GEC Tips & Techniques

DanRaitz Feb 3, 2008

  1. DanRaitz

    DanRaitz TrainBoard Member

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    I thought that was time we had a "tips & techniques" thread on solving these contests.
    What do you look for when first viewing these?
    What information can you get out of them?

    #1: Look at the shadows! If they are on the north or south side of buildings, trees, trains, etc. As a general rule the shadows are on the same side as the Hemisphere that you are in (north side in the Northern Hemisphere and vice-versa).

    #2: Look at the traffic patterns:
    - Which side of the street are they driving on?
    (we need to get a list of countries and on which side, left/right, they drive on).
    - Are there traffic circles? If so then, the chances are you are not in the USA.
    (Traffic Circles are not that common in the United States, but there are getting to
    be more of them)
    - Are the streets laid out in a grid or are they haphazard?
    If in a grid, that usaully means that this area was developed less than 200 years ago.

    #3: Look at the types and styles of architecture.
    If you see a lot of red tile roofs then there is a good chance that you in a area that
    has or had a Spainish and or Italian influence.

    #4: Look for sporting complexs, i.e. Baseball fields, Football (Soccer) Fields, etc.
    - If you see Baseball Fields, the chances are that you are looking for someplace in the
    Americas or Japan.

    #5: What is the "feel" that you get from this location? Usually this will get you in the
    general area, or that least on the same continent.:)

    #6: Use your internet search engines.
    As an Example, If you are trying to find a RR Hump Yard in North America? Trains.com
    has a list of them at
    TRAINS Magazine - Railroad News, Web Cam, Railroading Video - North America's hump yards
    For a list of marshalling yards in Europe check out this pdf:
    http://www.unece.org/trans/doc/2005/sc2/TRANS-SC2-165r2e.pdf
    The list starts on page 4.

    #7: What water features are showing? Rivers, Lakes or Coastlines (although in these tight shots, lakes and oceans can be hard to tell apart).



    If anybody wants to add their own observations to this list, go right ahead. We can always use whatever help we can get.


    Dan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2008
  2. Scott Stutzman

    Scott Stutzman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Another helpful hint... Match the colors and terrain patterns,Skim around until you find close matches. When you find patterns and colors that look close,That means take a closer look.:) After awhile you will get a feel for where a place might be,and will be able to make better first guesses.
     
  3. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    All are excellent tips, but there's a minor problem with terrain colors. I've found that many of the satellite images were not taken at the same time of year. The majority are green, but a good number are brown (winter?) within the green areas. I even found one in Louisiana that was a one-mile strip of green, about five miles long, that was stitched right in the middle of an expanse of brown. Guess the original image was obscured by clouds or something, so they retook that area....dunno?
     
  4. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Heading - Understand this when using Google Earth

    OK, let's explain this by example using the Washington Monument in Washington DC, USA.

    Here, is how you would find it normally which is a Heading of 0.0 because "North" is pointed straight up. This means "North" is pointed in a heading of 0.00 degrees.

    [​IMG]

    Now, let's flip the world upside down making "North" pointed 180.00 degrees off

    [​IMG]

    OK then, let's flip the world onto it's side by roting the image to the left or counter clockwise pointing North to the West; this is a "Heading" of 90.0 degrees.

    [​IMG]

    Now for the tough one, let's instead rotate to the right or clockwise until North is pointed East. This is a Heading of 270 degrees OR -90.00 degrees.

    [​IMG]

    So, in the GEC Advanced Games I will tend not to tell you which Hemisphere an image is in right away but give you a Hint by telling you a "Heading" of the image you are looking at. Then using that Heading and looking at the Shadows you can then try to deduce the Hemisphere.

    Take a serious look at all the above images with "Headings" of 0.00, 90.00, 180.00, and -90.00 and the shadows of each, noting how by not seeing the compass can add a challenge to the game until you know the "Heading" of the image.
     
  5. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Heading - Part 2 using GEA-012 as an example

    OK, here is GEA-012 as it started out. Please take a solid look at how the image is shown.

    [​IMG]

    OK, now using Google Earth I will show the "Properties" of the Stick Pin. What I want to draw you attention to is two things, the "Compass" in the upper right and the "Heading" value in the Properties" box. See how the Compass has been rotated to the right (clockwise) by 75 degrees and thus has a "Heading" of -75.00000 degrees?

    [​IMG]

    OK, now if I were to rotate the image such that the "Compass" in the upper right showed North being straight up in it's normal position then the "Properties" of the Stick Pin would then show a "Heading" of 0.000000.

    [​IMG]

    So when I give a "Hint" that I give the "Heading" what I'm telling you is how the image itself has been rotated. If I rotate it to the right (clockwise), the "Heading" will have a value between -0.000001 and -179.999999. If I rotate it to the left (counter-clockwise) the "Heading" will have a value between 0.000000 and 180.000000. A "Heading" of 0.0000000 means "North" on the "Compass" is pointed straight up and a "Heading" of 180.000000 means "North" on the "Compass" is pointed straight down.

    "Heading" by itself has nothing to do with the "Hemisphere" where the image can be found (or what direction to travel from my house :D); but, based on the "Heading" and looking at the shadows on the image you might be able to deduce the "Hemisphere" earlier than a later Hint that I give that tells you which "Hemisphere" giving you a jump on the other GeoSleuth that don't understand this Google Earth terminology.
     
  6. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    No wonder I can't find any of these. We aviators use the real compass. Your -90 is actually 90, and your 90 is 270. Very confusing.
    :tb-confused:
     
  7. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    I understand that too since I once did work for "Jeppesen" Aviation. Keep in mind when you are flying, "North" is the top of the planet so think of these Google Earth "Headings" as to what you would have to correct your real compass by if the world suddenly rotated vertically. You would either have to Add or Subtract the number of degrees the world vertically rotated to get the correct compass heading again. Think of it as I messed with "True North" or "Magnetic North" by Plus or Minus "X" degrees so you have to recalculate based on that information to get where you wanted to go...

    :tb-wink: :tb-wink: :tb-wink: :tb-wink:
     
  8. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Jim, that was my problem also, being trained in maritime navigation. On the other hand Darren is showing me capabilities of Google Earth that I did not know about, or as my English Teacher would have preferred..."about which I knew not". :tb-tongue:

    I now realize that "heading" rotates the view, then defines a line, negative to the left, and positive to the right......I think? I've gotta read Darren's explanation again, then test this knowledge on his next challange to a retiree's patience and persistance. :tb-wacky:
     
  9. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    I think they are getting this...

    Now your getting it, excpet, rotation to the Right (Clockwise) creates a Negative a Heading and Left (Clockwise) creates a Positive Heading. So, a Heading of -90.000000 means WEST is UP, a Heading of 90.000000 means EAST is UP, and a Heading of 180.000000 means SOUTH is UP. A Heading of 0.000000 means life is normal becuase NORTH is UP which will be rare in the Advance game as I tend to always rotate the image so you have no idea which way NORTH is...

    :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:​
     
  10. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Does this mean when the globe is rotated clockwise, thus creating a negative heading, that heading can point in either direction, i.e. to the northeast as well as the southwest? Or is there another parameter that resolves directional aliasing. If I interpret your explanation correctly, negative headings are south of the equator and positive headings are north of the equator.

    This still leaves the question of locating the reference point for that heading. Do we start from 0*Lat/0* Lon, or some arbitrary point?
     
  11. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    This has nothing to do with the Equator or LAT/LON information. What this is refering to is which way is NORTH pointing on the Google Earth Compass as you sit in a chair in space looking at the planet in front of you. Take a look at the above images I added to this topic from GEA-012 and look at the "Heading" value in the properties box and the Compass as to which way NORTH is pointing. These two are related, I turned the Compass 75 degrees to the Right (Clockwise) so NORTH is pointed to the Right; which makes a Google Earth Heading of -75.000000 degrees.

    Try this at home using your copy of Google Earth. Bring up your house and then rotate the Compass in either direction just so it's not pointed UP. Then place a "Yellow Stick Pin" on your house and look at the properties of that Skip Pin as shown above. It will give you that LAT/LON of your house but also the Heading of which way NORTH was pointing when you created the Stick Pin. Close the properties window and go someplace else on the planet setting NORTH back to it's normal position or some other position. Now, in your favorite window double click on the Yellow Stick Pin you created for your house. You will see Google Earth fly you back to your house "AND" rotate the Compass back to the Heading that was saved as part of that setting.

    :tb-nerd: :tb-nerd: :tb-nerd: :tb-nerd:​
     
  12. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    So, if I understand you correctly, the heading only gives image orientation, not a line to follow while searching...?
     
  13. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yippe!!!!!!!

    YES!!!!!!!

    :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:​
     
  14. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

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    Not to detract from this thread, but now that I've won a couple of GE contests, how do I get a TB Geosleuth avatar in my sig?
     
  15. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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  16. gvcborders

    gvcborders TrainBoard Member

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    It's awesome!! Been using it for a couple of weeks now. Great upgrade!!
     
  17. ulie

    ulie TrainBoard Member

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    I had the new version too for some days, but I went back to the older 4.2.0198.2451 because of some problems.

    Those links that are set into the maps with those blue dots opens up a information window, mostly with a part of a Wikipedia article. Then you can us a link for the full article that will open the Internet Explorer, and show the full article. This didn't work with the new version. I got the first window, but the link for the full article didn't work.

    The same goes for the nenue item "Show in Google maps" this also opend the IE in the old version, but won't work in the new version.

    Are those new features, or is something amiss on my computer. Only thing I can see is that I'm not using the IE as my standard browser, since I use Opera here. But with the older version of Google Earth, this wasn't a problem. Google Earth opend the IE, and I could live with that.

    So as long as that isn't fixed, I will go on with the old 4.2.version.
     
  18. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    At least for US state searches, a Department of Transportation map from the state you are searching in helps immensely to know what railroad you are searching and what routes they run.
     

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