Published an update today that fixes a bug that was causing a false error message when entering Grand Geyser eruptions.
Fixed a bug on the sync adapter with the app that entries would not sync under a certain circumstance. Also added a rule to the duration parser so it will not parse any durations that contain a “/” until we get time to correctly handle those durations.
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!
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.
Released an update to the Android app this evening that fixes the webcam feed to work off the new changes that the NPS made to their feed.
Released an update to the website today.
Things in this update include:
- Behind the scenes complete overhaul of the management system for the data loggers
- Standardized duration parsing
- Data archives downloads
- Adds back in a basic night mode
- Disabled auto tilt on Google Maps
- Added a link from the geyser page to the map page
- Enhancements to the retrieve page that should speed up queries.
We have been a bit quiet lately as we have been hard at work getting some new stuff ready for release soon. Here is an update for what has been going on behind the scenes lately.
We currently have been focusing on finishing our system to manage all the uploading and updating to all the data logger data. This is partly in conjunction with working on the data for the GOSA research permit for the Sawmill group. Most of these improvements you will not see but this system has been in the works for about 3 years and we are excited that this will be completed with the next release. Also we have added a duration parser. This parser currently understands about 97% of all the eruption durations that have been entered in GT over time. This parser will take the text that you enter and will store that exact time value in the database and it will even keep track of the resolution of the duration (whether it was entered to the second or to the minute). This will allow us to easily make charts in future releases that will include duration. This is not the only new feature you will see. Our new team member Demetri has added a link on each eruption page that will take you to the next or previous primary eruption for that geyser. He is also working on adding a timeline view to the date summary page. In addition to that we are adding those wonderful tool tips that appear on the home page when you hover over an eruption to the date page and to related entries on the eruption detail screen.
Tom has been hard at work updating layouts and fixing a few bugs. In the next app release notes will now be displayed inline with the eruptions just like it currently is done on the web platform. Also we think we finally have that bug where the date bar gets screwed up and you cant see the new day with out restarting the app finally squashed. Some features that will not be included in this next release but are in the works include the ability to stream the webcam to any Chromecast enabled device. Also we are adding a way to download additional data to your phone so you can have the full history if you so like. Finally we are starting to work on a notification system that will be able to ping you if a prediction window has opened or a new eruption is posted.
Unfortunately right now we are back to having no one that is actively interested or is able to make an iOS application.