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Customer Spotlight: Geoff Bogie Uses MapViewer To Look For Missing Flight

Golden Software customers possess a broad assortment of backgrounds from earth science and engineering to education and politics. This vast background results in a variety of uses for Golden Software’s products. Each customer uses the software in a unique way, and we are pleased to share these stories. This newsletter features Geoff Bogie, of Alice Springs Resources, NT, Australia, who used MapViewer to propose a new search site for missing Malaysian Flight MH370 after finding variables within a seabed area that formulate an anomaly zone.

Saturday March 8, 12:41AM, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 departs on schedule for a flight to Beijing. At 1:19 they make contact with air-traffic control. Everything seems normal. That is the last contact they will make. At 2:15 military radar loses track of them, having made a sharp turn to the west instead of following their designed trajectory north, and at 8:11 a final satellite communication puts the plane somewhere due west of Australia on what is now being called the ‘7th Arc’. Thousands upon thousands of square miles of ocean have been searched, but nothing has been found. Theories abound that someone took control of the plane 1 hour into the flight and that the plane was on autopilot when it crashed, but the only thing that is known for sure is that 239 passengers and crew vanished that day.

Satellite Position of Missing Flight MH370
Satellite communications with MH370 puts the plane along these arcs at the given times. The 7th arc,
determined by the satellite communications firm Inmarsat, marks the last ‘known’ location. Image
modified from: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26503141.

Saturday March 8, Alice Springs, NT, Australia - That same morning, Geoff Bogie of Alice Springs in Central Australia woke, poured himself a cup of coffee, and turned on the news. “That a 270 ton plane had vanished into thin air was surely a mistake,” he remembers thinking. Geoff, felt he was in a unique position to help. As a mineral explorer and mining contractor, he has 30 years of experience in plotting target position maps down to 1 meter accuracy. “The urgency and personal input of helping to solve this mysterious puzzle got me motivated,” he recalls. “I plotted the MH370 target site in the same way as I would plot mineral targets across ground that I have not physically placed a foot upon.” He felt that in order to find this aircraft, he would need to do three things: 1) abandon the large search area and instead come up with a 1-meter accuracy point position, 2) remain unbiased by theories on how the aircraft had come to be in the Southern Ocean area, and 3) keep in mind the arcs and projected flight path that the Inmarsat satellite company engineers plotted and tested.

He decided to start by combing Google Earth … but where to start looking? As several countries joined the search, scouring the South China Sea for any sign of wreckage, Geoff’s thoughts put the missing plane closer to his home, some 2,000 kilometers W-SW of Perth, Australia. His feelings were later confirmed when the search shifted to Inmarsat’s 7th Arc bandwidth, though investigators only covered a few kilometers east and west of the centerline on the southern section of the arc. From researching oceanic currents, Geoff felt that the wreckage was farther off the arc centerline.

In defining a zone, and subsequent plot point, he ended up concentrating on the Tasman Outflow (blue arrows in the figure below), which is a westbound bottom-ocean current ‘supergyre’ that sweeps past Tasmania and links the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Southern Ocean basins. As the Tasman Outflow extends westerly across the Southern Ocean, a new heading to the south, below Madagascar is taken, out from South Africa’s east coast. Tracking south, the current meets with eastbound waters rounding the Cape of Good Hope, combining as Sub-Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Geoff sat down in front of his go-to program, MapViewer, and began mapping out these ocean currents on a base map from Google Earth. At that point, he noticed a NE-SW trending, 100 kilometer long trough with prominent ridge, where a succession of seafloor hills taper down by some 280 meters elevation across a 90 kilometer length zone heading E-SE. Somewhere near -35.09o S, 90.80o E, the west flowing Tasman Outflow current changes heading to W-NW by virtue of the landform acting as a steering device. This unique location, 61 nautical miles northwest of the 7th arc bandwidth centerline, is where Geoff proposes the MH370 resting place. Objects finding their way to a narrow horizon interval below the bottom-ocean current, within this zone, thereafter remain obscured at 3,900 meters below on the seabed floor.

MapViewer Proposed Target Area - Missing MH370 Plane
Taking into account geology and topography of the ocean floor, along with hydrography, Geoff Bogie
proposes the final resting place of Malaysian flight MH370 within an area which has gone unsearched.
This map of that final resting place was created when Geoff imported a Google Earth image into
MapViewer and overlaid a graticule to give the image a georeferenced location that he then used to
plot the 7th arc and his proposed target location.

On May 8, Geoff submitted a first draft of his results paper, titled Review of missing Malaysian Flight MH370, to the Joint Agency Co-Ordination Centre (JACC) – the agency created to be the Australian point-of-contact for the public and all those affected by missing flight MH-370. On July 9 he submitted a revised draft. Other than a confirmation email, to his knowledge nothing has directly been done with his findings, but recently airline pilots and professionals familiar with the design of these passenger aircrafts have made public comments offering support for a Southern Ocean resting place. They also support an ‘intact and gradual’ sinking theory (which Geoff postulated early on) which would explain why no wreckage has been found. Though it would appear that few contributors ventured as far as Geoff has in proposing a niche ocean anomaly zone whereby ‘thermohaline circulation’ or a ‘global current conveyor belt’ has an influence as to what remains undetected on the seafloor of this unique extraordinary zone, Geoff remains confident in his map.

To date the missing Malaysia flight MH370 plane has not been found, but Geoff remains optimistic that his map and the effort that he and countless others expounded will help bring closure to the families of those lost that day.

For more information, see:
Ocean ‘supergyre’ link to climate regulator
Australia discovers ocean current “missing link”

Download the PDF version of this article.

 

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30 December 2015
Surfer

Golden Software customers possess a broad assortment of backgrounds from earth sciences and engineering to education and politics. This vast background results in a variety of uses for Golden Software’s products. Each customer uses the software in a unique way, and we are pleased to share these stories. This blog features Dr. John Hall of the Geological Survey of Israel and his use of Surfer.

Dr. Hall is a marine geophysicist and doctoral graduate from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological (now Earth) Observatory. Upon the completion of his doctorate, he worked for the Geological Survey of Israel until his retirement at the end of 2005. His research includes global tectonics, offshore geophysical surveys, and compilations of detailed gridded topography for Israel and neighboring areas. Although Dr. Hall is retired, he continues to utilize Golden Software’s own contouring, gridding, and 3D surface mapping program, Surfer.

“I have used Surfer since the time that it worked on piddling little grids with maybe 100 by 100 nodes and a thousand data points,” recalls Dr. Hall. His first copy of Surfer was a DOS version which ran on IBM’s Personal Computer Advanced-Technology (PC-AT). During this time, Dr. Hall used an innovative technique on the first PC-AT to generate grids. This technique generated the 25 meter grid of Israel by coloring in the areas between 10 meter contours on the 1:50,000 topographical sheets as he was not permitted to digitize the contours.

Surfer Grid Map - Israel
This image is the result of 12,000 hours of heads-up digitizing
on PC-ATs between 1987 and 1992 as viewed in Surfer.

Surfer has come a long way since the DOS version and is now used by Dr. Hall to create Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) of the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Red Sea and the Caspian Sea. To create these DTMs, hundreds of thousands of digitized soundings are compiled and then gridded using Surfer’s kriging method. As is the case with most digitized soundings, errors, also known as artifacts, are prevalent; therefore Surfer is used to separate the artifacts from the DTMs for analysis. Combining the tools provided by Surfer and other mapping programs, Dr. Hall can generate impressive models.

Surfer Digital Terrain Model - Kriging Method
In 2010, Dr. Hall spent 44 days on the icebreaker, Healy, mapping
50,000 sq. km up to the North Pole to investigate new bathymetric features.
 

Dr. Hall’s recent projects are quite fascinating. Just last week, Dr. Hall kriged 46,000 digitized soundings and 10 meter contours for the Gulf of Suez to generate 50 meter UTM grids. The grids will be used by a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz to create seiche animations to potentially illustrate how the Israelites crossed the Red Sea ~3,300 years ago. Additionally, Dr. Hall contributed to the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) Cook Book for making grids of the world’s oceans and his chapter detailed his use of Surfer and the other software packages. He states Surfer “is the program of choice for interpolation of grids.”

We are pleased Dr. Hall has integrated Surfer into his workflow, and it is exciting to see his application of Surfer’s tools.

For additional information, visit the below links:

If you would like to be featured in a future Customer Spotlight, contact us.

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07 January 2016
Surfer

Golden Software customers possess a broad assortment of backgrounds from earth sciences and engineering to education and politics. This vast background results in a variety of uses for Golden Software’s products. Each customer uses the software in a unique way, and we are pleased to share these stories. This blog features John McMurray, President of Commercial Weather Services, Inc., and his use of SURFER in the application of meteorology and hydrology.

In the arena of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), an application of Meteorology and Hydrology has been bridged. With more than 30 years experience each; meteorologist John McMurray and hydrologists Rod Carson have developed detailed spatial resolution of Doppler radar data. John McMurray, President of Commercial Weather Services, Inc. (CWS) has used Golden Software's programs, PLOTCALL and GRAPHER, as far back as the mid 90's in the development of Wind Roses. A 1964 graduate from the NY State Maritime College, Fort Schuyler, BS Meteorology, John spent the next five years in the US Air Force. Separating as a Captain, the next venture was as a Broadcast Television meteorologist and as a private consultant to date.

Across the Nation there are more than 159 WSR-88 Doppler radar installations. From each site, on an approximate six (6) minute interval, digital pixel data is archived at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). This data is titled Level II NEXRAD.

The evolution of the data presentation begins with the use of the NCDC's “Weather Toolkit” software. The archived Level II data is layered on GOOGLE EARTH's terrain and street views. The radar data has a 1/2° x 250 m resolution. Precise latitude and longitude boundary points are determined and are used as grid point values in Surfer mapping software. Of paramount importance is to determine an exact pixel location utilizing the “digitize” feature of Surfer. The process continues, now with the pixel values, and the features of the hydrologists GETNEXRAD software. For the selected time period, an EXCEL output file is developed with rainfall values (dBz), incremental rainfall amounts (inches) and total amounts for each point and for each time increment.

Armed with the complete data set, the many features of Surfer mapping data software easily produce precise and informative surface and 3-D numeric and contoured color plots. These have been well received as exact and vivid presentations by both attorneys and engineers in a variety of fields.

For more information, John can be reached at cwsweather@sbcglobal.net or at his web site: cwsweather.com.

"Surfer has proved invaluable in my application of meteorology. My application was to
reconstruct heavy rainfall amounts in certain areas that resulted in flood problems. The plots
I put together have been well received by attorneys. To that end I put together a collage
of a few plots which illustrates what can be done."

John McMurray, President of Commercial Weather Services, Inc.

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