooding in the Vale of York results in the North York Moors now being an island, with other islands forming the remnants of Lincolnshire. full-size version
OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. The overland routes linking the expanded seas are now rather shortened. full-size version
OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. Nottingham, Derby and Loughborough are now seaside towns. full-size version

OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. The Anglian Isles are inhabited by people making the most of the declining land area. full-size version
OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. Perhaps central London was drowned catastrophically after the Thames Barrier (or its successor) failed. The technological limitations of this age make underwater salvage risky, but rewarding... full-size version
OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. full-size version

OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. Devon and Cornwall now have a much thinner connection to the 'mainland' after the Somerset Levels and the Exe valley sank under the rising seas. Cornwall has a maze of drowned river valleys and is inhabited by two distinct cultural groups, firstly semi-nomadic people travelling in small boats and secondly the upland agricultural settlements. West Penwith is now an island separated by a strait since sea levels were 30m above the pre-industrial level.  full-size version
OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. Wales is now more deeply incised by river estuaries, with much of Anglesey underwater.  full-size version

OS grid ref projection. 1:500000 if printed at A3. Similarly to the Cornish coast, some parts of Wales have a maze of islands and small river valleys inhabited by the nomadic boat people.  full-size version

The Meriga Project - summary maps

Sep 21, 2015

The blogger and author John Michael Greer wrote the book Star's Reach set centuries after the decline of industrial civilisation in the wake of resource depletion and climate change.
He is now looking for stories for a shared-world anthology set in the same world as Star's Reach, the Meriga Project. In the 25th century, the Greenland ice cap and most of Antarctic ice have melted leaving sea level 50m higher than at present. It is possible to view the effect of this at websites like

I thought it worthwhile however to make my own maps of this world in QGIS. I have used the CleanTopo2 digital elevation model. For reference I mark present day coastlines and borders from the Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Geography Database (NOAA) and the locations of major urban areas >750k inhabitants, from Nordpil (based on data from the UN Population Division).

I have used an Equidistant Conic Projection for the continental scale ones, and Albers Equal Area Projection for the more close-up ones. Most of the maps have a scale of 1:30 million if printed at A4. I link to full-size JPGs of the maps at my own website.

I have not included Antarctica so far, I may do so later if I get hold of a decent bedrock DEM and make some reasonable assumptions about remnant ice sheets at this point.

The northern part of N America, comprising present-day USA, Canada and Greenland. full-size version
The former USA and Central America. full-size version
South America. full-size version
North Africa. The Jordan valley and Dead Sea basin is not in fact flooded, since 50m sea level rise is not enough to make the connection from the Mediterranean. full-size version
Southern Africa. full-size version
Northern Asia. full-size version

SE Asia. full-size version

SW Asia. full-size version

Australasia. Note the sea does not actually flood the Lake Eyre basin in Australia (link). full-size version

Europe. The Jordan valley and Dead Sea basin is not in fact flooded, since 50m sea level rise is not enough to make the connection from the Mediterranean. full-size version
A closer view of eastern Canada and NE USA. This has a different projection which if I remember rightly was Albers Equal Area Conic. full-size version

SW USA. full-size version
SE USA. full-size version
N Europe. full-size version

S Europe. full-size version

Ebrenn y'n nos - mis-Gwynngala 2015

Sep 17, 2015

Apologies I haven't got round to recording this month's Ebrenn y'n Nos - various things have got in the way and I haven't had the chance to do a high-quality audio recording. Here is the text of it.

Dydh da. Ottomma rann nowydh kevres “Ebrenn y'n nos” mis-Gwynngala.
Yma an dydhyow orth aga berrhe ha'n nosow dhe hirhe dres an mis ma. Dhe'n 23a mis-Gwynngala, an kehysnos yw, pan vydh hirder an nos kehaval orth hirder an jydh.
Yma an trihorn hav hwath y'n ebrenn wosa hi dhe dewlhe, y hwra gortos ena bys dhe vis-Kevardhu drefenn kyn hwra an sterennow sevel hag esedha a-varra hag an seson dhe vos yn-rag, amser an howlsedhes a dheuth ha bos a-varra keffrys.
Yma Sadorn owth esedha a-varra, mes hwath gweladow yw yn Soth-West y'n gorthugher.
Dhe'n pymthegves mis-Est a wrug Gwener mos ynter an howl ha'n norvys. Nyns o an alinyans poran drefenn bos nebes ynklinyans dhe resegvaow an planetys. Ytho, ny wrug Gwener treustremena a-rag enep an howl y honan. A-varra an hav ma yth esa Gwener yn ebrenn gorthugher, y'n mis ma hi a wra dasomdhiskwedhes y'n ebrenn bora avel Borlewen. Erbynn diwedh mis-Gwynngala, bydh planetys Meurth ha Yow yn ebrenn bora kyns an howldrevel. Meurth yw pell diworth an norvys a-lemmyn ha nebes gwann y splannder, saw braster 1.8. An skeul 'braster' po magnitude yw koynt drefenn bos niverow byghanna dhe sterennow moy aga splannnder. Yma an ster gwanna neb yw gweladow dre dhewlagas nooth braster 6, an splanna sterenn Sirius yw -1.6 ha'n loor leun ogas ha -12.
Yow yw pella diworthyn es Meurth mes marthus brassa ha splanna y'n ebrenn. An dhew anedha a wra bos gweladow yn ta gwaynten nessa.
An loor yw dhe'n kwartron diwettha 5ves mis Gwynngala, yma loor nowydh dhe'n 13ves, kwartron kynsa 21a ha loor leun dhe'n 28ves. Loor leun an mis ma, yw gelwys avel 'gorloor'. An reson yw, yma an loor orth hy savla nessa dhe'n norvys dhe'n keth termyn usi hi leun. Ytho, an loor yw nebes brassa ha splanna y'n ebrenn es yw usadow, mes an difrans yw byghan yn hwir.
Mes kyns bora dhe'n 28ves mis-Gwynngala, y fydh difyk an loor. An loor a wra tremena a-ji skeus an nor, ha dos ha bos tewl ha rudh, ny vydh golowys marnas dre ayrgylgh an nor. An loor a wra tremena yn skeus an nor (yn stroth – an umbra) ynter 0207 ha 0527 (amser hav Predennek) hag y fydh yn skeus kowal ynter 0311 ha 0423. An loor vydh gweladow yn ebrenn soth-west yn termyn an difyk.
Difyk an loor 3a mis-Meurth 2007, skeusenn gwrys genev.

Ni a dhyskas an hav ma a-dro dhe'n efanvos New Horizons, hag ev dhe dresnija Pluton. Ev a wra spedya yn efan down lemmyn mes hwath a wra dannvon data dhe'n norvys a wrug ev kuntell a-dro dhe Bluton. Iskargans an data yw pur lent, ogas ha 1 kilobyt pub eylenn. Dhe'n kevradh na, rann Radyo an Gernewegva a wrussa iskarga yn pymp dydh. New Horizons a wra dresnija taklenn grogys Kuiper 2014 MU69 dhe'n Dy' Kalann 2019.
An efanvos DAWN usi ow mos yn resegva a-dro dhe Ceres, an brassa planetik y'n Penngrogys, a dhiskudhas menydh ynyal 6 km y ughelder war y enep.

Gwydheo diworth NASA a-dro dhe DAWN

Curiosity, an 'rosyell' war enep Meurth a wrug dannvon omskeusenn (selfie)dhe'n norvys. Ev a usyas y bregh robot avel gwelenomskeusenn.NASA a wrug gwrias an imajys war-barth bys dhe'n omskeusennnowydh. Curiosity re wrug lywya moy ages 11 km a-wosa ev dhe dira war Meurth yn 2012.  

An omskeusenn Curiosity war enep Meurth

An komet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko a wrug drehedhes y savle ogassa dhe'n howl yn y resegva 13ves mis-Est. an komet ow kelli 300kgo dhowr ha 1000km doust pub eylenn. Kyn hwrug an tirell Philaedifuna yn mis-Metheven, ha dannvon sinell dhe'n resegvell, ny wrug an kestav pesya, saw nebes amserow a-wosa rag termyn berr.

Gwydheo a-dro dhe'n hwilas rag an tirell Philae

My a wayt i dhe glywes diworto arta. Bys nessa prys, Duw genes rag an mis ma.

A Python based utility to examine geotagged photos in Landsat

Aug 31, 2015

I have been wondering about how it might be possible to automatically decide on land cover classification rules, as I mentioned in previous posts.

I realised the first step was to create a way of using a list of the images of the ground reference points and their coordinates, to examine the images together with remote-sensed images.

I've made a Python program that takes in a list of image file names and their latitude and longitude co-ordinates from a csv file, and uses these to make a subset of an area of a Landsat image 3km x 3km, and display a spectrum of a smaller area around the point. I presently use an area of 120m x 120m which is 4x4 Landsat pixels.

The code expects a layerstacked image of the optical and near-infrared bands, of which there are 6 for Landsat 7, and 7 for Landsat 8.
It will convert the lat/long coordinates, to OSGB grid references for labelling, and if specified to projected UTM coordinates which the Landsat images are released in.
The output below uses a Landsat 8 image in UTM30N, it is labelled in OSGB, I believe UTM30N grid north is fairly close to OSGB36.

Starting with a few of the pictures from the MSc fieldtrips I mentioned:

The images below are from Landsat 8 in July 2014, with the fieldtrips in Feb/March 2014. The versions in the Google+ album below are from Landsat 7 data from March 2007.

There is a little caveat I will make that certain of the ground level pictures are looking at a point a distance away from the coordinates that are where the photographer was standing.
Also the GPS sometimes made catastrophic errors, and occasionally I have manually edited the coordinates by taking an average of other pictures at the same site (within a small area).


The code is now available on my Bitbucket account. It only works on Linux and is likely to still be a bit rough and ready at the time of writing.
I have also uploaded the output of the fieldwork ground reference points as a Google+ album.

On the Penglais campus at the back entrance of the Llandinam building.

Ynyslas dunes near Borth


Borth Bog

An area of decidious woodland near Tal y Bont

Some upland grassland with Dr Pete Bunting

Vaccinium near Nant y Arian

Dead larch

Looking west, towards Taylor's Leat, an ingenious method of providing water to drive a wheel to power mining machinery in the 19th century.

Next to Nant y Moch reservoir dam

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