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NCTA Point Data Re-formatting Complete

I installed a new Bluetooth mouse and headset to my laptop. I didn't have Bluetooth until recently.

It's 8°F outside and the hygrometer on my desk is reading below 30%.  That's not good for my computer equipment. Right now, I'm wearing thermal boots with thick soles, hopefully I won't pass a static shock.

I had to unseat and re-seat my four port expansion USB 3.0 card today. I have a 7 port USB 3.0 hub connected to it and The Robot wasn't reading it. It does now. I double sticky taped the hub to the corner of my desk. The Robot isn't always convenient to get to.

While I disgarded points of interest, I completed the re-formatting and organizing of the NCTA's Point Data today.   What I can say about it is that from a logistical stand point for a thru hiker, the NCTA cateloged mostly campsites on governmental reservations. Most dispersed camping and commercial amenities are not present. The data also doesn't have much in the way of lodging.

But if I make up the difference, I think that the NCT will be the hike compliant. Stay tuned to these logs over the next couple months for that determination.

I'm currently working on a new form of storage.  The next step will be to alter the tracks. Mine started off from a copy downloaded years ago. In comparison with a newer download, I just need to make some "tweaks."

Next will probably be downloading and importing National Forest reservation polygons, along with campground, dispersed camp areas, trails and utility roads.

From there, it will be interesting to see what kind of GIS information that I get from the states?


NCTA Public Trail Data

For the last few days, I've been working on organizing and re-formating the NCTA Public Data.  I'm stripping out the points of interest and keeping the parking, camping and water data.  I don't exactly have a plan for this project.  And this project consists of projects within it.  What I'm really after is:

- NCTA's camping data

- Merged chapter tracks proofread and edited

- Expanded camping/ lodging data out to 3 - 4 miles from trail.

- Determine if state and local reservations have dispersed camping?

- Mile markers in 6 of 8 states by chapters, partners, affiliates and at-large areas.

- government and park reservation map overlays

- apply National Forest Service polygons

- Mock hike written simulation, both westbound and eastbound

Goal: predict true thru hiker's arrivals on Whipple and Road Fork Sections - Buckeye/ North Country Trail so that Adventurer's Project and the chapter that may result from it 


NCT Tracks Organized and Numbered

At this time, I either have the NCT tracks merged by chapter, or the the original baby tracks are organized in chapter folders and are numbered in the westbound direction.  The next step is to determine what direction the tracks are heading for 14 chapters, then reverse the east bounds.

All this data will be necessary for the new books that will be going in the shelters on The Wilderness Loop.  They will contain a mileage chart and of course, will cite the what materials were used to come to those conclusions.  For all you folks out there from the Buckeye, North Country and American Discovery, I am going to be busy this winter.


Chapter Ideas Dec 18, 2017

This is the cold days.  Since nothing grows, it's not much good for trail maintenance.  Therefore, that which can wait... does.  Most desk tasks do.  One of the things being considered now what if Adventurer's Project becomes a chapter?  And what it it do in the mean time that involves other volunteers?

If a chapter has lengthier meetings, the "weight" of everything going on my cause the chapter's overall progress to stall, or "spin it's wheels."  The meetings need to be about an hour long and have some continuity between them.  In theory, they could take place on-line with something that supports multiple feeds from webcams and microphones.  Otherwise, a multi-party phone call could be done with a small handful of other participants.  They could press a key on their phones when they wish to be recognized.  I recently purchased a copy of the "Robert's Rules of Order," which publishes meeting etiquette, efficiency and rules for procedure.  I'm already familiar with it somewhat and I'm thinking that an abridged version of it should be published for other chapter meetings on in the Buckeye Trail Association.

I don't want to dictate how the chapter will turn out.  In fact, I've been leaving somethings purposely unresolved until more people can weigh in on the matter.  What it's name is going to be for instance.  This is because if I want this chapter to last, it's best to have the input of the members in how it will be set up to run.  As for the charter members, this chapter needs to fit them as much "like a glove" as possible.  I really want them to function well, but like being in it.  I like to balance proactivity with reactivity.  They're opposites.  And it's healthier to be a bit of both.  Where it might be prudent to be proactive about something, on the other hand, you might be overcompensating for things which might not happen, or do it too often.  In the reactive, our unofficial span of the trail now is so remote and under developed (the areas hiking program), that I haven't had much cause to accommodate more mild mannered, or particularly sensitive people.  And my involvement in other BTA events is spotty.  In speculation, I think that this project and the creation of a chapter will altar things like this.  When and if the conditions work their way, we will compensate for it in due course.  Getting back to those personalities, I've been Whipple's supervisor for 3 years now and I've only started getting experience with it 6 months ago.  I need to be subjected to more. 

Whatever comes of Adventurer's Project will have to be efficient and probably aggressive.  And the reason being is that the latest "intelligence" on the area suggests that it's going to be an uphill struggle to promote the trail to reach Buckeye/ North Country's design parameters in the Caldwell, New Matamoras and Marietta areas... even if we promote in West Virginia.  And It's never been easy to recruit new volunteers in SE Ohio. 

I value audacity, but within bounds.  It's been necessary to dare to do certain things.  I've been thinking today that I should document all of the innovative ways that we use, or could use.

Buckeye chapter's are working with out officer lines currently.  I don't want to do that.  But I think that we could adopt a Galveston approach so that everyone has a specialty and they are the top "authority" on the matter.  They'll be responsible for forming their own teams, if they want one.  Elected among them will be the chapter chairman, who will tend to their own duties, set a meeting addenda and see that decorum is observed.  One of those chapter councilmen needs to be at least a Secretary/ Treasurer to record the minutes, report on them at the next meeting and tend to the chapter's finances.  They may have to send out dues notices for members of the NCTA and the American Discovery Trail Society who are not members of the BTA.  It will need a recreation councilman to oversee the chapter's commitment to having hiking, cycling and equestrian programs.

I'd wish that every trail adopter, section supervisor and state coordinator be members of the chapter.  If they live further away and can not readily attend meetings and functions, they'll have the right to appoint a representative.  Either they, or their representative have the right to veto any operation, or proposed operation of the chapter that falls under their jurisdiction.  But despite the egalitarian balance between the distance trails seeking to be covered, if one jurisdiction were vetoed, the council could continue in the other jurisdictions.  What matters with this is that they were offered, or given the same opportunities to begin with?

When we start out, we might be small.  We might only have to hold meetings quarterly.  If that's the case, I recommend that we meet on 5th Wednesdays.  In 2018, there are only four, but it's a regular day.  And all it would need is somebody's living room or basement.  But, I do happen to know where it could get something more commercial.  It just doesn't come with a kitchen.

Moving on to North Country Project

Yesterday, I finished my project in support of the Warrior Expedition on the Buckeye Trail.  There could be two ways to deploy it.  One is that a download link is already scheduled to be published on Adventurer's Project's website.  The other might be that since this is a special program paid into by the Buckeye Trail Association, that the makers of it's app on Android (so far) might be able to accommodate it?  That would make things much simpler for Warrior Expedition hikers.  Otherwise, I might have to perform chat support to help them upload the necessary files onto Locus (or make a video)?

My next project is a North Country Trail one.  I rediscovered that I have all of New York State properly merged.  In fact, everything is in order in the westbound direction until Michigan.  I got about half way done merging Michigan before I stopped months ago.  Wisconsin and Minnesota's baby tracks still need to be re-labled according to the chapter/ partner that they're routed in.

North Dakota has to be altered for the elimination of the Lonetree Chapter.  And then there are some missing segments that I'll have to transplant from the North Country Trail Association's GIS data and merge it all together.  That's unless of course that this all pertains to some bicycle right of way that's on Google Maps, in that case, that would be faster.

- The NCTA's waypoint data will have to be organized by type and then maybe state?  It already has some camping data that I need.

- Overlays where the image's source needs to be on the Internet so that when shared, all can see need to be done for every governmental agency that the trail is routed on or near.

- Camping/ lodging data beyond what the NCTA collected needs to be done.

- Mile markers for what the NCTA hasn't already been done have.  The the NCTA already started these and mine would need to be in the eastbound direction.  I'm not thrilled about this considering that most thru hikers travel westbound.

Once I have all of this, that will paint the most complete picture by which I can devise a "mock hiker," or a written simulation of a hike.  They usually pertain to entry level thru hikes and that is based on the trail's window of opportunity and what the NCT grassroots usually considers acceptable for a hike of about 4,600mi.


Assembled & Awaiting Reprogramming

The Robot is assembled and most of the cables (except my laser printer) are hooked up.  It powers on, but the monitors don't come on and it's sending out beep codes.  I reseated the memory chips, but that didn't alleviate it.  I'll leave that for tomorrow when I hopefully reprogram the computer.

I don't remember the expansion Wi-Fi card that I purchased today.  It claims that it can reach 1300 megabits per second on the internal network.  That should be about top speed for Wireless N and I do swap large files over it from time to time.  For my mapping, I'm going to need it.  I don't know how big my map repository is?  I try to keep anything that isn't going to be needed immediately out of the "My Places" in Google Earth. Having everything there slows down the the applications start up.  So, I just keep certain things on the hard disk.  My My Places alone in KML format is currently about 146MB, which is probably on the large size for an amateur?


The Robot, Desk and Warrior Expeditions

I don't think that blue ring was residue that seeped out of the middle of the MSI motherboard, but some aftermarket plastic, or gel cushion that I may have put there because I lost a piece of mounting hardware that protected it when the screw inserted through it.  The stock piece would have also coated around the screw between the motherboard layers.  Since the screw itself was not shielded from the motherboard, that could be it's problem?  And then again, the MSI being a cheaper motherboard could be?

I assembled the new Gigabyte motherboard and most components.  The problem is that this board is short one PCI port.  And it was either inserting the SATA RAID controller, or the Wi-Fi card?  The PCI port is 32-bit and that's why it's slowly being phased out (apparently).  What the motherboard also has are PCI Express slots, which are the modern 64-bit and I'll have to get a replacement Wi-Fi card.  That earns me another trip to my local Micro Center store.

Meanwhile, the bent desk that I built a roller platform for is in disarray.  There's cables all over it waiting to be routed through it's new channels.  The Robot needs to get working so that I can route and layer them correctly.  It will probably depend on what enters and exits the channels and where?

I'm hoping to complete my Buckeye Trail project for the Warrior Expedition.  To recap, I'm GPS mapping all relevant VFW's, American Legion's and Amvets posts.  The idea is that with my knowledge of the trail, I could create a map informing Warrior Expeditions hikers where to seek support from.  I think that the hiker needs to know what areas are more conspicuous.  And I know these hikers.  They want every mile they can justify those days days... and I won't be able to deliver.  But if I can get them enough foresight, it could make things better for both hiker and veterans support.


Post Mortum - The Robot's MSI Motherboard

Corrosion found on one of the mounts for The Robot's pieces of mounting hardware for the CPU's cooling coil on the other side of its MSI motherboard. The coil is a Zalman RDH902B.  IT's copper and circular, so I refer to it as "the ferris wheel."

The corrosion appears to be a blue gel like substance. I did not put it there and I'm thinking that it has come from the center layer of the motherboard. Looks like it ozed out and molded to the round plastic nut. I had to grip it with a pair of pliers in order to turn it, so those scratch marks are caused by me.

There is no scorching on the CPU.


New Motherboard Acquired

When I replaced my MSI motherboard last time with the extended warranty, I didn't get another extended warranty at Micro Center.  That means that I had to purchase a new motherboard out of pocket.  A new Gigabyte H270-HD3 motherboard was acquired for The Robot.  So far, everything checks out as being compatible with it's existing hardware.  And The Robot's had a Gigabyte motherboard in the past and I know that company to be good.

If anything in the MSI motherboard went bad, it's probably from one of the mounts for the CPU coil cooler?  I lost a rubber ring that inserts into one of the mounting holes.  Since then, I tightened to the motherboard itself.  It wasn't overly torqued, but that could have been the problem.  The other problem is that at $54, could be that this MSI motherboard was cheap had dubious reliability to begin with?

Sea Foam & Blown Motherboard

I poured a 16oz can of Sea Form in the gas tank of my 2008 Chevy HHR LS prior to 193,437 miles on the odometer to clean the fuel injectors.  It's due for routine maintenance soon.  I have the oil and parts, except for the air filter.  I got them from my local Walmart and I always forget that they never carry it.

Earlier, I purchased the remaining 3 - 6ft USB 2.0 extension cables.  I got back to the desk and found an extra chassis power button and wires.  So, I inserted them around power header cables on The Robot's motherboard.  I can now confirm that the motherboard is bad.  It is a cheap board and this is the second BT150 PC Mate by MSI that I have replaced in this chassis, probably within the last 12 months.  Replacing the motherboard will probably mean that I have to reinstall the operating system and every application on it.  Those three will probably 10 man hours. to complete.


Power and USB Extension Cords

Three new extension cords were procured for the desk's ability to roll.  It needed two new 15ft, 15Amp cords for the battery back-up and auxiliary power and one new 8ft cord for The Robot, which is stationary, to plug into to the battery back-up that is mounted to the roller platform.  I also went out shopping for 4 extension USB cables, but they were $33 a piece for USB 2.0 at Best Buy.  I thought that price was a little steep, so I only one purchased one.

This is Treeman's Adventures and Volunteerism.  The computer systems are necessary equipment for the said volunteerism.  It's like a cook stove is a piece of hiking equipment.  The title sets the parameters for what is discussed.  Like the US Post Office, if it fits, it ships.

The Desk and The Robot

My desk is coming along.  I built the platform that the 5" caster wheels mounted to out of 2x4 studs.  That raises the desk surface 8in.  I mounted my new battery backup to one of the studs using three thick 24in zip ties.  It has breathing gills on the sides, so I had to mount it standing vertically. 

The laptop in on a swing arm at the end of the desk.  A separate surge protector was mounted on the other side of it on a strut.  The only power cord that I ran through the electrical channel today was to reach the laptop and it's accessories.  So far, the channels look like their going to work well.  But I'm in need of 3 new extension cords capable of handling high heat because of the new arrangement.

I drove to Micro Center today to get The Robot's 1,200 watt power supply replaced.  Turns out that I didn't get an extended warranty, so I had to purchase a new one :-(.  And then I got the extended warranty for 3 years.  I don't know why I didn't do that in the first place?

So, I threw the old one way in the parking lot garbage can.  I have a power supply tester and it never powered on when I used it.  When I got back, I mounted the new one, but the system still wouldn't turn on.  So, I'm still in the middle of troubleshooting as I write this.

Other other channel on the desk is for data cables.  They and the electric need to be separated as much as possible to prevent "cross talk" through the cable and cord shieldings.  This is when stray bolts of energy in a power cable slip through a cord's shielding, then enter a data cable's shielding and disrupt communications because they use electricity, too, just lesser amounts.

The Robot is a "media center" computer.  It's built for movies and television shows.  But it's big and fast enough that it could be it's own server.  These days, I watch the same 700 episodes of television that I have been for the last 14 years.  What The Robot really is a glorified trail mapping machine.  And that needs a lot of power, too, considering what I do.

I'm an amateur GPS cartographer.  I've tracked out the 6,800 mile American Discovery Trail, merged together the 1,444mi Buckeye Trail and I have 4 of 7 states on the North Country Trail merged with Michigan in progress.  In order to do these, I had to display tracks for the Triple Crown  and the Great Western Trail (one trail at a time).

Since I have this data, I can make placemarks/ waypoints for items like Post Offices, libraries, hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, hostels, campsites, campgrounds and grocers just to name a few.  You need tracks in order to have a basis on where to search for these things.  I've got mile markers for the Buckeye, American Discovery's tracks are already set up to get them and North Country's are already provided by the NCTA.  Overlaying park maps was resource (computer) intensive.  I have a full library. for the Buckeye and American Discovery.

I'm getting The Robot repaired to do some mapping this winter.  But I've got to get it repaired to channel the data cables on the desk and in the correct order.  It has 21 USB ports with 1.1's in the front, mostly 3.0's and two 3.1's.  I like to prioritize them by device.  For instance, keyboards and mice don't need 3.1's.