Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Still playing with maps

I'm not feeling very good about myself at the moment. Haven't really been feeling pleased with myself and my progress at all since my supervisor left for Cambodia three weeks ago. He's back now and bumping into him on Friday afternoon has triggerred some self-guilt-tripping. I probably deserve it.

As you may have realised, my struggles with GIS eventually led to abandonment of effort. While talking with my mum last night on the phone, I realised that essentially, I've wasted a ridiculous amount of time. What I've always needed is someone to come sit next to me in front of the computer and show me how things are done. Instead of investing some effort in finding someone to do this for me, I've been trying on my own in vain and finally gave up. This is mainly because I don't like asking people for help. It's not like I suffered in silence: I told others in my research group that I was having problems, but no one offered to help. And now I find myself with three days left at the office and no chance of getting anywhere with this.

This realisation made me go back to the program and try a few new things out. But all I have at the moment are some new numbers that don't add up, and a simplistic - and probably all wrong - map of land use diversity in Cyprus (yellow is low and blue is high).

The other thing I realised over the weekend was that I've completely ignored the question of site selection. I've spent a huge amount of time reading about bird survey methods (and completely failed to write any of it up), but I didn't even think of where I ought to carry out the surveys! What sort of sample will I use? Will it be stratified random? How will I stratify? According to habitat or landscape type or crop type or what? I will be working on multiple spatial scales. How does that affect my sampling design?

I feel like an idiot. I've been doing so little these last two weeks and left so many unanswered questions at a point when I should be ready to go out and start working. What's my excuse?

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