Friday, May 30, 2008

So It Begins! Surveying the Property

Wednesday was a very exciting day for ISLAND. While many of you know us through our events and workshops, the real core of our program is the 9.2 acre property which we are developing into a working permaculture homestead and artists residency. It's a slow process.

On Wednesday, though, we took another small but very important step: surveying the property. Five volunteers -- Doug, Toby, Paul, Libby and Bob -- came out from 10 am to 6:30 pm to help us translate the bumpy, curvy, tree and plant filled landforms to numbers and paper.

Surveying helps us to understand the landforms that we're living on, which will help us understand (and predict) the way water, wind and sunshine move across the property. That means we have better information when we're deciding where to place buildings, gardens and trees.

Oh, and if you missed it, we're just getting started. Expect another surveying day soon. and contact us if you're interested in helping!

Enjoy the pictures! Click on the thumbnail for a full size version.

Doug showing us the finer points of rod and transit work
Toby holding up the pole all day. Imagine your job being to keep a 16' tall pole very very straight in one direction while rocking it back and forth in the other.
Doug and Toby working on the math. Rods come in 1/10ths and 1/8ths. We should have gotten the 1/10ths.
While those guys found every 2' drop in elevation, Bob and Paul used a homemade water level to run contour lines out 30-40' on either side, even deep into the shrubbery. Later they went back with a compass and measuring tape -- now we can plot those contours onto the map!
In the meantime, Libby and Brad (me) used a 300' tape to triangulate the locations of the road, trees, rocks and clearings. Here, Bob and Libby learn how to scale those measurements down using a compass and an engineering rule.
And then it goes on the map! The great part about this is that the information from all three teams locks together on the map, so we're on our way to a 3-d baseline from which to design. Once the map is done we'll make a bunch of large-scale photocopies, buy some tracing paper and sketch design ideas right on top of the map.

The whole day was a dream for a math and survey dork like me. Around 6:00 we cleaned up our gear, rubbed our sunburned necks and retired to Shorts Brewing Company for some well earned pizza and pints. Thanks all!

And yes, we'll do it again. We'll likely expand the team from 6 to 10 people and introduce some new techniques, like surveying with a compass and tape, finding slope with a 4' level and a tape measure, and measuring the heights of trees with two kinds of clinometer (one from the store, one made for about $2 worth of materials!) and our friend Sohcahtoa. Contact us if you're interested in helping!

1 comment:

turtlewoman said...

I did this stuff a couple of times while working on my PDC. I sure wish I was there to help out as I really need the practice. Besides, when everyone is working together like that it is just so much fun. :-D