DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Quarter 2 Journals

(4 Nov - 11 Jan)


|    1:35-5:45 PM     |     4 hours    |    Cumulative hours: 4.0 (2nd quarter)    |    geo2ECEF    |    4 November 2009     |


            Today, I again worked with manipulating data with MATLAB.   I learned that coordinates are not always in the familiar longitude/latitude form.  The geodetic coordinate system defines a position in terms of latitude, longitude, and altitude above the ellipsoidal surface of the Earth.  (This is needed because the Earth is not a perfect sphere.)  In contrast, the Earth Centered Earth Fixed (ECEF) coordinate system rotates with the Earth and has its origin at the center of the Earth.  The X axis passes through the equator at the prime meridian, the Z axis passes through the North pole, and the Y axis can be determined by the right-hand rule to be passing through the equator at 90o longitude.  Today, I learned the difference between these and a couple of other ways that people such as my mentor use location points – not always the conventional longitude/longitude coordinate.  I used “MATLAB Help” to aid me with creating a program to convert between these types of data. 


|    1:35-5:45 PM    |   4 hours    |    Cumulative hours: 8.0 (2nd quarter)    |    Round Trip     |    11 November 2009   |


            My mentor had asked me, as my “homework” assignment, to make a round trip somewhere -- coming back exactly the same way I came.  He wanted to see again how accurate the device is.  Some questions he wanted answered were: Will we be able to tell which lane I was in?  Will we able to see a lane change that I made?  How will data look when stopping at a stop light or stop sign?  Will we be able to differentiate between my trip there and my trip back?  Today at APL we looked through and commented on different parts of my round trip data – a trip to and from Harris Teeter.  We discovered that, at many points, the data points and the path drawn from the data points go way off the road or cross the other path, which are both impossible (it is not impossible to go off the road, but I am positive that I did not!)  Although in some places it looked as if the path were in the correct lane and position, in many cases this was not seen.  A small screenshot that exemplifies the errors of this data is shown below.  In this screenshot, not only do the paths cross (which should not happen –one is on the way there, one is on the way back) but the data points are off of the road!  Today, I had my interview questions ready for my mentor but he became incredibly busy, so we had to postpone our interview for the next week.



|  1:35-5:45 PM   |  4 hours   |  Cumulative hours: 12.0 (2nd quarter)   |   Picture & Interview   |   18 November 2009   | 


            Today, my mentor approached me with a question that made me feel very influential!  He told me that he was buying two more GPS data logging devices, and that he wants me to research different GPS data loggers and choose two (either different or the same) devices to buy.  We will eventually be doing a lot of research with the logging devices, so I felt like it was an important decision!  I also interviewed my mentor today.   Although he was rather busy, he took the time to answer my questions thoroughly.  We were in his office, so he had different magazines, periodicals, and even website databases to show me. Some website databases were similar to the ones from which I receive articles (Student Resource Center, for example), except they were obviously more advanced.  Although many things he wanted to show me were confidential, I got to see a great deal of resources that he is provided (and articles that he has written!).  My mentor told me it was difficult to answer some of the questions because he has such a broad background (he has received 5 completely different degrees throughout the years, and he has a lot of interests); where he could not answer a lot about GPS technology, he could have answered in detail about aerospace engineering.  At the end of the work day, I met up with Mihir and Michael to take a few pictures!


Seminar (+1 hour)

Seminar (+1 hour)


|   1:35-6:45 PM    |   5 hours   |   Cumulative hours: 18.0 (2nd quarter)   |   Personal Shopper   |   1 December 2009    |


           Last time I came into APL my mentor approached me with a question that made me feel very influential: he told me that he was buying two more GPS data logging devices, and that he wanted me to research different GPS data loggers and choose two (either different or the same) devices to buy.  Because we will eventually be doing a lot of research with the logging devices, I felt like it was an important decision!  Today, while researching different GPS data loggers, I created an Excel spreadsheet with the following columns: Name, Price, Weight, Capacity, Protocols, Software, Duration, and Power Supply.  I filled in the information that I found out about each logger (with the help of amazon.com and semsons.com).  I also included websites for each GPS data logger, where one can find out more information about each logger.  My mentor and I discussed the “nifty” Excel sheet, noting pros and cons of the different GPS devices.  Unfortunately, many were expensive; the range of prices of the GPS loggers on my Excel sheet was from $48.00 to $90.00.  The “Capacity” column on the excel sheet was probably the most useful; it showed the amount of data points the logger can hold (ranged from 240,000 data points to 1,040,000 data points).  I also received an e-mail from Pamela J. Napolillo (Education Outreach for APL), telling me about a booklet that she is putting together regarding the mentor program at APL.  She asked me to e-mail her two paragraphs – one about my internship at APL this year, the other about me, specifically.

|   1:35-5:45 PM    |   4 hours    |    Cumulative hours: 22.0 (2nd quarter)    |   "Networking"    |    9 December 2009    | 

             Today, my mentor walked me to another building to meet with a woman named Dawn, who gave me a bag full of interesting posters and packets of information.  I was very happy to meet her; Dr. Samsundar described it as “networking,” which he often describes is the key to success.  Dawn gave me her e-mail and told me that she would aid me with anything I need at APL (she was incredibly nice!).  Dawn used to be a schoolteacher, but now aids in preparing presentations to middle school, high school, and university presentations.  She told me about a program that she thought I might be interested in joining: Mars Education Student Data Teams (MESDT) are teams of high school students that are interested in science, engineering, or astronomy.  They aid in collecting data, conducting research, and analyzing data from the CRISM instrument (the spectrometer onboard MRO, a vehicle on Mars).  She gave me different websites and told me how Atholton can be a part of this program.  Because I am on the Science Olympiad team, I thought I might talk to Mrs. Lindsey about our Science Olympiad team becoming a part of this great opportunity.  The following is a short summary of the program from one of the websites: “The CRISM/MESDT program operates with support from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the CRISM science team. Under mentor guidance, MESDT students have the opportunity to join the science team in the analysis of data from the CRISM instrument. They examine data sets, sometimes never before seen, searching for clues in the mineral fingerprints to the mysteries of the Red Planet’s ancient and possibly watery environment.”  This is a very interesting opportunity.


Seminar (+1 hour)

Classroom Presentation (+1 hour)


|     1:35-6:45 PM     |    4 hours    |    Cumulative hours: 32.0 (2nd quarter)    |     presenter    |    23 December 2009    |


             Today, my mentor told me to show and “present” my Excel spreadsheet (which has information about different types of GPS logging devices – price, capacity, battery life, etc.) to a woman who works in the office who is thinking of buying a device similar to the one that my mentor gave me to use.  After asking me questions and discussing the devices, she said that I was very helpful in her decision; she will probably buy the device that I have because it is cheap and does exactly what she needs.  I again felt influential (although she was probably merely being polite).  It was interesting to talk to her and discover what she was doing with the GPS logger, an interesting project similar to mine.


|   2:45-5:30 PM  |   3 hours   |  Cumulative hours: 35.0 (2nd quarter)   |   chirping  |  6 January 2010  |


             I came to APL after school today and stayed for a shorter period of time than usual, as I had a busy day.  However, I got a lot done – mostly reading.  I read about the capabilities of graphics and GUIs with MATLAB and I experimented with the many different things one can do with each.  My mentor also showed me a program on his computer (because it has sound and mine does not have speakers) with MATLAB; he showed me a simple MATLAB program of a chirping noise.  The program, when ran, chirped repeatedly, simultaneously displaying the changing frequency of sound.  The program had little to do with anything; he was just interested in the sound capabilities of MATLAB.


Seminar (+1 hour)

GPS work at home (+1 hour)


|   1:45-5:45 PM   |   4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs:  41.0 (2nd quarter)   |   picture   |  11 January 2010   |


            The first thing I did at APL today was find APL’s photography studio, which is around the basement of Building 1.  I took pictures for the booklet that Ms. Pamela J. Napolillo is putting together regarding the mentor program at APL.  (When I viewed them on the computer after the photographer took them, I did not like them very much…) At APL today, I spoke with my mentor thoroughly about my science fair project, for which we both have already gathered a lot of information.  I told him some ideas that I have, regarding an experiment with the GPS data logger that will help to gain new insight about its accuracy.  If I gather data every second while walking in a straight direction (with a compass) and view the data on Excel and Google Earth, I should be able to calculate information about its inaccuracy (whether the data points look like a straight line or a jagged, zig-zag line).  If I calculate information about this “line,” such as the mean and variance from the line, that could be something interesting to put on my science fair board.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.