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Geotracking through Alaska

I recently took a vacation to Alaska. It was a great escape from the city, and an awesome return to the backcountry for my Brother and I, who have both spend time backpacking there. There are a few photos in this blog post, and the rest of them, including captions describing most of the trip, can be found over on flickr. Check out all the Alaska photos.

View from our kitchen

The view from our kitchen in the backcountry of Denali State Park

During the trip, I took about 700 pictures, along with a few videos. My father also took a couple hundred, as did my brother. I actually uploaded all the photos to flickr, but I think for the sake of time and giving you a good overview of the trip, I’m only making the top 50 or so publicly accessable. If you would like to see more photos from a particular section of the trip, or if you’re planning a trip to the AK and want to know more about any particular section of it, just let me know. I’d be happy to open up more photos and videos.

Throughout the trip, I carried my Garmin eTrex Vista HCx GPS with me, with rechargeable batteries and a 1gb micro SD Card. It was set to record a track log every 30 seconds, and was on for most of the trip. Additionally, for road navigation, I as using Garmin’s US Road Atlas 2008. The whole system worked very well. I made sure to synchronize the clock in my camera, as well as my fathers and brothers cameras to the clock in the gps, so that all time stamps line up.

Flying next to Denali

We took a flight with Talkeetna Air Taxi around the mountains in Denali National Park. The maximum altitude for the plane was 10,000 feet, but Denali tops out around 20,000 feet. The whole flight we were flying very very close to the steep walls of the mountains.

When I got home, I successfully merged the GPS track log with the EXIF data on the photos, and Geotagged each photos. If you go to the flickr photo set, you’ll see a map link on each photo, which will show you on a map approx where the photo was taken. The gps is typically accurate to about 7 feet, and since it takes a track log recording every 30 seconds, if i was moving while shooting, depending on how fast i was moving (500+ mph in the air, 2mph hiking, etc), the location could be off a bit.

Extending the geocoding of the pictures a little further, I used Jet Photo studio to create this interactive photo gallery, with the Google Maps API. Each photo is placed on the map at around where it was taken. Additionally, all the (public) photos have map links, which will place them on the map.

Purple Flowers

These flowers were blooming in a recently burned down forest. Regrowth and renewal.

Media Links:

Flickr photoset of Alaska 2008. If you’re a friend of mine on flickr, you should be able to see slightly more pictures than what I’ve made public.

RSS Icon RSS Feed of photo set

Geofeed

Geotagged photo map (Flickr)

Geotagged photo map (Google)

During the backcountry portion of the trip, my brother and I found a crashed NOAA Weather Balloon with an attached Radiosonde. I’m writing about that in a separate post.

We made a bunch of friends in Alaska. Here’s the blurbs on a few of them…

Andy Morrision runs Alaska Backcountry Access, his own outdoor guide company. Andy is a great guide, and does a ton of trips. We went jet boating up the river, and kayaking with him

Rachel Drinkard lives in Girdwood, and works as a reporter and writer. Her blog, Anarchy in the AK, covers all sorts of Alaskan issues and stories. She came boating and kayaking with us.

Ron Tenny and his wife Michelle run the Hidden Creek Bed and Breakfast, and were very hospitable to us. We had a great time staying there, an awesome breakfast, and fun discussing the area, and the industry with Ron and his son and daughter.

In Girdwood, we grabbed a relaxing dinner and felt like locals at Chair 5.

In Anchorage, we had pizza at the Moose’s Tooth Brewpub.

Seward Harbor

The marina in Seward, Alaska. The Chugatch mountains are jutting out in the background.

And for the videos – I’m posting up two videos to this post, but there are many more – including the full footage from the weather balloon. Those will go up in a bit, after I’m done editing them together etc.

Ermine Hill, Denali State Park, Alaska

Taking a break on after hiking to the top of Ermine Hill, a small peak within the Kesugi Ridge, in Denali State Park, Alaska. The view up there was incredible, and the terrain made us feel like we were on another planet. After finding a weather balloon crashed, I kept on expecting to find a lunar rover or something.

Flying Next To Denali

During our flight with Talkeetna Air Taxi, we flew right next to Denali, making sharp turns to weave in and out of the peaks, and through the clouds.

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