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Mark Breach

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Astrogeodetic Levelling - PhD Thesis

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Books ...


The Mad Lighthouse Keeper and other illogicalities

This book is a collection of absurdities, contradictions, impossibilities, puzzles and paradoxes, each with a scientific, logical or mathematical basis but usually an elusive solution. The Mad Lighthouse Keeper is divided into many sections, each of which presents a different problem and then explains how a solution may be found or in some cases why a solution is impossible.

This book is distinctive in that it contains lots of intriguing ideas. Occasionally some mathematics is needed but not too much and only where necessary.

Each of the sections has a scientific or mathematical base. No section requires a previous deep knowledge of maths or science yet all sections are challenging and all will make you think. I want you to have that light bulb-over-the-head moment so beloved of cartoonists.

Simple statements such as “two midwives, closely related to each other and one of them the mother of the other’s daughter” or “following a car accident in which his father is killed a boy is rushed to hospital; the surgeon says ‘I cannot operate on him, he is my son’” appear to be contradictory at first glance yet if you pick away at the meaning of each, a truth or even many alternative truths appear. In both cases assumptions and preconceptions obscure the reality. There are many examples in this book. ‘Midwives in a Storm’ ‘My Son, My Son?’, both quoted from above, ‘The Dirty Washerwoman’ and ‘Death at Dawn?’, each give a collection of apparently contradictory pieces of information for you to unscramble with the aid of a little lateral thinking.

Science also presents us with apparent contradictions. If you let go of something, it falls to the ground. Satellites stay in space because they orbit the Earth. The gravitational attraction on a satellite causes its trajectory to be constantly changing. If the satellite stopped, it too would fall. So why don’t ‘Stationary Satellites’ such as those used by satellite television providers fall to Earth? How can you use gravity to have ‘Lost Weight’ without dieting, pills, surgery, hypnosis or exercise but just by being somewhere else? And why can you never find the North Pole, not even the magnetic one, by following ‘Compass Bearings’ of due North?  Find it on Amazon




Essential Maths for Engineering and Construction - How to avoid mistakes

Don’t let your mathematical skills fail you! We all make mistakes; who doesn’t? But they can be avoided when you understand why you make them. In engineering, construction and science exams, marks are often lost through carelessness or from not fully understanding the maths involved. When there are only a few marks on offer for a part of a question there may be full marks for a right answer and none for a wrong one, regardless of the thought that went into answering. 

Taking mistakes that undergraduate students often make as a starting point, this book not only looks at how you can prevent mistakes but provides an introduction to the core mathematical skills required for your degree discipline. The book contains many practice questions and fully worked answers, so whether you struggle with algebra, geometry, statistics, calculus or any of the other mathematical areas vital to your degree, this book will guide you around the pitfalls. 

Focusing on the recognition, correction and avoidance of common errors to improve the clarity of your maths work and mathematical understanding, this book is for any undergraduate who does mathematics – and sometimes makes mistakes. Publisher's details   Find it on Amazon



Fundamental Maths for Engineering and Science

This book is written for students in further and higher education who need a little extra help to make better sense of what may have previously been a difficult subject. Perhaps it is a long time since you last tackled mathematics. This book will be a useful revision text but it is also likely to introduce you to some new material. The subjects are presented in a style that assumes very little prior knowledge.

Each chapter starts with a brief explanation of what it is about. The text is broken up into bite-sized sections that can be mastered one at a time. Examples reinforce and develop the ideas and should be read and understood as you read through. At appropriate stages there are exercises that enable you to practise and so confirm your knowledge so far. Key facts are highlighted in coloured panels. At the end of each chapter there is a summary of all the main teaching points. This can be used to confirm that you have understood all the important points of the chapter or can be used for last minute revision for an examination. The answers to all the exercises are presented at the end of each chapter so you do not need to thumb through lots of pages to find them. At the end of each chapter, there is a separate set of questions which reinforce and draw together all the subject material of that chapter. Publisher's details   Find it on Amazon


Dissertation Writing for Engineers and Scientists

Many university courses in science and engineering require their students to undertake a major project and write a dissertation upon it. The prospect of undertaking a project can be very daunting to many students who, up to this point, have never embarked upon such a major exercise.

"Dissertation Writing for Engineers and Scientists" is written to help students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels to understand, manage and excel at their own project and dissertation. The style is chatty and the book is designed to be an inspiring and informative text on this potentially dry subject. There are many short sections with headings to break up the text. Examples are presented in boxes and there is a summary and a list of action items at the end of each chapter.    Publisher's details   Find it on Amazon


Engineering Surveying

Revised fully throughout, this sixth edition includes numerous worked examples and illustrations to aid the reader’s understanding. Engineering Surveying is a comprehensive and clearly written text. 

There is an introduction to geodesy to facilitate greater understanding of satellite systems and a fully updated chapter on GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO for satellite positioning in surveying. An all new chapter covers the important subject of rigorous estimation of control coordinates. There is detailed material on mass data methods of photogrammetry and laser scanning and the role of inertial technology in them and topics not found elsewhere like tunneling surveys and machine guidance. In previous editions of Engineering Surveying the aim was to give the reader a clear understanding of the fundamentals of the subject. The custom continues with this new edition so that it remains an essential and constant reference for both students and professionals.    Publisher's details    Find it on Amazon


Astrogeodetic Levelling

Height from GPS is height above the WGS 1984 ellipsoid earth model. Orthometric height is often realised as height above sea level. Knowing separation between height systems is essential for using GPS for precise measurements of orthometric height. Separation may be found by Astrogeodetic Levelling. 

Astronomic position is found by Position Line observations to stars and geodetic position by GPS. The difference between them, deviation of the vertical, is also the rate of change of separation. In this book a least squares approach to Position Lines is developed with modelling for refraction, vertical collimation and their rates of change. There is new theory to account for the effect of lunar gravitation and barycentric centrifugal force on deviation of the vertical. A simple method to determine the topographic-isostatic effect using wedges is developed. This practical process can be used where precise height is required from GPS, such as in large engineering projects where a precise relative local geoid model is required for a limited area. This book will interest surveyors and engineers who work on major projects where precision of height is essential. Find it on Amazon


Celestial Navigation ...when your GPS fails

"Celestial Navigation ...when your GPS fails" is the most comprehensive book on celestial navigation for bluewater sailors who need to find latitude and longitude at sea.  This resource is for real and aspiring bluewater sailors; yachtsmen who leave the sight of land and rely on various electronic devices for navigation. 

When satellite navigation fails because of seawater in the electronics or just plain battery failure then being lost at sea is a life-threatening situation, especially when night falls. Celestial Navigation... describes how to use a sextant to make astronomical observations and how to do all the calculations. It describes the celestial framework, with particular reference to the way that the Sun, Moon stars and planets appear and the principles of astronomical navigation. On linked pages there are all the necessary forms and almanac data to find latitude and longitude from the declination and sidereal hour angle (a coordinate related to right ascension) of Sun, Moon, star or planet.    More details    Find it on Amazon

Videos / DVDs ...


Precise Levelling

The Precise Levelling video describes what makes precise levelling so precise, the equipment procedures, the 2 peg test, booking forms,  scales, reconnaissance, refraction, care of the equipment, wind, stability, rules for minimizing errors. There is an example procedure and an exercise for the student.

The video/DVD comes with a set of support material including blank and completed field sheets. Total running time approx. 50 minutes.   More details

Gyrotheodolite Measurements

The Gyrotheodolite is an expensive and specialist piece of engineering surveying equipment. Most surveyors do not have access to a gyro and yet, when they have to use them will spend much time becoming proficient, prior to becoming productive. 

The video/DVD "Gyrotheodolite Measurements", gives the viewer the nearest thing to hands on experience that is possible with a video. The video explains in full detail the processes of operation, observation and computation associated with the determination of the bearing between 2 stations. The gyro used in the video is a Wild GAK1. The programme is in 2 parts. Part 1 describes the gyrotheodolite and it operation. Part 2 is an exercise for the student. Total running time approx. 114 minutes.    More details


Other stuff ...

Mark Breach's CV

In performance - On stage

PhD Thesis "An Automated Approach to Astrogeodetic Levelling"