1. Changed computer date/time setting to Year_Month_Day and Military Time. This provides for a chronological order of archive files making them easier to find.
2. Created a common archive, lightning and viewshed folders under the C:\mapdata folder. This provides for a common storage area for all shot data, lightning data and viewsheds regardless of which DragonPlot instance is used to create the data.
1. Expanded the computations in the processed Lightning dbf file to include azimuth in Degrees_Minutes_Seconds and distance in Miles.
2. Can now also load the previously processed Lightning dbf file to shorten the load time of large files.
3. Created different symbols for positive and negative strikes
4. Eliminated distinction between plotting visible/masked and plotting negative/positive only strikes. Now plots all strikes with different symbols to identify the type of strike.
1. Placed perspective view(s) between Control Panel/Memo box and Blowup Map. Both shots in a cross-shot will now be visible (one below the other) instead of one on top of the other. This allows for roaming from either perspective view (in the case of a cross-shot) without bringing forward each view one separately at a time and allows for a larger memo box which is where all the important location data exists.
2. Eliminated the display of NAD27 lat/long and the UTM data for both NAD27 and WGS84. Display of this data is still available as an option. Also eliminated the lat/long of the tower. The result is that the only lat/long showing in the memo box is the lat/long of the target (fire) in WGS84.
3. Enlarged the type font and bolded the type to make the readout of information in the memo box easier to read.
4. Eliminated optional azimuth input from a tower in Locate mode.
5. Eliminated several map options that were not being used.
6. Changed view options….added icons for panoramic view, viewshed and line-of-sight.
Archiving Shot Data:
1. System autosaves all shot data with a date time code file in the DragonPlot archive folder.
2. User can add Incident number and further annotate the memo box and make multiple saves of the memobox information that will be saved in the DragonPlot archive folder with an incident number file name.
The BLM who manages the PLSS (Public Land Survey System) data files recently changed the structure of their files to include Lot numbers in all cases where a quarter-quarter section and sometimes a quarter section is not a perfect square. This generally occurs around the Northern and Western borders of most Townships and often around lakes. While this nomenclature is technically correct for surveying applications, it causes some problems in applications like DragonPlot where the use of Township, Range and Section information is primarily to communicate locations to paper map users such as ground crews.
In order to take advantage of the new PLSS files which often have better coverage than the old files and properly utilize the new file structure, we've made several changes to the software.
1. When plotting the location of a fire, the software will sometimes give a Lot number readout for the PLSS location. When this occurs, the user should refer to the blowup map to determine in the traditional way how the location should be communicated to a paper map user in terms of which quarter-quarter portion of a section the fire is located in.
2. When using the Locate mode and entering a PLSS location, the software will sometimes indicate that a quarter section is not in the data base and/or that a quarter-quarter section is not in the data base. When this occurs, the software will default back to the level were data does exist and convert that location to the lat/long equivalent. After plotting the location to the level where a lat/long equivalent does exist, the user can then place the cursor over the original location intended and read out the equivalent lat/long at the bottom of the screen.
Tiger files which contain roads and stream information have been updated to the latest 2009 files. In many cases this will include new roads that were not in the previous files. The new files use a different file format and can take a little longer to load than before with the additional data and the new format. The initial load of the software has been speeded up by creating an image of the regional Tiger files and overlaying them quickly on the regional map. The creation of the Tiger data on the Blow-up map (usually involving only 2 or 3 counties) is a bit slower than the previous file format but is more up-to-date. We're working on a way to further speed up this process.
Viewsheds (land area that is directly visible around each tower) are now pre-processed and instantly available by use of the Viewshed icon located in the View tab of the Control Panel. Multiple viewsheds can be displayed on the same regional map to give an idea of total tower coverage.
An advanced option "switch" has been added to the Options function along the top of the main window. When checked, this option allows access to a multitude of options including the underlying software settings. In many cases…..this is territory that is not recommended to be accessed.
There is a function named Range Circles which is an icon located along the top of the map. This allows the user to create a circle in red around the location where the range circle is placed with a radius determined by the user. This is frequently useful in creating a reference area for zooming in on the map.
CHANGES AND UPGRADES
EDSON AREA DEMONSTRATION UNIT
> Expanded regional high-resolution DEM to include entire Edson Management Area.
> Added lookout towers for all of Edson Management Area (14 towers).
> Pinpointed tower locations using topographical maps, photo archives, satellite imagery, and data provided by SRD.
> Added contextual data layers: Roads, Place Names, Landmarks.
> Pre-loaded viewsheds for each tower.
> Added Alberta Township System grids to map projections. Grids appear on target area view map; and location expressed as both decimal Lat/Long and as Township/Range/Section/Quartersection.
> Changed desktop photo to one which better reflects the capabilities of the system.
KAIZEN: CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
We hope that you will find this version to be a vast improvement to the former "Athabasca" demo system. From a programming standpoint, it was completely re-built from zero to accommodate the new data and unfamiliar formats. Due to the complexity of the task, and for time concerns to provide maximum coverage this fire season, the Edson Area demo (as is the greater Alberta system at large) is still considered a work in progress.
Certain capabilities present in the Athabasca demo may not be fully functional in this version. Our priority has been to provide the highest accuracy, with contextual and cartographic references, to be of greatest use to the towerman and/or dispatcher.
That said, our work is nearing completion on a single system which would be usable for the entire province of Alberta. Each of the ten (10) management areas is contained in its own regional DEM as well as the DEM for Alberta as a whole. Separate instances of DragonPlot for each area include all the towers for that area, and function exactly like the Edson Area demo.
Major improvements to the next release of DragonPlot include:
> Re-introduction of the KML function.
For practical reasons, the ability to export DragonPlot data to satellite imagery using Google Earth has been removed. We hope to include this capability in future versions. We encourage your feedback, to let us know how this function would be used, and how it fits your agency needs.
> Permit Fires
We believe that the current Lightning Module could be easily adapted to the mapping out of fire permits on a daily or seasonal basis. We would like to work closely with you, so this can be accomplished to your specifications. Meanwhile, we encourage you to experiment with using the lightning module in this way, and would be eager to hear of your results.
> Additional Data Layers
The addition of more data layers, organized in such a way as to be toggled on and off, is an idea we're excited about. Again, we would like to work directly with you to create this with the lookout/dispatch in mind. DragonPlot functions best as a remote location tool. Certain contextual data furthers that purpose, but it should not be considered a general GIS tool.
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: 2011 EDITION
We feel we have constructed a remarkably stable system, considering the massive amount of information DragonPlot processes. Please observe certain general suggestions to maximize your experience:
1) Boot Up
2) Panoramic View
3) First Shot
1) Boot Up
The much larger DEM, and the addition of roads and landmarks in the Gazetteer, will cause the system to boot more slowly than you may be accustomed to in the prior version. Be patient. Once these large files are loaded into local memory, the system runs and even re-loads much faster.
2) Panoramic View
Lookouts currently using DragonPlot are trained to load the instance labeled PAN first thing upon opening the lookout for service. This instance is for the lookout's reference only, and may take a minute or two to load. Once loaded, it can be backgrounded to provide a tower-view panorama on demand with no load time.
3) First Shot
Once PAN is loaded and minimized, we recommend opening the first instance (here, labeled "DP_Edson_1") and doing a practice shot. This will set the default tower to local and pre-load the Gazetteer files into memory. Subsequent shots will process at full system speed.
Should the system hang or become sluggish, simply shut it down using the [CLOSE PROGRAM] button, and restart the program. If you notice a persistent crash or error message, please let us know about it. Our goal is to work with all our users to make DragonPlot the best it can be.