My blog, imported from Blogger and converted using Jekyll.

A map of Cornwall in Cornish

Oct 28, 2014

The Cornish Language Partnership has a list of placenames in Cornwall in the Cornish language.

I have downloaded a shapefile with locations of places from which ultimately derives from OpenStreetMap. To this I have added the Cornish placenames, and plotted on a map in QGIS.

I still need to add in other features like rivers etc., and find something to make sure that estuaries like the Fal are shown as water rather than appearing to be dry land.

The colour scheme might look familiar if you remember the old Bartholomews 1:100k maps.

An elevation aware cycling route planner?

Oct 28, 2014

For some time now, I've had an idea to produce an elevation aware cycling route planner. You see, Google Maps can give you a route, but it doesn't take account of hills when deciding it.

Basically the idea I have is based on attaching some kind of cost distance multiplier to segments of route.

One idea I have had is to use the RSGISLib tools to segment a layerstacked digital elevation model, consisting on the elevation, slope, aspect (degrees from N) and then intersect this with a map of the road network (it is possible to download versions of this derived ultimately from OpenStreetMap and the OS OpenData has data available as well) to make road segments that have a consistent slope.

Then the average slope in the direction of the road could be calculated, and from this a cost-distance multiplier.

This is a segmented DEM in mid-Cornwall from the SRTM and with a pixel size of 73m, with a minimum object size of 9 pixels.

I haven't yet worked out how to complete this, one important thing is that the relevant slope is that in the direction of the road rather than the absolute value, and of course it is different if traversed in the reverse direction. So perhaps it would be necessary to convert every road into two one-way roads, so that the cost-distance could be calculated separately for each direction

The disappearence of Cantre'r Gwaelod

Oct 1, 2014

Again based on Shennan & Horton 2002:

Now just a little bit beyond the present coastline in certain places, such as near Borth where the preserved forest can be seen when the sea strips back the sand (often low tides after storms are a good time to see it).

The lost land of Lyonesse

Sep 30, 2014

Here are some visualisations of Cornwall 12,000 to 5,000 years ago:

Sea level is based on Shennan and Horton 2002, with a triangular interpolation. Background is Landsat 8 from 25th July 2014. OSGB numerical coordinates.

The bathymetry is from GEBCO which has a 30 arcsecond resolution (about 600m at 50 degrees latitude). Higher resolution bathymetry is now available from the INSPIRE portal. I am planning to make some more detailed maps with this.

I've not removed man made structures including reservoirs and china clay pits. I have added a little semi-transparent dark green colour in the lower elevations to simulate dense forest in the valleys which is thought to have been the case in the Neolithic.

The Cornish name for St. Michael's Mount, is "Karrek Loos y'n Koos" - "The Grey Rock in the Wood".


Around the time period of the Younger Dryas stadial, estimated as 10,800 to 9500 BC. At the end of this stadial, the climate warmed rapidly to approximately present levels (Holocene temperature variations - Wikimedia commons).

See NOAA Paleoclimateology program for details on the 8.2ka event (6200BC), where the glacial Lake Agassiz drained in the Hudson Bay region. Legend has it that the land of Lyonesse was drowned in a single great storm.

The coastline 5000 years ago is broadly similar to today, though there are some areas such as the area near St. Michael's Mount (Karrek Loos y'n Koos) where land existed which is now submerged. In a future post I  will produce a better map from higher resolution bathymetry which is now available from the INSPIRE portal.

Dissertation done, and the likelihood of Martian glaciers in Cornwall, Wales and south-west England

Sep 30, 2014

So, the dissertation is done now, you can get a copy here, or a special tablet-optimised version here. The latter is using the US Supreme Court's paper size and Century Schoolbook font, as was advised to me by

In the dissertation itself, I explain that the Martian terrain is segmented using RSGISLib and a classifier function assigned to the segments using the Souness et al. 2012 glacier-like forms as a guide.

So what if we apply it to a terrain that is not on Mars? The Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission data is available at a similar resolution to that from HRSC for Mars.

I have done the segmentation for areas of Wales, Cornwall and the southwest of England using topography only rather than integrating the red image field, since it wouldn't really be comparable with all the vegetation etc. on the Earth.

The same procedure of highlighting segments with log(K) > 12, 13, 14, 15 with a semi-transparent overlay is used. The background images are from Landsat 8 using bands 6, 5, 2 for RGB. All images from 25th July 2014.

Ordnance Survey GB numerical coordinates are used.

Not much in West Cornwall, except on the north-facing slopes west of St. Ives. There are a few more segments on the North Cornwall coast and in some areas of southeast Cornwall.
The north coast of West Penwith has a high likelihood of Martian glaciers, see also the map in the following post which shows a relatively shallow area of sea that would have been dry land in the Early Holocene, perhaps sediment deposited by the Martian glaciers at some point.

Some martian glaciers expected on the northern fringe of Dartmoor near Okehampton, but perhaps surprisingly also in south Devon.

Exmoor seems a favoured location for martian glaciers.

The Welsh valleys and the Brecon Beacons are also highlighted for a high likelihood of martian glaciers.

Since Wales generally has a higher likelihood of martian glaciers, I have used a slightly different scaling with only starting to highlight at log(K) > 13:
A close up of the Valleys and Brecon Beacons:

North Wales:


Aberystwyth area:

The southern part of Cwm Rheidol appears particularly favoured for martian glaciers.

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