The Resurrection of Waldo

June 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

Back in the day, in GIS class, our final lab project was an exercise called “Where’s Waldo?” in which we were given a map of a made-up fantasy land called Finglepostein (actually a map of some state park in Washington, I think) and we had to navigate Waldo through orc camps and spy towers along the best path to save the princess from aliens that landed and captured her (or something along those lines).  This was not terribly difficult, but it was complicated, and took me several weeks to do.  I entitled my final project The Death of Waldo, which my advisor thought was funny. 

The other day, when I was looking at apartments, my dad asked me if there was a way to make a map of Albuquerque that showed areas with high crime rates, and also if I could plot out all of my potential apartment locations and make a path to all of them that would allow us to save the most gas.  And I said well, yes, those things are possible to do but I couldn’t do them without a lot more time, data, and most importantly GIS software.  My dad seemed surprised that I didn’t have GIS on my computer.  Um, yeah dad, for one thing it’s reaaallly expensive and for another, if I had GIS software on this computer, it would die.

So he settled for a GPS unit instead.  It’s really for me, because it’s going in my car, but my dad knows it will go to good use, as I am rather directionally challenged.  We went to Circuit City today and ended up with a shiny brand spankin new tomtom.  I looked at the Garmins too.  I learned GPS navigation on a Garmin handheld, and I like them a lot, they are a good brand.  But the tomtom had more features that I wanted so that’s what I got.

I’m getting excited to go now, and nervous.  Just a couple more days and my life will drastically change.  I spent yesterday at the cottage to spend time with/say goodbye to my family.  They are pretty cool people, especially my grandpa, who at 92 still enjoys a game of pool and discussions about reality television.  And it was a really great day, despite the sudden storm that blew up and almost knocked us off our kayaks.  I’ll definitely miss it here.

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