About the Berkeley Creeks Page


The database currently contains 10 creeks, 167 sites, 232 photos, and takes up 79 megabytes.


The main reference I used in planning the project was the wonderful Creek & Watershed Map of Oakland & Berkeley, by Janet Sowers. It shows where creeks are exposed, and what drains to where.


I wrote the whole thing myself. It's mostly Unix shell scripts and makefiles. The database is a little Unix tool I wrote called select. The image processing software is also (mostly) mine, I used the pbmplus package. Even the web server is my software - thttpd, which at one time was the eighth most popular server on the net.


To gather the map coordinates of all the sites, I used a Garmin eTrex GPS receiver. It's currently the cheapest GPS, around $100. It works just fine, no frills and no complaints. It takes about a minute at each site to sync up with the satellites, so I start it going first thing and then take the pictures. When I'm done shooting, the coordinates are ready. With "selective availability" now turned off, the numbers are accurate to within about 15 feet.


The pictures were all taken with a Sony Mavica FD-91 digital camera. This is a circa-1999 camera, with just under 1 megapixel of resolution, so definitely not current state-of-the-art. However the 14x optical zoom lens kicks ass. No other digital camera has 14x, not even more recent Sonys - 10x is the current best. The other unusual aspect of this camera, actually of all the Sony FD line, is it writes the pictures onto ordinary floppy disks.


The base map is just a standard USGS topographical map. The coordinate conversion is done by some programs I wrote.


95% bicycle, 5% walking, 0% car!

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