the White House & the National Mall – Washington, DC

Washington DC - Air Photo

Smithsonian Kite Festival in front of the Washington Monument

Currently we have been finishing up another super long cross country Titan road trip and are on our way back to Ottawa, however due to various issues with customs and border crossing, we have had to delay our trip home until the paper work for the survey equipment has been fully processed (witch apparently takes a full day or two ??). Therefore we gained a day-off of two while traveling and conveniently it happened while we were near Washington, DC.

The National Mall is an open concept national park situated in middle of Washington, D.C. that covers the area between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol Building. It includes several landmarks, National Monuments and several museums.

Therefore it was a opportunity to take a few hours for ourselves and check out some of the sites located around the American Capital City (& home of the President of the United States). It also turned out to be the same day as the Smithsonian Kite Festival, which is an annual event that takes place at the National Mall. Much like Ottawa back home, Washington, DC provides people here with many different activities.

the White House - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DCback of the White House - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC

It wasn’t a very sunny day but pretty breezy so actually good weather for kite flying. There were hundreds of people flying kites for leisure, competing in various competitions and many other related activities. Most of the activities were around the Washington Monument (the tallest stone obelisk structure in the world constructed of marble, granite and gneiss, built to commemorate president George Washington), so we walked around for a bit and took in some of the sites at the event before heading out to check out some of the attractions that we had come to see.

United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC

We headed north from there to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, better known as the White House or the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. There were plenty of people around all with their cameras ready in case they caught a site of President Barack Obama. No luck he wasn’t around so we headed on to our next stop.

From there we headed east towards the United States Capitol Building witch is like our Parliament Hill, the meeting place of the United States Congress and the legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The Capitol is at the highest point of the National Mall and looks down westerly towards the Lincoln Memorial. Before heading west towards the other end witch turned out was just over 3 and half kilometers we took a short detour to 501 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Theere we discovered that the Canadian Embassy building located just north of the National Gallery of Art was nothing like the United States Embassy building is back in Ottawa (less fortress like fencing and more architecture glass like structure).

Canadian Embassy in Washington DC - USAWashington Monument

Heading west again we progressed by the majority of museums and attractions due to the volume of people that were there as it seemed to have been March break for kids in this area and we didn’t want to waste our day standing in line ups.

Lincoln Memorial - Reflecting pond Washington, DCWe stopped to check out the 600+ m Reflecting Pool at the west end of the park, in front of the Lincoln Memorial (the one that was in the movie Forest Gump when Jenny runs through the middle of it during the war protest). It amazing how large this pond is as it stretches down from the War Memorial Monument all the way down to Lincoln, where he sits looking out upon it.

So from here we headed west along the Reflecting Pool down to the Lincoln Memorial and what ever sites awaited us down at this end of the National Mall.

Click here to continue reading more about my rest of day in Washington, DC (with more photos) in my next travel blog post.


[Note: Washington, DC Air Photo at the top of the post was customized from Google Earth]

Update: I have added some aerial images of the White House that we took on one of our flights though the area when we were back to do some LIDAR survey work in the area. Didn’t have any time off this time so no other new photos of Washington, DC to add.

Aerial Photo of the White House - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DCAerial Photo of the White House - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC

The Lincoln & Jefferson Memorials and the United States Pentagon – Washington, DC

Lincoln Memorial - Washington, DC

This post is part 2 of my visit to the National Mall in Washington, DC, where we gained a day-off of two while traveling back to Ottawa, and conveniently it happened while we were near Washington, DC.

Earlier in the day we had been to the White House, the Capital Building, the National Monument and the Canadian Embassy. And in the last post where I left off was when we were walking down along the 600+ m Reflecting Pool at the west end of the park, in front of the Lincoln Memorial (the large pond that we see in the movie Forest Gump when Jenny runs through the middle of it to talk to Forest during a war protest).

Statue of Thomas Jefferson - Washington, DC

Next we progressed down to the Lincoln Memorial that was built to honor President Abraham Lincoln and witch we came to realize was some pretty fascinating architecture project. The building resembles a Greek temple style structure with high sculpted pillars (witch you can also see on the American penny and the dollar bill).

Lying between the north and south chambers (that contain the words of Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address inscribed on the walls – both famous speeches given by Lincoln) is what they refer to as the central hall; here is where the famous statue of Lincoln sitting in contemplation is located. The Lincoln statue was built in 1920 and is almost 20 feet high and would be as high as 28 feet high if Lincoln were standing instead of sitting down.

Reflecting Pond in front of the Lincoln Memorial Washington, DC


From there we headed south along the river past several baseball diamonds till we came to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, another very interesting architecture structure built to honor the third President of the United States. The Jefferson Memorial building is composed of circular marble steps that lead up to a circular colonnade of large pillars, covered with a shallow dome that houses a large statue of President Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial - Washington, DCLincoln Memorial Washington, DC

After we had finished walking all around the Nations Capital taking photos and looking like normal tourists we headed back to the hotel across the river with a quick drive by the United States Pentagon (the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense) for one last American National Attraction. Here I didn’t bother to stop just to avoid any security problems that may arise for taking photos of Department of Defense property (something I learned should be avoided from a different trip… ) and also because security is much tighter here since 2001.

Over all the day off turned out to involve much more walking then I had originally anticipated but all was good and now I can say I have been there (didn’t get the T-Shirt though) and can cross that off my list of “Must See Places”. And the best part was I was getting paid to be here.

White House Washington, DCWashington Monument, Washington, DC

Grand Canyon National Park (Nov 2008)

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One of our non work related stops on the 2008 TITAN road trip was at the famous Grand Canyon National Park in the state of Arizona. Most people know of the Grand Canyon due to it’s picturesque scenery and remarkable landscapes. Therefore it has become a popular tourist destination in the western United States with a range of activities such as camping and hiking for many years and one of the must see places in the USA.

Grand Canyon National Park (Nov 2008)
A place like this is really hard to put into words because it is one of those rare places that you really need to visit yourself in order to really appreciate it.

The canyon itself is the result of a massive rift that exposes both Proterozoic and Paleozoic strata. It has a steep sided gorge that was carved out by the Colorado River
over a six million year span, it is about 446 km long with variable widths ranging from 6 to 29 km and depths reaching over 6000 feet.

The Grand Canyon National Park is unlike any others in the world, although it is not the deepest canyon in the world it highly recognized for its overwhelming size and colorful landscape.

Geologically it is significant (especially to people like myself with a Geology education) because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks that are beautifully preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon. These rock layers record much of the early geologic history of the North Grand Canyon National Park (Nov 2008)American continent.

The part of the Park that we visited is called the Desert View Drive located along the east entrance to the park. Located here are a few buildings including a restaurant, book store, gift shop and the Desert View Watchtower.

It was constructed in 1932 as a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower and offers a magnificent view of the Grand Canyon from the observation deck located on top of it. As you enter the structure you walk into the gift store (largest room of the building) where they offer a wide range of souvenirs. Directly above the gift shop on the roof of this part of the structure is an outdoor observation deck.

As you continue upwards in the seventy-foot tower on the spiral stairs, you notice the walls on the inside of the tower feature many murals painted on the walls with several tiny windows letting in a minimal amount of light which helps provide a cave like, mystical atmosphere.

The unfortuante part was that I only had an few hours to visit so could not go on any of the many recomended hikes or other typical tourist like activities (like the Glass Sky Walk that extends out over the canyon). I hope some day to return maybe with my kids so they to can come appreciate this historic landmark.

Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut Territory (Aug 2008)

This trip was not my first trip to the Canadian north (I had been to Yellowknife before) but it was my first time I had ever been to the Nunavut Territory Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut Territory (Aug 2008)and also the highest latitude (67 degrees north) that I have been to.

The scope of this trip was to survey an all weather road that would pass through several mine sites in the Canadian north and connect them to a new port to be built in Bathurst Inlet up on the Arctic Ocean. We were based out of Jericho Diamond Mine site in the Kitikmeot Region for the job because of the central location and the services offered at the facility. The mine is located about 400 km northeast of Yellowknife with no roads connecting it to any other places.

I am sure that Nunavut is probably one of the least traveled places by most Canadians maybe because it is so remote with no roads (or very few) connecting it to the rest of Canada making it very hard to get around. Due to the lack of the roads in this area, I almost Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut Territory (Aug 2008)always traveled by helicopter ( … sometimes by plane). Flying everywhere high above the Earth certainly provides a much better perspective to view the interesting topography and geology here created by various different ice ages over time.

Way above the tree line spread all through out the tundra are hundreds of boulder fields, short vegetation, lakes, and wildlife in fact that is almost all you see for miles and miles. I saw herds of caribou traveling around the area as well as muskox, wolves, fox, arctic hare, and various types of birds.

More Nunavut posts to come …

Yellowknife, North West Territories (June 2008)

Yellowknife, NWT

Finished up my first survey in the North, will be headed back south tomorrow after a small 4 day trip. Would have been nice to have a few more days up here to get out and explore or do some fishing (but these smaller in and out jobs are nice to have once and a while).

I did get a few hours free to check out the City of Yellowknife (probably all we needed) and had lunch at the famous Wild Cat Cafe, witch was kind of neat. Saw a some strange things here and there too like a ford truck turned into a home made snow mobile.

The job here was for a small fixed wing aerial LIDAR survey of an area northeast of the city of Yellowknife, and just south of Gordon Lake. The terrain there was really rocky, due to the extreme rugged Canadian Shield and very sparse soil cover. I was some what surprised though by the amount of trees that were there, it wasn’t heavily forested by any means but trees were fairly abundant and we had to choose our landing places wisely.

Gordon Lake, NWT

Gordon Lake is one of the lakes that they use to create the famous winter Ice Road that allows goods and equipment to be shipped up north to the diamond mines for a few months every year. We actually fuelled at one of the base camps that builds and services the road so met a few neat people there with interesting stories to tell.

Gordon Lake had the most mosquitoes I have ever experienced by far. dark swarms of them clouding around us every where we went.We flew into the area to do our ground GPS control survey via a neat little MD500 helicopter and were quickly swarmed by the little buggers. They were not actually doing much biting due to the amount of bug dope we had by man it was hard to concentrate on work. After 3 or 4 hours of that we were happy to get back to town free of those little critters.

Here are some photos of our work out at Gordon Lake, NWT.

MD500 helicopter in Yellowknife, NWTthe most mosquitos I have ever experienced by far

Yellowknife, North West TerritoriesFord truck turned into a home made snow mobile

it wasn't heavily forested by any means but trees were fairly abundantGPS work for the fixed wing aerial LIDAR survey


WildCat Cafe, Yellowknife (June, 2008)

I Finally got my chance to explore some of the Canadian north, with the first stop being in Yellowknife, North West Territories. Yellowknife, is a neat little place, perhaps bigger then I expected and containing many more similarities to other small Canadian Towns and Cities probably due to the city being connected to the rest of the country via Highway. Any place that has a Walmart and a Tim Horton’s after all can not be all that remote.

WildCat Cafe built in 1937

Have not a lot of time to look around due to the job being rather small and the weather being so nice. Today it was the warmest place in the country I think, the mercury hit 29 degrees and unfortunately since the sun doesn’t go down, the work day was stretched a little further.

One of Yellowknife’s best known historic landmarks and popular tourist attractions, is a little summer restaurant called the Wildcat Cafe. The building portion of the restaurant is a small old mining camp style wooden log structure that was originally built in 1937 and then later designated as a heritage building in 1992.

The WildCat Cafe is known as the city’s oldest restaurant and continues to operate every year in the original log structure, with extra seating setup out side. Food served at the Wildcat Cafe is mostly typical Canadian fast food (fries, burgers, ice cream etc.) but they also add a little northern touch combining a few dishes with a little Caribou and MuskOx as well.

Interesting enough, a replica of the Wildcat Cafe cabin has been built at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, witch was neat to see after being to the real thing.

WildCat Cafe  in Yellowknife, NWTInside the WildCat Cafe Restaurant in Yellowknife, North West Territories

Inside the WildCat Cafe  in Yellowknife, NWTWildCat Cafe  in Yellowknife, NWT

Flood Simulation Modeling with High Resolution LIDAR

I created and presented the following poster that summarized my Flood Simulation Modeling with High Resolution LIDAR project as part of my Applied Geomatics graduate work at COGS in 2004. The areas in the poster are of Shediac & Parlee Beach, New Brunswick

Flood Simulation Modeling with High Resolution LIDAR