Thu, 17 Mar 2005


I've been doing a lot of work lately on mapping. If you go look at the bicycling category, you'll see some of it. I need to improve the programs that make those maps, but once I'm satisfied with them I'll publish them here. Most generally I want to do GIS-style analysis of maps, only without using a GIS package. The most capable open source GIS package is GRASS, but it has an incredibly steep learning curve. I've tried to learn to use it twice now, and can't get up the slope. It's easier to write my own software than to learn to use GRASS. So that's what I'm doing, and you'll find all of my Python GIS software at pygps.

In particular, today I'm releasing the LatLonUTMconversation library. It converts (predictably enough) between latitude and longitude and UTM coordinates. A GPS receiver will give you lat/lon, but UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) coordinates are more useful. For one, you can compute distances using them, since each integer UTM tick is one meter. For another, you can locate a point on a map by simple subtraction and division by the scale of the map.

Posted [17:51] [Filed in: gis] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Learn Something New Every Day!

I had suspected that there was a northward-heading railroad in Pulaski, but hadn't found any details. I had already noticed the arches to the west of the bridge north of the junction. I also noticed the railbed-ish area in front of people's houses to the north of that. So, I had my suspicions. Did a bit of searching on the aerial photos, and yup, there it is! It's the Syracuse Northern Railroad. Went straight through Pulaski to Sandy Creek. Curved around to the east and met up with the RW&O at Lacona. So, just as I'd always suspected, the curve south of Pulaski used to be a crossing of two competing railroads.

UPDATE: Dick Palmer wrote an article on "Oswego County Railroads" published by the Oswego County Historical Society in 1962. He tells me that the Syracuse Northern line opened 1872, and was abandoned from Pulaski to Lacona in 1882. The engine house was located at Sandy Creek. It's also discussed in Hungerford's History of the RW&O (1927). One of Sam Sloan's first acts was to get rid of it. The line was considered redundant and was torn up despite protests. There is a birdseye view of Pulaski showing the stone bridge over Salmon River. House in back of courthouse was the depot (if it's still there). There's no listing in Existing Railroad Stations for Pulaski.

Posted [10:23] [Filed in: railroads] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]