Take the 2011 Kansas State Park Challenge

Having recently announced our new Series Caches, in which you can group similar caches to form a collection at, we’re excited that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has used this new tool to create their 2011 State Park Challenge. This statewide contest, which has a total of 31 participating State Parks and Wildlife Areas, began in May and ends on Nov. 1. Only Official KDWPT Challenge caches are eligible for this statewide contest, and a complete list of rules, prizes, and entry forms can be found at KDWPT’s website.

You can find the special KDWPT Series page at by clicking this link, which makes it simple to download the whole batch. And even if you don’t complete all 31 caches, you can still submit a partially completed form to KDWPT and be entered to win some great Garmin accessories. If you have a similar idea for a Series or a promotion, contact us at and we’ll work together to get things up

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks currently manages 24 state parks across the state and The Prairie Spirit Trail. Most have access to reservoirs and wildlife areas. Many also have trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding. Fifteen state parks (Cedar Bluff, Cheney, Crawford, Cross Timbers, El Dorado, Eisenhower, Glen Elder, Kanopolis, Lovewell, Milford, Perry, Prairie Dog, Tuttle Creek, Webster, Fall River, Pomona and Wilson) now provide cabins, both primitive and modern. A few parks are preserved natural areas, allowing visitors to enjoy unspoiled wild Kansas. Many parks host annual events such as concerts, festivals, and competitions. Whatever your outdoor interest – hiking, camping, wildlife observation, fishing, bike riding, horseback riding, hunting, or just plain relaxing, a Kansas state park has what you’re looking for. If you’ve never been to a Kansas state park, visit the website at to find brochures for each of the Kansas state parks.

Next Climate Change Talk

Here’s the latest release from a series of climate change talks I’m doing, this one discusses the Gulf Oil spill, the Athabasca Oil Sands and climate change:

Unlike the earlier ‘Is the Earth a Super Organism’ talk I’ve released so far in this series, this one is completely based in GEarth. It’s 10th in the series but I’ve released it early as:
  • The spill is still ongoing
  • I wanted to have a go at a talk completely in Google Earth to showcase my ideas of what a well designed tour should be like.
I’ve made a Prezi to link to other resources beyond the scope of the talk:
Good Design Points: A few reasons I think this is a well designed tour:
  • The tour covers views across a range of scales, this is where a tour really beats a traditional PowerPoint presentation
  • Simple Flights: The flights between segments are simple and fairly slow to give users chance to process the movement and work out where they are being taken.
  • Scale: I included Nelson’s column, the outline of Great Britain (twice) and a 5 mile long at various points to fix a sense of scale. GEarth is very good at helping users grasp the scale of things.
  • Annotations: I use lots of annotations to draw the user’s eye to the correct part of the screen.
  • Dateline: Because the inbuilt GEarth dateline is too small I included a custom dateline indicator.
Things I’d like to fix:
  • Dateline is too small: I fell into the classic trap of looking at GEarth on a large screen then reducing down to a 640 wide movie clip – you can’t read the text easily.
  • Audio Hiccups: There are a few audio hiccups that I’d like to fix but these aren’t easy in Camtasia without affecting the video. I’ve got to get a better mic too….
  • Better Images: There are a ton of better images I’d have liked to have used but I haven’t got the time to ask permission. Every image used is cc marked and that limits choice.

Work Flow: To produce it I imported models, images, overlays etc. into GEarth then I recorded a tour visiting all the locations as I wanted. Using the pro version of GEarth, I then recorded a silent movie of the tour which I imported into Camtasia. Within Camtasia I added the audio section by section, using freeze frames to extend the movie where needed and cutting footage to fit the commentary. I also added ‘call outs’ the red annotations which work in addition to annotations I’ve added in Google Earth. Its not an elegant technique but it avoids issues to do with GEarth tours such as not being able to review changes easily and needing to edit kml code rather than use the Camtasia graphic interface.