Monday, August 12, 2013

boxes and circles

I wonder if this happens to other people...

So, we're discussing something complicated, or I'm trying to provide a semi-to-scale diagram. I start blocking it out on a pad of calculation/graph paper, but then I run out of room. Or I decide it needs to be a little neater than the last version.

No problem, I can just make a bunch of boxes and lines in powerpoint or excel. That's a cinch to manipulate, right? Then I end up making refinements, and someone suggests a few more details, and suddenly I've spent 3 hours essentially drawing a picture with boxes, lines, and other fragments. Like this:

(for non environmental geologists, the above picture is two monitoring wells screened in different aquifers)

... Or perhaps I'm trying to show information on a map for a casual discussion. So I print out a copy, start circling features of interest, and decide that the resulting mess would be impossible to scan and send out of the office.

That's ok, I have Adobe Acrobat. I'll just add little circles to my PDF, and add little labels, and then I'll need some sort of legend... before I know it, I've spent another 3 hours making circles when I should have just gotten my friendly CADD or GIS expert to put the locations on the map accurately in the first place.

Yes, I did build a very complicated series of figures out of itty-bitty excel rows and columns for my thesis. Perhaps I should get some actual graphical software...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd suggest using GIMP or Inkscape for graphics like that, or, if you have things to plot, R. All of which are free and open-source.