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Lab 2: Holy Pigeon P#$@ Batman, it's Penelope Poison!


London is in a pickle, and it is your job to help them out of it. The notorious Penelope Poison has threatened to release a toxic substance into London's water supply, in order to thwart her plan the emergency response people need visualizations which show the water temperature, air temperature and wind speed and direction at a number of water bodies located in central London.

You will all need to show-up at location 1 (see Questions below) before/at 11:00 on Sunday morning. I will be available starting at 9:30 at that location to hand-out instruments, answer questions, etc. At least one person from each group should plan on being there before 11:00. I will be leaving that location at 11:15 sharp so stragglers will need to hope their group waits for them.

There are lots of important details embedded in this lab description, reading it closely and carefully will be worth the time.

Lab Groups

Listed below are your scientifically chosen lab groups:


Just before the Director of Emergency Response (Mr B. Cheese) left town for an undisclosed location he took pictures of the locations that need to be sampled, you can find them at http://cs.earlham.edu/~charliep/EnglandProgram/Lab2. Unfortunately he was in a rush and neglected to label any of the pictures.

Remember to record at least three readings for each parameter at each location. Later you can aggregate each of those groups of three readings into a measurement of that parameter for that location. Think about how to "reset" each instrument so you can record three independent readings of each parameter.

Google Earth is a tool just like the physical ones, when you use it to measure e.g. the latitude/longitude/altitude you should develop and document a procedure for taking three readings just as you are for the other tools.

To measure the wind speed you can estimate it using the Beaufort scale. The wind direction can be determined with a small scrap of paper and a compass or GPS in compass mode.

Measuring the air temperature will depend on which kit you have. The thermocouple and the combination compass/thermometer can take direct readings, the infrared thermometer will require a little cleverness to enable it to measure the air temperature.

Each group must make their own measurements, this will enable the emergency responders to compare the values obtained with different instruments and people to ensure that they react properly. You can share techniques and ideas among your groups but not data.

Each of these tools has their own strengths and weaknesses, sources of error, etc. One aspect of this lab is to learn what they are and how to best work with them. At least one person in each group will need to install Google Earth on their laptop.

Normally you would take air and water samples at each location as well, since Penelope Poison is threatening to act soon you don't have time for that now.

Red Instrument Kit

Yellow Instrument Kit

Green Instrument Kit


Each group will write-up a lab report in the Lab Notebooks section. Your lab report should include the following elements:

  1. A description of the problem you were given and your approach to solving it.
  2. For each parameter the procedure you followed to obtain the readings and measurement.
  3. A tabular display of each measurement of each parameter at each location.
  4. An analysis of the measurements describing any patterns that are evident and your thoughts about why they might be present.
  5. A small/simple gallery of the images you took at each of the locations with descriptions of the actual place (e.g. Looking North from the South side of the fountain in Bethesda Terrace in Central Park).
  6. An appendix with the readings and measurements for each parameter and each location.
  7. For each of the instruments you used determine the error associated with it. If references are available for the instrument use those values (and document the source), if not make a reasonable estimate and document how you came to it.
  8. A visualization of the data, preferably as an overlay on a map or aerial image of the overall area in question.
  9. A short statement from each group member explaining what they contributed to this lab.

There is a very simple template there for each group to start with, you should not feel bound to the format that's there but you must be sure to address each of the items listed above.

Neatness and organization count, significantly.


Each group will create a visualization with the parameters they measured. We'll discuss the different approaches to this over dinner on Sunday and in class on Monday.


Before you start and once you are working on the lab I will be available to answer questions, etc., here's where to find me when:

  1. Between 09:30 and 11:00 you can find me at roughly 51.510509, -0.127060
  2. Between 11:30 and 14:30 you can find me at roughly 51.502998, -0.165623
  3. After 15:00 you can find me at roughly 51.511393, -0.127091

I won't be checking email or text messages between 11:00 and 15:00 but I will be available for F2F consultation at the locations/times listed above.

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