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June 22nd, 2009

Wimbledon (Augmented)

IBM's just released an interesting little augmented reality application for Android: Seer.

It's an interesting little application, which works much like Wikitude, using the phone's camera, GPS, G-sensor and compass to overlay information on top of a cameras-eye view of the world (in this case, the All England Tennis Club). Or perhaps our office.

I can just about get it to distinguish between courts here in Putney, but I suspect if I were on site, it would be much more useful - as it mixes geocoded information with live feeds from the scheduling and scoring systems IBM runs for the competition. There also seems to be a feed from at least one IBM Twitter account in there...

It's a nice fun application, and a good example of the type of mobile service we can deliver right now.

Pele's Glow

Deep in the heart of the Kilauea caldera lies Halema`uma`u.

It's where Pele lives, her hair streaming high over the south of Big Island.

The current eruption began a year or so ago, with an ash and steam cloud pushed west by the trade winds. The lava began to rise, filling the bottom of the crater, and pooling to about 300 m below the surface. The resulting sulphur dioxide levels have meant that much of the caldera loop road is closed - but you're still able to get out to the Jaggar Museum, where there's a viewing area.

In the day, all you can see is the plume of smoke, rolling off the west.

At night, everything is different, as the glow of the lava in the vent colours the plume, and reflects of the walls of the crater. It's an eerie experience. Strange patterns whirl around the illuminated plume, as the orange glow shines across smooth lava of the caldera floor.

I found a rock in the viewing area and set up a long exposure.

First I took a few shots of the wider caldera, catching some of the night sky.

Crater Glow

Crater Glow

Then I zoomed in.

Crater Glow

Crater Glow

Yet more geology in action.

Kilauea, Hawaii
June 2009

Unfurling so many ways

Another picture from Lava Trees - some lushness in the rain forests to go with the fires in the barren caldera 4000 feet above.

The forests are full of plants, tree trunks covered in vines and creepers, while feral chickens and mongoose run around the few patches of open ground. The ferns reminded me of New Zealand, and as marypcb noted the whole island felt like a cross between North Island and the Canaries.

The contrasts in Big Island are amazing, with some areas of almost desert next to lush rain forest, while deep green valleys lie underneath prairie uplands and ranges full of cattle. There are almost as many climate zones on one island as there are in the whole of the rest of the USA, with the east wetter than the west, and the higher elevations cooler and damper (until you get to the tops of the great volcanoes).

Anyway, have some some Hawaiian green. But not the Puna green you might be thinking of...

Unfurling so many ways

Lava Trees, Hawaii
June 2009