13-Apr-2002 -- This was my third confluence visit overall, and the second visit today. I stopped here on my way home to Syracuse from the annual NYSTEA conference where I gave a presentation about using GPS and mapping software in school. In my work as a K12 technology trainer at Onondaga Cortland Madison BOCES, I help teachers integrate technology into classroom instruction. We work with computers, software, the Internet, scanners, and handheld tools such as GPS receivers, PDAs, lab probes, and digital cameras.
The weather this afternoon continued to be rainy and gray, but let up a bit by the time I was exited the New York State Thruway, also known as Interstate Route 90 at Mohawk to reach the confluence. The town of Mohawk deserved more attention, but I was on a schedule, and had to drive straight through. The ride from the exit to the nearest confluence road was relatively simple and direct. My topo map showed two possible roads, and I chose Shoemaker Road running north-south just to the east of my destination for the approach. The street map had an error, so I stopped to ask a mail carrier for directions. A quick spin around the block got me back on track.
When I reached the point where the GPS bearing arrow made a hard right it was time to park. On my right there was a dirt road running up a small hill. It had been blocked with large rocks and debris to prevent access. I imagine the landowners want to discourage snowmobiles and ATVs, since this was not a road for anything with less capable traction. After parking the truck, disconnecting the GPS from its dashboard mount and DC-power cable, I locked up and took off up the road. Unlike the confluence at 43N, 74W earlier today, there were no houses on this property. There was a quiet house across the road to the east, and another house to the south that I had passed on Shoemaker Road, but both seemed to be set apart from this property.
The confluence area was over the first hill, down the other side, across a tiny run-off stream, up the next hill, and across a field. From the photos taken by the first visitors, I knew I was in the right place. I took photos in several directions, and finally got a shot of the GPS with the confluence numbers showing zeros. What is it about those zeros that makes us smile? The rain came back as I was taking the last photo, and I hurried back to my little Suzuki Sidekick. You can see Suzi, and my amateur radio call sign license plate – N2RUD – in one of the photos. I’ve been wondering how many confluence visitors are ham radio operators. Since “hams” like radios, and a GPS is a radio, I think it’s likely that I am in good company here. Please be sure to put your amateur radio call sign in your confluence reports!
I’m looking forward to visiting more confluences this summer. Click on this link to see an article that appeared in the Syracuse Post Standard on October 3, 2001 about teachers who are using GPS to teach science: On the Map. There is a note in the story about the geocache I placed at 43N, 76W, the closest confluence to my hometown. There are now at least 20 geocaches placed at confluences.
If you’re an educator interested in using GPS technology with students, please consider joining the NYGPS mailing list homepage by clicking here . NYGPS is an online community for K-12 educators exploring the use of GPS (Global Positioning System) and the Internet for math, science & social studies instruction. We invite teachers, college faculty & professional GPS users everywhere to join the group. At NYGPS there are files for lessons, learning activities, bookmarks, and photos. Use our materials and share yours!
"73 de N2RUD" (how hams say good-bye)
Anton Ninno, K12 Technology Integration Trainer
6820 Thompson Road, Syracuse, NY 13221