Monday, November 1, 2010

Hiking the Catskills in 4D!

This past weekend I had my first introduction to what is known among the hiking community as "Peak bagging". From wikipedia:

Peak bagging (also hill bagging, mountain bagging, Munro bagging, or among enthusiasts, just bagging) is an activity in which hillwalkers and mountaineers attempt to reach the summit of some collection of peaks, usually those above some height in a particular region, or having a particular feature.

We bagged three peaks, two of them twice, since we had to retrace our route to get back to the car. This is known as a lollipop loop:

This is the overhead 2D map view. Latitude vs. Longitude. Pretty simple. And now that I finally have some interesting altitude data, I started working on the third (and, inadvertently, fourth) dimension to my program-

This is the Altitude Profile of our hike. Altitude vs. Time. If you notice, the first two peaks and last two peaks are nearly mirror images of each other, which is an interesting result of the lollipop loop.

The heights of the peaks are the same, but the widths are different, probably because I was going faster on the way out. It was starting to get dark...

So, now I have two 2D abstractions of our hike. Now, all I need to do is mash them together (that's a technical term) and I'll have 3D!