Public Lab/citizen science

I’ve been involved with Public Lab (and Grassroots Mapping) since 2010, when I wrote to Jeff Warren after seeing the diydrones post showing his map of a settlement outside Lima, Peru. 

Public Lab is doing a Kickstarter campaign for aerial photomapping kits, from small lifting kites and balloons to the classic larger ones.

Jeff, Stewart Long, Mathew Lippincott, and others in the Public Lab community helped me learn simple aerial photo mapping techniques. 


They also helped me start a grassroots mapping program to map the 40-acre Belize Open Source – Sustainable Development (BOSSD) site at high resolution to support site development work and progress reporting, to make this methodology accessible to local landholders, to engage schools to develop capabilities for educational and community mapping and make an initial set of maps.

I’ve presented at Engineers Without Borders (EWB) workshops and poster sessions on Simple, Inexpensive Aerial Photomapping


In 2013, I applied these techniques at the BOSSD site and sessions at the August Pine Ridge RC school and Muffles College.

I’ve not been as active with Public Lab due to other priorities, but I am looking to get back to it.

CWC TVW Critique groups run year round

At our last meeting of the California Writers Club Tri-Valley Writers Branch this season, President, Patricia Boyle, asked me to speak about our STEM critique group.

I was happy to. As my members page indicates, in part:

Patrick D. Coyle journals and writes memoir and personal stories about travel and sustainable development. His short memoirTime of Your Life, won first place in Impressions, the Las Positas College 2015 anthology.

Other memoirs have been published in the Voices of the Valley: Word For Word, Encore, and First Press, California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch anthologies (2015, 2013, and 2011); 4th Street Studio’s Livermore Wine Country Literary Harvest and Saturday Salon Literary Harvest anthologies.

I’ve been involved in critique since I joined the Tri-Valley Writers Branch in 2005 as a charter member. My good friend and mentor, Hector Timourian, led this group until he he handed it off. I picked up the responsibility to “clerk for us,” getting the announcement out to people about when the monthly meetings are coming up, letting people know who has submitted pieces, and showing up to facilitate the critique session discussion.

I’ve benefited from the feedback from others, reading the diversity of others pieces, and offering comments about what I liked, what gave me pause, and suggestions.

The monthly critique sessions also encourages me to write, to get a piece ready to submit for critique. I don’t like to be empty handed.

I joke with others that my only hope is that writing is a learnable craft.

We continue the STEM critique group through the summer.

I encourage you to write, to check out our CWC TVW branch, and to consider the critique groups as a way to improve your writing.

Surprise at Rotary meeting

Today was Don Wentz’s last meeting as president of our Rotary Club of Livermore. The night before was my last board meeting as president of the Rotarian Foundation of Livermore.

At today’s meeting I was taking photographs for our club newsletter. Don recognized and thanked many of our members. I was surprised and delighted when he recognized me as Rotarian of the Year for 2016-2017.

As a club board member, I saw the nominations and someone wrote the following (in words way too kind I thought). I voted for another candidate.

Patrick Coyle exemplifies the ideals of the Rotary Four-Way Test, exhibits a true spirit of volunteerism, and demonstrates community leadership through: (a) his leadership to the club in general; (b) his multiple volunteer-service contributions to our club’s local and regional community; and (c) his service contributions to the greater international community. Patrick has demonstrated substantial leadership through the coordination of District 5170 Area 4 Global Grant activities in Nicaragua with the San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua Rotary Club and Masaya Rotary Club, where Global Grants support local community involvement in the building of composting toilets and the development of water supply systems. In addition, Patrick is actively involved with the Coaniquem Burned Children Foundation in Chile. Patrick’s volunteerism and other contributions significantly support Rotary’s six areas of focus.

I am honored to be recognized and hope to fulfill the intent of the nominating text. My experience with Rotary reminds me there is no end of opportunities for service.

 

Last day at Belize Open Source site

Yesterday, first thing, I drove into Orange Walk Town to pick up my reconciled tax statement before Armin Cansino left for Belize City.

At 10:00, I met with Natalio Solis and Pedro Wall who is refurbishing our corrals and adding a chute to vaccinate or load cattle. I watched his crew as they worked.

We also discussed improving the little 12′ by 20′ wooden house that I put in as part of the first visitors accommodations for the Cleveland State University EWB chapter when they did the new classroom building for the school in August Pine Ridge.

I also need to add more facility improvements, so there is more “there” here. We talked about a new house, but in context of overall plan. Pedro cautioned about spending too much on improving the existing house vs a new one.

But good news, the hot water showers were working. They weren’t in December when I was here.

I walked the place, taking gps waypoints (WPs) and laying down a track.


I looked at cashews on trees, the first I’ve seen on our old ones planted in the 1970s and the new improved varieties in the orchard in the front.

Watched our caretaker add molasses-water mix to hay we’re using to get the cattle through the dry.


David Dyck, Natalio, and I made a workplan to sell the herd after we fix the corrals, add fencing for more parcels, clear and plant more land, fertilize, and restock when pastures are reestablished.
Today, I was able to meet with Osmany Salas who is always bristling with good ideas. Such a great citizen of Belize – always looking for ways to make things better. Lots to follow up on.


I also met Albert Burn, who knew my dad from back in the 1970s at Carver Ranch. He also knew the rest of the cast of characters too, from Jack Garden to Carlos Carmona, to Chester Cotter. He didn’t go into details but described the trouble Carmona made for my dad and the ranch.


Got my flight home upgraded to first class!

I’m in Houston, waiting to board flight to San Francisco.

Cashews and GPS track in Belize

The two screenshots from Google Earth show today’s route and a bit of yesterday’s. I caught water taxi to San Pedro at 3pm, then took a taxi to Mahogany Bay to look at their development using houses they prefab in Belmopan. 



I caught a ride back to town with Scott Fuson who showed me around Mahogany Bay. His friend, Mario, taxied us back. Mario also called and found me a room at Zen Belize.

Fred at Zen Belize was very gracious and deserves highest marks. 

I was able to met up for pizza with our old family friend, Francisco Bergen.

I booked a 7am flight on Tropic Air and Mario got me there in time. We landed at the municipal strip and Arjun taxied me to the water taxi parking lot via scenic route, I got a few photos of Belice City I will post later. Then up the northern highway to Orange Walk and out past August Pine Ridge to the Belize Open Source site. Our caretaker, Franco and I walked to the back. A few of the old cashew trees were still fruiting (and nutting).