What is the cause for the degradation of environment?
Capitalism, corruption, consuming society? - OVERPOPULATION!
Please, save the Planet - kill yourself...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Environment" TV-broadcast: waste-treatment plant in St. Petersburg

I had another TV experience last Thursday (previous story here). This time we talked about waste-treatment plant which is going to be build near St. Petersbourg by some Greek company. The main issue is that contest for the project of the plant they won was closed to public review, so there is no information on technology or estimated costs for the waste treatment for the population. Also there is no information on the environmental impact assessment. The contest itself was announced in England O_o and main negotiations took part in Germany O_o... So obviously the whole project is the essence of the corruption in Russia. But really bad news is that this plant will incinerate waste...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Responsibility in Spatial Planning

Currently I have a part-time job in a small "institute" for spatial planing (I highly doubt that I will keep working for them any longer) as an ecologist. It has several challenges such as unappreciated and low paid labour; low overall qualification in GIS (despite a great deal of work related to GIS); top management do not give a fuck about quality of project, workers, etc. and only cares about deadlines; master plan creation != scientific approach; most of the are relatively cheep nowadays because all the big territories have their master plans.
    Actually, the last point is a problem only in minds of top management and other workers - I have a different opinion. These small projects (for the smallest municipalities) are a great advantage to demonstrate an ultimate modern scientific, sustainable and open-minded approach to spatial planing and to develop skills of the young workers (more than 90% of employees are younger than 30). But the general approach for to this relatively cheap contracts is to do somewhat and somehow, they think that small municipalities (opposite to the entire regions) are not cool, that everything is the same there, they are not worthy efforts... And here the responsibility starts.

    A lot of people are not aware about sustainable development. And I believe that most of people in spatial planing industry in Russia do not know what these words mean. The key words to understand sustainable development are "responsibility" (to nature and people) and "quality of life": we are responsible for everything that happening around. We are  responsible for quality of our lives, quality of lives of people around, quality of lives of people we are working for (consumers of goods and services, provided by our labour)... And here responsibility starts.

    A role of spatial planing in sustainability must be recognised - that's where sustainable decisions should be implemented in the first place, because master plans are an official document and a basis for development of the region or municipality.

    Pride is the most serious of the 7 deadly sins and the source for others. I'm an atheist but I can't reject the wisdom. Isn't pride the root of the opinion that small municipalities are not worthy efforts in spatial planning? Or the maybe it is stupidity?

    Ok. Which of the following proud statements is more probable?
    1. We were able to create a solid, comprehensive land use plan for the entire region.
    2. We were able to create a solid, comprehensive land use plan for the local municipality.
    Of course it is #2! Larger area guarantees only greater amount of work and a greater butthurt - not the greater achievements. Only spatial planing for the local municipalities (which seems significant on the global scale) is able to make a difference. Just think about it: creation of the spatial planing documentation is very expensive for small municipalities, so it will be too difficult (because it is expensive) for them to make changes in this documentation. Documentation on spatial planing is very important, because will determine development of this communities for the next couple of decades so if there is no good strategy proposed, then municipalities will suffer. On the other hand no good strategy will be proposed in the situation when the job is treated as unworthy. That means that shitty documentation will guarantee shitty life for small municipalities for the next 20 years.

    It is another illustration of the principle that in the world driven by money reach will multiply their wealth and poor will grow poorer.
    1. Do not treat your clients as unworthy just because they do not have enough money to feed your greed, or the project is much smaller than your egotism. 
    2. If you are unable to find a challenge in lesser project, it means you are not skilled or qualified enough for the job. 
    3. Be responsible, especially if well-being of thousands of people depends on you.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    QGIS for D&D part 2: picking up projection.

    As it was discussed earlier, it could be wise to create a GIS-support for D&D campaign.  Let's describe it further. I suggest you read the manual for QGIS if you are not familiar with this software. And for information about projection, please read section 6 of QGIS manual (at present time manual for 1.6.0 version is available)

    As we decided to use GIS, the first thing we have to take into account is projection(s) we will use. 

    QGIS (as other GIS software) is a scientific programme and was not meant to be used for imaginary word, which parameters are obviously different to Earth. But I believe it is not a problem. Firstly, in QGIS it is possible to determine your own parameters for the ellipsoid of imaginary planet. PROJ4 is used in QGIS so you can read documentation if you want to do it the hard way.

    To my mind it is Ok to use Earth parameters for your world - it will save a lot of time and our planet is actually big enough to place everything you need ;-) 

    Here is my approach:
    1. It is necessary to define projection for the entire map - it should represent adequate squares of the empires, mounts, oceans, etc.
    2. It is necessary to define projection for the layers of the map - it should be easily utilised in any projection of the map.
    3. Projections for the map and layer are not necessary to be the same.

    It is necessary to define projection for the whole project (section 2.5 of QGIS manual) and for the layers. Projection of the map should be equal area, because it will be handy to understand sizes of the Great Deserts and Dead Man's Lakes. To my mind Albers equal area conic projection is the best choice if only a part of the planet (world) is designed. You should decide where on the Earth globe your area is located ad define projection parameters accordingly. 

    For example I use these parameters for current campaign: +proj=aea +lat_1=40 +lat_2=55 +lat_0=0 +lon_0=-120 +x_0=0 +y_0=-4000000 +ellps=WGS84 +datum=WGS84 +units=m +no_defs

    You will need to adjust lat_1 and lat_2 parameters to frame latitudes for the desired location, and other parameters could be the same.

    NB: units for the given example are meters, but it is obvious that DM would prefer foots for the length measurement. This is not a problem due to it is possible to set up needed units in project properties.

    For layers it will be the best choice to use unprojected lat/long WGS84 reference system. It will allow its easy usage when you will decide to extend your world and evade a lot of re-projection issues.

    The next issue to be encountered is starting drowning in the right place: the map will be totally empty and it will be hard to understand where the borders of the area should be located. But there is nothing to worry about: just decide where your area would be located at the Earth globe (lat/lon frame), then open the layer (lat/lon) in totally new project and use "Numerical Vertex Edit" tool (you will have to install ot via "Fetch Python Plugins" menu) to place several points with needed coordinates that will be an orienter for the area borders.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    About GDP flaws

    Here you can find some short and clear insights about GDP flaws in prosperity measuring and about The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) implementation instead.


    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Me in the TV

    Diploma for participating in live TV broadcast
    I was in the middle of cleaning my inline skates' bearings when my scientific adviser called me. I thought he finally found some time to check my thesis's plan, even if the probability of such event is even lower than the probability of the question he asked me: 

    - "Do you have a time to take part in the discussion on the TV today?" 
    - "Let me think about it..." - I said while was cleaning my fingers from the lubricant, - "OF COURSE I DO!... By the way, what is the subject of discussion?"