Monday, January 23

Why can't I get this right?

It's update season at work and while much of the tedious digitizing and data entry are done by my colleague, other demands have kept me off balance for far too long.  When I first began doing this work for Seven Islands, I would spend 3 or 4 weeks in the summer getting the winter cuts completed.  Near Christmas I would start to get the rest of the year's cut updates which demanded most if not all my time.  By early January I typically would be working 60+ hours a week and that would continue right up to January 31 - the day before the reports were to be at the State offices. 

Back then, it was much more time consuming and mind numbing than now.  Over the years I used my programming and scripting skills to build tools to automate a great deal of typing on a command line.  For those who are unfamiliar with the command line, it is a plain black screen that you type program commands to interact with software and data.  You may know what a DOS prompt is.... it's like that, kind of. 

The process would start with map of a township (about 36 square miles) attached to a 36" x 48" digitizing tablet.  To that I'd tape a smaller hand drawn map created by one of the foresters that depicts the harvest blocks.  Using a puck (mouse like device with 16 buttons) to trace the blocks. I would capture the size, configuration, spatial location and scale of the areas to be updated.  If there was a fun and easy part it would be that.  The data entry is the mind numbing part.  Entering information like harvest prescription, equipment used, residual stand type and anticipated next treatment gets old quick.  Especially since typing errors would cause fatal errors at some point in the process.

Now instead of typing commands to select, each polygon then another command to enter each attribute, of which there are 16 for every polygon, the program asks question and puts the responses in the proper attribute fields.  At the same time each entry is validated against a list of acceptable entries and refuses anything not on the lists.  This guarantees only the integrity of the data.

As of tonight, all updates have been completed and processed.  The reports needed by the Chief Forester for the purpose of reporting to the State of Maine have been submitted. 

Now I can finally take a breath and relax...... tonight it took me 6 miles on the deadmill before I felt like all the cob-webs in my head were swept clear..... There are a number of other projects that need attention, but the big one is gone for now.... looking forward to getting some quality time on the bike trainer and deadmill. 

My first prep race before Boston will be a new local half marathon called the MidCoast 13.1 on March 11.  Check it out.  Looks fun.

Run Strong


Westy said...

Nothing like running to clear the mind. That half marathon looks good, is it full?

TreeMapper said...

Nope, I just registered. If you and Cody want to run it you can stay here at the house. You game?