On April 15, 2011, GeyserTimes first went live. It looked like this.
Since then, over 800,000 geyser eruption observations have been entered into the online database. A lot of features have been added over time including connecting to Alan Glennon’s geysers.net database, an Android App developed by Will Boekel that affords offline access to the data, and an application for archiving and viewing electronic temperature monitoring data.
Still, there are things I would like to do with GeyserTimes that I’ve been dreaming about since day 1. Predictions can be improved as well as data analysis tools.
Of course, GeyserTimes wouldn’t be such a success were it not for the community of gazers dutifully entering information every time a geyser is observed erupting. Geyser gazing had long been a “crowd-sourcing” effort (on paper) before the phrase had even been coined. GeyserTimes has just been the internet-based, real-time, <insert tech buzzword> continuation of those decades of geyser gazing.
I’ll leave you with some print-outs that I received from Ralph Taylor in September 2010. I remember it quite clearly. It was like Christmas morning for me when Ralph pulled up in his truck and gave me statistical evaluations of recent geyser activity (1 MB). (It was during a period of false Beehive’s Indicator eruptions so it was very helpful!) I couldn’t get enough of the stats and charts. Geysers bring two things I love together: Yellowstone and statistics. Ralph’s work continues to be an inspiration. A few months after that Christmas in September, I started GeyserTimes.
Released and update to the Android app today. Things included are:
- Ability to download additional data to your device
- Option for automatic night mode activation (see note below)
- Fixes an issue with the day summary not populating today’s date if the app is left running overnight
- Added a “Recent Notes” tab on the Geyser Detail screen
- Entrants names are now links to their user profiles in dialogs for attachments, comments, and flags
- Notes now display inline with eruptions on the day summaries/timeline
- Fixed an issue with the Grand Geyser eruption stats getting cut off
- Added support to display the new standardized duration fields
- Fixed a crash for when viewing an eruption or note
- Improved display of user’s profiles
- Added Chromecast support to the webcam viewer
Note: The app now requests to see your rough location. This is used only to improve the performance of the automatic night mode switching feature as it allows your phone to get sunrise and sunset times for your general area. Your location is never sent to our servers and is never stored in the app. Also the Bluetooth sync on this version of the app is not compatible with older versions. Users must have at least this latest version to use the Bluetooth sync feature.
Just released a small update. Mostly has changes to allow the soon to be released update to the Android app to work. Also includes a timeline view for any day summary page, tool tips display in more places, and a few fixes to our admin system.
Yesterday’s cease & desist letter was indeed not real.
- It was from the law firm of Reamer & Marler. Robert Reamer was the architect of the Old Faithful Inn. George Marler was a geologist in Yellowstone National Park who did a lot of studying of geysers.
- The letter was signed by Stephen T. Mather who was the first superintendent of the National Park Service.
- The federal act being violated was the Freedom of Observational Logging Standards (FoOLS) Act.
I do enjoy a good April Fool’s joke that seems semi-plausible and draws on current events and emotions. The recent fight over copyrighted/trademarked names of historic locations in Yosemite National Park was an inspiration.
I honestly don’t know what the legal issues are surrounding the Old Faithful Webcam. I CAN tell you the major legal contract that concerns GeyserTimes. GeyserTimes uses a license called the Open Database License (ODbL) and I encourage you to read about it if you’ve ever contributed data to GeyserTimes.
Thanks! It’s been fun!
Cease and Desist Letter
I am already on top of this, but I want GeyserTimes users to be aware that I have received a Cease & Desist letter from a law firm claiming to represent the National Park Service. They are demanding that we immediately stop recording observations of eruptions from the Old Faithful webcam because they are copyrighted. Crazy, I know, read the letter.
I’m shocked at this development and I have contacted a lawyer. I plan to fight this action. I will keep you updated on proceedings. For now, PLEASE continue to enter observed eruptions in GeyserTimes. I am apparently the only one implicated here and they can’t go after anyone else.