The K (ABELS)

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The K (ABELS)

Postby Mark F » Sat 04 Feb, 2017 10:24 am

With nothing worth watching on the box I decided to indulge myself in a little map gazing. The success of the ABELS concept in Tasmania led me to try applying the 150 metre prominence rule to the 2000 metre peaks which all are contained within Kosciuszko np. Only seven peaks meet the prominence test, Kosciuszko of course, Townsend, Twynam, Tate, Gungarten, Jagungal and Perisher. I was hoping that the Rams Heads would make the grade (110 m so part of the Koscuiszko group) and possibly Dicky Cooper Bogong (100 m, part of the Tate group). I expect I will now slowly work out and down though NSW. The 1100 metre height rule removes about 90-95% of NSW so it isn't an impossible task.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby jonnosan » Sun 05 Feb, 2017 4:13 pm

Interesting concept, I wonder if anyone has access to an appropriate toppo dataset and GIS tool to automate the process of identifying candidates.
I tried looking at the Kanangra Boyd area, to see whether the traditional '3 peaks' would qualify, my interpretation is that Mt Guouogang and Mt Cloudmaker both qualify, but neither Paralyzer , nor the highest peak out on the Paralyzer ridge (Mt Carra Mernoo) because you can go back along Thurat RIdge / Kanagra Walls Rd / Whalana Heights / Krungle Bungle range /Mt Guouogang) without ever being 150m below the summit of Mt Carra Mernoo.

Have I got the logic right?
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby Mark F » Sun 05 Feb, 2017 5:27 pm

Yes that seems right. Long undulating ridges and plateaus are quite deceptive.

There are not many areas that fit. I have about 40 in knp and another 30 in the ACT. There will be a few around the Kanangra area, one in the central spine of the Blue Mountains (I think near Mt Victoria) then up to Barrington/Gloucester Tops, Oxley Wild Rivers, Guy Faulks and New England nps, Gibraltar Range seems to just scrape in and then a series along the Queensland border. Further west Kaputar and Warrumbungles have few. I am a bit surprised by the numbers in the north of the state.

I am sure I have missed a few areas that need to checked. Any input welcome.

Another found. Mt Canobolas in Orange. 1,397m.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby jonnosan » Sun 05 Feb, 2017 7:13 pm

I thought I'd already checked and ruled out as being under 1100m anywhere north of the Coxs, including the 'spine' as you say, but on rechecking I can see the trig at the water tower on "One Tree Hill" is listed as 1112m. So just qualifies.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby jonnosan » Sun 05 Feb, 2017 7:17 pm

Mt Warning is 1159m
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby jonnosan » Sun 05 Feb, 2017 7:37 pm

This may be useful : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_m ... _Australia

Threw up Mt Coricudgy (1255m) and Mt Trickett (1369). Turns out Guouogang is actually part of the Mt Trickett group. But while poking around near Coricudgy I came across Mt Vincent (1108m) which I think has big enough drops to qualify
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby tom_brennan » Mon 06 Feb, 2017 11:24 am

There are probably other ones in the Coorongooba / Coricudgy area - Tayan Pic, Mt Durambang, Mt Never Never,...
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Mon 06 Feb, 2017 12:43 pm

Mark F wrote:There are not many areas that fit. I have about 40 in knp and another 30 in the ACT. There will be a few around the Kanangra area, one in the central spine of the Blue Mountains (I think near Mt Victoria) then up to Barrington/Gloucester Tops, Oxley Wild Rivers, Guy Faulks and New England nps, Gibraltar Range seems to just scrape in and then a series along the Queensland border. Further west Kaputar and Warrumbungles have few. I am a bit surprised by the numbers in the north of the state.

I am sure I have missed a few areas that need to checked. Any input welcome.

I suspect there are quite a few qualifiers. Just thinking around the south east there would be plenty, including in the Budawangs (Mt. Budawang, Currockbilly, maybe others), Deua (Minuma Range has numerous peaks with the requisite prominence, including Badja (1300+), Eurambene and Dampier (over 1200)), Wadbilliga/Brogo (numerous 1300+'s with prominence), Tallaganda (numerous 1400s), Tinderrys and so on... Maybe some in the far south too?

As this thread suggests the plateau-ey nature of the BMs means there wouldn't be too many with prominence... That said in some cases the plateaus might make it difficult to figure out where the K's are, eg. among the high plateaus to the west and south of the Boyd Plateau - Mt Trickett has been mentioned but I wouldn't be surprised if the 150m prominence rule comes into play as you go south from there through the Mt Werong, Wombeyan, Abercrombie etc. areas.... might turn out to be quite a few 'K's' down there
It's an interesting concept. I wonder if there's a software tool that could automate the process of finding them (might take the fun out of it tho :) )?
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby jonnosan » Mon 06 Feb, 2017 9:37 pm

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:It's an interesting concept. I wonder if there's a software tool that could automate the process of finding them (might take the fun out of it tho :) )?

I came across this tool https://github.com/edwardearl/winprom/ but can't work out how to find an appropriate source of data for NSW elevations
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby Allchin09 » Wed 08 Feb, 2017 4:10 pm

For those that are interested, a Canberra Bushwalking Club member complied a peak bagging style list of high points in the ACT region called "The Percies"

http://www.johnevans.id.au/wp/other-res ... s-percies/

It doesn't look like prominence was a factor in selection, although it could be useful when trying to find contenders that meet your criteria Mark.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby johnw » Sun 12 Feb, 2017 8:09 pm

Might be of interest in relation to this discussion. Years ago, on my way to or from a bushwalk in the Blue Mountains, at some obscure second hand book sale I picked up a copy of "Tables of Australian Mountains, a State by State Guide" by Bill Wilkinson (of Tasmanian Abels fame). This listed various peaks in NSW among others. I forget the exact criteria he used but, from memory, Mark's original post listing of over 2000m peaks in KNP is pretty much on the money. I'm in NZ right now so can't refer to the book but I recall it has listings by region. If any interest it looks like it might still be available through regalpress.com.au.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby awmross » Tue 14 Feb, 2017 7:32 am

This is the first I have heard of this "Abels" concept. I have experience with geographic data, so I had a shot at calculating the Abels automatically.

I've divided NSW up into three regions to make the calculations easier; South (Snowy Mountains and adjacent areas), Central (Blue Mountains and adjacent areas) and North (Barrington Tops to north of the Queensland border).

The Central and Northern Abels have been uploaded to a Google map here:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mi ... GCaDyFZTm4

A .csv file containing coordinates and heights for Central NSW is here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8Tzr ... DhyN0UybkE

A .csv file containing coordinates and heights for Northern NSW is here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8Tzr ... XlJd3NYcEE

And a Google Earth .kmz file is here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8Tzr ... 0w3RWlSdGs

There are a lot more Abels in the Snowy Mountains area so the southern area is still a work in progress. I will upload when finished.

There are 28 Abels in the Central (Blue Mountains) area of NSW, and 153 Abels from Barrington Tops north to Queensland.

Some of the highest Abels around the Sydney region:

Mt Conobolas (near Orange)
Mt Trickett (near Jenolan Caves)
Mt Bindo (east of Oberon)

Mt Cloud Maker is probably the most recognisable name in the Sydney area.

So far I have eyeballed the results and couldn't find any that were obviously wrong. Please check the calculations and let me know of any that are incorrect or if indeed there is a fundamental flaw in the algorithm.

Some caveats:
The elevation data used is SRTM, which is basically radar imaging taken from space. This is different from the aerial photography used to compile the NSW Topographic maps, and different again from the precise manual surveying used to measure the "official" heights of mountains. The nature of the Abels formula is that 1 metre can be the difference between a mountain being an Abel and not, so there may be some results that are incorrect due to the nature of the data used.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Tue 14 Feb, 2017 11:00 am

Hey that's fantastic!

SRTM has it's limitations but should be fit for these purposes. I think it's a 3 second DEM, which roughly correlates to about 90m cells which is (should be?) well and truly fit for these purposes (can't imagine too many peaks or low points that would fit within the one cell). I also think (but not sure) each DEM cell is height-averaged, hence the error you mention, but again I can't imagine there being too many peaks/low points around the 1100/150 mark that fall within the error margins?

In any case it's a bit of porn for geography nerds, of which there are many on this forum :) ... Be interested to see what you turn up for the southern regions.

(Mount Lambie sent a cold shiver through me though :shock:).
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby jonnosan » Tue 14 Feb, 2017 9:45 pm

nice work!
I noticed the Abel nearest the towns in the Blue Mountains ended up near Asgard head (Lat-33.556666666666665 Lng 150.3 Elevation 1102 ) but according to my topo the highest point within a KM of that point is only 928 meters. The local maxima is actually just south of the highway in Mt Victoria.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby awmross » Wed 15 Feb, 2017 9:19 pm

@jonnosan

I had a look at the "Asgard Head" Abel you mentioned. This is an example where the SRTM elevation data really gets it wrong, compared to the NSW Topographic Maps. The sheer cliffs in the Blue Mountains seem to confuse the radar. If you change the map display to "satellite" you can see that this "mountain" is actually out in the middle of the Grose valley! (the data says "Asgard Head" because it is a nearby peak, but the actual coordinate is a few hundred metres away from Asgard Head).

Google uses SRTM elevation data for it's contour maps and for Google Earth too, and it turns out it has the same problems. Navigate to Asgard Head in Google Earth and you will see why my algorithm thought there is an Abel there. Google Earth displays a huge mountain in the middle of the Grose Valley. And if you look from the right angle, you can see that it is indeed the highest mountain in the whole area!

OpenStreetMap's CycleMaps actually gets it right. Their elevations in that area are similar to the NSW Topographic maps (and match the satellite images). I think they use ASTER_GDEMv2 data for their contours, which is a different satellite data set created using a different technique.

So yeah, this is a problem inherent in the data I have used. I might take a look at ASTER and see if it gives better results, although from what I have read ASTER has problems of it's own in other scenarios....

So what is the prominent peak in that area? I think it is actually the unnamed hill in the Newnes State Forest at -33.428,150.198 at elevation 1199. To get there from Mt Victoria, you only drop 100m going across Darling Causeway before climbing up to Newnes State Forest.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby awmross » Wed 15 Feb, 2017 9:46 pm

The southern Abels (Snowy Mountains and adjacent areas) have been added to the map. As an added bonus, I have also included the Abels in Victoria east of the Hume Highway.
There are 351 Abels in the southern section.

You can download the spreadsheet with coordinates here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8Tzr ... VVYM081RlE
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby jonnosan » Thu 16 Feb, 2017 6:42 am

Now I understand what's going on with the data error near Asgard Head, I am reflecting on why the peaks that this definition is identifying in the blue mountains (the area I am most familiar with) seem a little disappointing somehow. Apart from Cloudmaker it is excluding all of the 'classic' bushwalks, and many of what it does include are unnamed and/or on a road.

Considering why this is so, the first reason identified is the 1100m cutoff. Much of the the Blue Mountains National Park, and the areas where people live, is a sandstone plateau that has tilted up out of the sea and erosion over millions of years has carved many interesting shapes and peaks. But only a small part of that plateau exceeds 1100m, so that rules out e.g. Mt Solitary is 919m, Mt Colong is 1047.

Then west of the sandstone plateau is granite country, which has not eroded as much as the sandstone. That means 1) it is higher (so above the 1100m mark) and 2) the elevation changes are far more gradual. So gentle rolling hills, not steep escarpments. The gentleness in elevation change means high points are not particularly distinctive (hence many unnamed) and also means there are no impediments to the tendency for paths and roads to follow ridgelines (hence mostly on roads).

The conclusion I have arrived at is, the 'ABEL' definition will not result in a set of points that are a (subjectively) "interesting" challenge, when applied to the Blue Mountains. Could it be tweaked ? Let us consider...

The easiest tweak would be to reduce the ASL cutoff from 1100m. A 1000m feels if anything less arbitrary than 1100m, and would bring in to play Mt Colong and Pantoneys Crown. It still excludes Mt Solitary, and Mt Dingo/Splendour Rock, which doesn't feel right but lets ignore that for the moment. What tells me we have more work to do is the fact that changing the ASL cutoff doesn't help at all with Mt Guouogang. Yes I know it's a god-forsaken labyrinth filled with ti-tree and blow flies, but it's also the spot that appears to be the high point for the area, regardless of there being a contour line that will (if you trudged long enough along featureless ridges and country roads) let you get from there to the mobile tower on Mt Trickett without descending more than 150m.

So for me, any interesting definition for peaks would need to have Mt Guouogang in the result. We could achieve this by shrinking the prominence requirement to 100m. We now have many more 'interesting' peaks, but at the expense of also adding lots of 'uninteresting' peaks. So what makes a peak 'interesting'? I suggest it is a combination of aesthetics (the view) and physical challenge. A walk with a view, basically. Hmm... a place where you walk, with views, sounds a lot like a national park. What if we used that as a filter?

I hereby propose a definition of a HILDER to be: "a point within the Blue Mountains NP or Kanangra Boyd NP that has prominence of at least 100m relative to all other points within those national parks". Note that there is no ASL cutoff.

@awmross - would you be up for tweaking your ABEL code to see what my definition above comes up with? If it helps there's a KMZ file with NP boundaries in it here: http://www.geocachingnsw.asn.au/index.p ... n2010.html
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby Allchin09 » Fri 17 Feb, 2017 1:04 am

For the Southern Blue Mountains at least I started a topic a few years ago, centred around the below list. I agree with you Jonno that applying the Abels criteria to the Blue Mountains will most likely not yield a very interesting list of peaks. The interest and difficulty of a peak isn't just how prominent it is.

Peak Baggers Guide to the Southern Blue Mountains.jpeg
Peak Baggers Guide to the Southern Blue Mountains.jpeg (68.79 KiB) Viewed 408 times


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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby WarrenH » Fri 17 Feb, 2017 2:29 pm

Is there a reason why the unnamed high points above 1200m in the Northern section of Nowendoc National Park haven't been included in the 'Central and Northern' ABELS collection? They appear to qualify with the 150m drop between mountains.

I looked at the high points at East Bluff, NW of Musselbrook, that have been included. There appears to be little difference between those included at East Bluff to those at Nowendoc, unless I'm missing the point of how ABELS have been chosen.

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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby awmross » Fri 17 Feb, 2017 9:50 pm

I had a look at the Nowendoc peaks you mentioned. I assume you are talking about the peaks in that northwest corner of Nowendoc National Park? e.g. There is one at -31.40,151.539 at 1335m. And another about 1km to the south of that one.
These peaks all have a prominence of less than 150m. There are several peaks immediately to the north (outside Nowendoc National Park) that are higher e.g. 1357m just south of Topdale Road or 1348m in Tuggolo State Forest. These higher peaks can all be reached from the Nowendoc peaks without walking downhill more than about 50m.

The prominent peak in that area is "Grundy" to the north-east at 1463m.

The mountains around East Bluff are different in that there is a drop greater than 150m in all directions. There is no way to get to a higher peak without first dropping more than 150m.
For example, from Oxleys Peak, if you walk north along the ridge to the Liverpool Range, you have to first drop almost 300m in elevation, before following Liverpool Range west to the higher peak at East Bluff. So Oxleys Peak satisfies the prominence criteria and is therefore an "Abel".

The Wikipedia page is the best explanation I found of the concept of Prominence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topographic_prominence
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby WarrenH » Sat 18 Feb, 2017 7:06 am

awmross, thank you for your enlightening and fine reply and the link to Wiki. Now I understand the parameters.

Yes, I was referring to the high points in the NW corner of Nowendoc National Park. I didn't realise that the prominence contour line of 150m, was to all points of the compass, encircling the summit. I only looked at the drop to the tributaries of the Barnard River to the East and saw that it was greater than 150m and then the much greater distances to be travelled to other points, before the drop of 150m was reached ... I failed to take into account that there were higher summits within it.

Cheers.

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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby north-north-west » Sat 18 Feb, 2017 3:54 pm

Nice.

I assume the 'Mt Stony' at #34 on the Southern list is Eadley Stoney?
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby awmross » Sat 18 Feb, 2017 6:23 pm

@north-north-west
Eadley Stony is in Victoria. This Mt Stony is in Kosciuszko National Park in NSW.
The coordinates are in the spreadsheet I linked to if there is doubt about which Mountain is being referred to.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby north-north-west » Sat 18 Feb, 2017 7:29 pm

I must have read the wrong co-ords. It looked close enough to Buller to be Eadley Stoney. And I've never heard of Stony in KNP - thought I knew all its peaks. Nice to find out about a few more.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby awmross » Tue 21 Feb, 2017 7:18 am

@jonnosan

I gave your "Hilders" idea a go and posted it here:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... 56254&z=11

The area I used includes only bushland areas south of the Great Western Highway. It includes Blue Mountains and Kanangra-Boyd National Parks, plus some State Forest around Jenolan. Peaks outside the area have no influence over the results. The minimum prominence is 100m, with no minimum height.

Some notes:

Mt Trickett is actually inside Kanagra-Boyd National Park! So it still overshadows a lot of the nearby mountains.
Secondly, your beloved Mt Guouogang is still not in the list! I think the true prominence of Guouogang is almost exactly 100m, but the elevation data has it's elevation at 1285m instead of the official elevation of 1291m (6m lower). So I think due to deficiencies in the data it still gets left out.

The SRTM elevation data basically averages the elevation for each 90x90m square. The peak of a mountain is always going to be higher than the average of the surrounging points (by definition). So this creates an in built error in the data (even after accounting for the imprecision of satellite elevation measurements). Looking at my results, the height of a peak is often 20+ metres lower than it should be.
There should be a way to use precise OSM data for peak heights when available, so I can possibly correct for this for a lot of mountains.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby rcaffin » Tue 21 Feb, 2017 9:57 am

It would be a bit strange to not include Guouogang. If you climb straight up from Whalania creek via Nooroo Buttress, it is about 1,000 m ascent and a bit of rope or tape might be advisable. That is prominence!

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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby jonnosan » Tue 21 Feb, 2017 10:03 pm

Hey @awmrose thanks for the dataset - looks interesting! Other than Guouogang most of what I'd expect to be there is there, plus some unknown (to me) spots that look worthy of an expedition, which is pretty much what I was hoping for.

I was confused initially as to why Mt Solitary had two 'Hilders', on close scrutiny of the topo though I can see the descent to cross Chinamans Gully is just over 100m.

Also I would expect the averaging in the SRTM would have the effect raise the cols as well as flatten the peaks, so yes I can see how it would be underreporting the prominence.

a somewhat manual way of correcting this could be to identify the peaks (and relevant cols) that are reported as having say 80-100 metre prominence, and then look at the topo for the true peak and col heights, then override the SRTM tile elevation with the topo heights. I'd be happy to spend a bit of time doing such lookups.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby jonnosan » Tue 21 Feb, 2017 10:12 pm

PS from the toppo it looks like the low point between Mt Guouogang and Ferny Flat is below the 1180m contour line, therefore it's prominence must be at least (1291-1180m) 110m.
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Re: The K (ABELS)

Postby Allchin09 » Wed 22 Feb, 2017 9:53 pm

Might be easier to verify the Hilders if they were plotted on a topo map

http://maps.ozultimate.com/?lat=-33.603 ... 7764226375
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