Stratoballoon Flight in Google Earth

I’ve spent the last few days loading the GPS and altitude data we recorded on the Stratoballoon flight into Google Earth, and attached some of the key pictures.  I broke the flight up into two parts to make it a little easier to see.  First, the ascent:

Ascent

And second the descent:

Descent

The “curtains” show the path and altitude recorded at each point.  The changes in color represent changes in direction.  The little black and white camera icons at the bottom will open the pictures taken at those GPS points.

What was interesting was how well the actual path corresponded to the prediction that we got from http://predict.habhub.org.  The balloon really did reverse direction twice – once on the ascent, and again on the descent.

The other thing to notice are the spikes that appear towards the top of the flight (most of these appear in the Ascent picture).  These corresponded to incorrect readings from our barometric pressure sensor, which is what we were using to calculate altitude.  I am confident these points were spurious because the balloon would be climbing at a nice solid rate one second, suddenly jump up thousands of feet the next, and then lose thousands of feet the one after that.

The best way to experience these maps are in Google Earth, where you can pan, tilt, zoom, and of course see the pictures.  If you don’t have it already, you can browse to here to download the Google Earth setup.  Then, browse here to get the KMZ files that were used to create the above maps:

In my next post, I’ll upload the temperature and pressure data we recorded.

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