September 29, 2008

cape town

I arrived in Cape Town about 5am (dark outside), and stepped carefully back into Africa (stepped/stumbled:  they were unable to locate lights for the path from the plane to the terminal).  There wasn't much of a line for citizens in the passport-checking area, but that didn't stop at least a few people from wandering right to the front of the line, as if to cut, and then just continuing on right past the passport-checkers, who were unable to really notice due to the poor design of the booths they sit in.  Hopefully those guys have no trouble with lack of passport stamps on their next leg, or perhaps it's just a known thing here that there's no need to bother with the hassle of official entrance/exit. 

Next up was a quick check on pricing for transportation:  For two people, it was R170 for the shuttle, or $240 for a cab.  The cab people were clearly not pleased with being undercut, but the shuttle was a great choice.  Despite my misdirections, Chris Holmes and I ended up at his further-away-than-I expected lodgings, and if anyone needs a shuttle driver recommendation, I can now provide.  Nobody answered the door at his B&B, and so we left the less important luggage on the stoop, and went out for a walk in the rain to morning coffee (at Seattle Coffee Company, a local chain).  Then some breakfast (food here is much more expensive than my last visit, but still much cheaper than the States).  Back at the B&B, I fell asleep for a few hours and Chris went to see a movie. 

I woke up and headed out to meet Karen, my cousin who lives nearby, but had forgotten that there was a big security door on the B&B.  Nobody else seemed home when I woke up, and after trying all the obvious looking switches near by, it looked like I needed a key to get outside.  Fortunately, I found a couple windows only a few meters off the ground that did not have bars, so I was able to myself and my luggage on a more unorthodox exit into the yard.

September 5, 2008

southern sierras


I had a great backpacking trip in the Southern Sierras (near Mt. Whitney in the John Muir Wilderness) a few weeks ago, and finally decided to see about getting some geocoded pics online.

Since I've been so spoiled with my eye-fi card, I'm not used to needing to manually geocode my pics.  Still, I had my trusty old GPS with me for the trip, and I figured it shouldn't be too hard.  Here's what I did:

  • Used GPS Babel to quickly export a .gpx of my tracks from the trip
  • Ran the gpsPhoto perl script to geocode my photos: 
./  --gpsfile hike08.gpx--timeoffset 28800 --maxtimediff 3600 --dir ./hike_photos/
  • Note:  the time offset (in seconds) is because my camera and I are set to -8 hours from GMT, and the time diff allows my photos to be up to an hour off from the closest gps point.  This is because I sometimes hiked with with the gps off. 
  • Now that the photos were geocoded, I uploaded them to Flickr, and noticed they weren't automagically put on the map, because I had never enabled Flickr to accept geocoded Exif headers.  Easily solved.


Next, I wanted a nicer KML of my actual route.  For this, I used the GPS plugin for QGIS (requires GPS Babel), which made importing directly from my garmin surprisingly easy.  QGIS rocks!  After a little bit of editing/smoothing of my line, I used ogr2ogr to convert the saved shapefile to a kml.


Finally, I wanted my KML to show photo links as well.  I was thinking I would make a little Yahoo Pipes thing to get my KML from a photoset, but it looks like the lazyweb already took care this for me, so all I had to do was copy the resulting points into my route kml, and I was done.