27 May 2011

Hike to Smuggler's Cove - Santa Cruz Island

Right when I arrived on Santa Cruz island, we set up camp and than left to go on our first hike. We headed up the canyon towards Devils Peak, which is the island's highest point at an elevation of 2450 feet. At the top of ridge, we headed across a flat bluff and wound our way down into smugglers cove on the island's southeastern tip. 

Our steep ascent out of camp in Scorpion canyon

Hiking up the Canyon

Across the ridge and down into smugglers cove

Looking across the ridge near smugglers cove

Path into Smuggler's cove through a
picturesque grove of Olive trees

Smuggler's Cove

Another view of the cove

Inland portion of smuggler's cove

Farmhouse in Smugglers Cove

During this hike Santa Cruz island unique fauna put on a great show. The island is home to the Island Scrub Jay, which is much bigger than its mainline relative. Each island is also home to a unique species of fox. These foxes are extremely cute, but they tend to be aggressive and will come right up to people while attempting to steal food. They were all over our camp and would sneak up whenever we had our backs turned!

An island fox raiding out picnic!

Route back down to camp

View coming back down to Scorpion Cove

Complete Route

So we took a different route to and from Scorpion cove

Elevation and speed profile, with a break in the middle as we
ate in Smuggler's cove

Download the KML file here to explore this hike in Google Earth!

26 May 2011

Boat Ride to Santa Cruz Island

I recently got back from a weekend camping trip on Santa Cruz Island, which is part of the magnificent Channel Islands off of Central California. I went with the UCSB adventure program, which organizes outdoor wilderness trips in and around California and across the country. This program is a great way to get out and see nature while networking with people in the Santa Barbara area.

We met at Ventura Harbor at 7 am to catch a ferry out to the island. It was a 25 mile ride across the choppy channel waters, and took a little over 1 hour. Along the way we saw lots of birds and dolphins. At one point, a school of around 100 dolphins were surround the boat, jumping out of the water as we went. It was quite a miraculous sight to see all these creatures.

Channel Islands Nation Park (white perimeter line)

leaving Ventura harbor, with a quick detour to see some Dolphins

The Santa Barbara Channel is a unusual feature in California geography. The 30 mile wide channel separates the Northern Channel Islands from mainland California. As we left Ventura harbor, the first half of the channel was approximately 90 feet deep. About ten miles into the channel, however, the ocean floor drops off and water depth increases to around 1000 feet in about 1/4 mile! Lots of oil drilling takes place along this drop off, and it attracts ample sea life as well. In fact, right around this area was where we encountered our dolphin school!

Santa Cruz Island

Our Landing at Scorpion Cove

Scorpion Cove landing - the boat just noses up to the pier and one must
hop off quickly!

Just made camp - Nice view to wake up to in the morning!

The island has a huge fox population, and they are super cute and
not afraid of people!

The whole boat ride to the island

Download the KML file to play with in Google Earth!

View more photos of the trip!

23 May 2011

Asleep at the keyboard

Hello all! Sorry for the lack of posts. It has been a crazy quarter....

I just returned from a camping trip in the Channel Islands. I will be adding maps and pics to the blog over the next couple days, so be sure to check them out!

09 May 2011

Repost: Mental Maps w/ better scan quality

The following is a repost which includes new, higher resolution images.

Environmental Cognition and Perception: What does it mean? According to UCSB's Dr. Dan Montello, perception and cognition of one's environment is the process of finding one's way, identifying dangers and resources, and in a more general sense how one's environment is understood. A great demonstration of this concept is the Mental Sketch Map, or a hand drawn map from memory of an area that one is quite familiar with.

UCSB official campus map
 I recently had to collect mental sketch maps from several peers for my Environmental Perception class here at UCSB. The idea was to see how UCSB students recalled campus and to see how campus was laid out in each other minds. One may be able to navigate around campus quite efficiently, but recalling all that data on a piece of paper at one time is much more difficult.

My six participants received these instructions and produced the following six maps: (please excuse the poor scan quality!)

20 year female campus resident

20 year old male Isla Vista resident

19 year old female campus resident

21 Male living in Isla Vista

21 year old male living in Isla Vista

21 year old male living in Isla Vista

  • Most people are unfamiliar with buildings on the north side of campus (mostly administrative buildings)
  • Living in Isla Vista gives one much more limited view of campus which largely excludes the dorm areas, etc
  • One's mode of transportation greatly affected perception: those who bike always put bike paths down first, and those who walk start with foot paths! 
  • No one could correctly locate Campbell hall, although it is the largest lecture hall on campus which EVERY UCSB has had class in at least once.... 
Now: take another look at UCSB's offical campus map. The maps I collected from my participants varied greatly in layout, accuracy, and usefulness, but its extremely interesting to see how people perceive their surroundings.

Again, Official UCSB campus map

07 May 2011

UCSB interactive Campus Map

UCSB's interactive campus map is an amazing tool for any student of faculty memeber, and demonstrates that the geography department here at UCSB is on the cutting edge of GIS implementation. This map was created by UC professors and students around five years ago, and layers are continually added and fleshed out with more precise data. 
See the map

The Interactive Campus Map currently provides the ability to
  • Search for parking lots based on permit restrictions and space availability
  • search many for rooms within many buildings on campus 
  • locate the room where a specific class is held
  • find on campus eateries, off campus dining in IV, and recycling cans
  • see wireless internet signal strength across campus

Showing the position of a room on campus

Parking is complicated! Let the interactive campus map help you out!

Feature features planned for the Interactive Campus Map include:
  • locations of doors on buildings, elevators, and handicap assessable areas
  • information on bus stops and schedules, as well as traffic lights
  • Time aware layers which display which businesses and campus resources are open now
  • updated info on Temporary construction zones

Recreation Areas on Campus

Isla Vista Eateries

Wifi strength.. Red is good.
Yellow means no reddit during class :-/

Special thanks to UCSB's Department of Geograpphy for this amazing project!