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Guide Edition Technological Preview

Project Proposals

Are you fascinated by mobile technologies? And are experienced in programming? Then try one of the following projects. You got interested? Do not hesitate to contact me.

I have added a challenge value (based on my own judgement) to each of the projects. The more stars are given the more experience and/or time you better have to accomplish the given project.

If you have ideas for other projects, let me know.

Cellular/GSM-Based Positioning
Foreign Map Rendering
Support for Other Reference Systems
Support for Customizing Keys
Port to Smartphone 2002
Port to Handheld PC 2000
Import Calibration Information
Transparent maps

Cellular/GSM-Based Positioning

It is possible to do a positioning based on cellular technologies (e.g. GSM). In general, this works using the cell ids of the nearby base stations, which are sent to the mobile phone. The position of the base station can then be looked up using a table inside the client. From that the position of the user can be deduced. Though the accuracy is not that great (it heavily depends on the distribution of the base stations), the availability is for sure better than that of GPS, as the cellular signal is even present inside buildings.

Here in Germany there is one network operator, O2, which even sends the coordinates of the base stations in range - eliminating the need for the look-up table.

The task would be to write a module for the positioning component of the LocBrowser, which adds cellular-based positioning. In addition, fusion with GPS positioning should be considered.

Challenge: ****

Foreign Map Rendering

To improve the flexibility of the LocBrowser regarding map formats, a plug-in concept should be considered. With this it is possible, for example, to reuse existing rendering engines for vector maps (e.g. for SVG or Flash).

The basic idea would be to add a plug-in concept for the plane view, so that foreign map rendering engines can be included - e.g. as DLLs or ActiveX controls. This concept has to be compatible with the present functionality. A special challenge is to support multiple drawing layers e.g. for overlaying waypoints and maps.

Challenge: *****

Support for other Reference Systems

Currently, the LocBrowser only supports the reference system used by GPS, i.e. WGS84. But, typically maps are based on some national reference system (e.g. Gauss-Krüger or the British Grid). To make it easier for users to include such maps, the calibration dialogue could support other reference systems. This would enable users to directly enter coordinates in their reference system of choice. It is then the system's task to convert the coordinate to WGS84.

Additionally, the map decoration could also present the position in the reference system of choice.

Note, that it is not necessary to add every reference system in the world. You are free to make your selection.

Challenge: ***

Support for Customizing Keys

A number of the hardware keys (application and navigation keys) can be used to control the LocBrowser. So far, the mapping from keys to some operation of the LocBrowser can not be changed.

The task would be to make these mappings configurable. This would also allow to avoid keys assignments in case the user prefers to link to other applications. The configuration of the key mappings would so far best be done using the profile. You also have to define the subset of the LocBrowser operations to which keys can be assigned.

Thanks to Ryo Hiramatsu for this suggestion.

Challenge: **

Port to Smartphone 2002

Port of the Basic Edition to the Smartphone 2002 platform (e.g. Orange SPV). This is quite some work as the smartphone 2002 has a different GUI framework in comparism to the Pocket PC. Expect at least to provide substitutes for pen input, pop-up menus, and the tool view.

Thanks to Arne Hess, Hossam Salem, and Lammert Beukema for this suggestion.

Challenge: ****

Port to Handheld PC 2000

Port of the Basic Edition to the Handheld PC 2000 (Windows CE 3.0) platform. The main task is probably to move the tool view into the main window.

Thanks to Harmen Smit for this suggestion.

Challenge: ***

Import Calibration Information

Jake Roberts proposed: I'd like support for World File calibration.

I use a program called USAPhotoMaps that downloads images from Microsoft's Terra Server system and stitches them together into one large image. The program generates a World File with the format:
Line 1 - X scale (meters per pixel)
Line 2 - Rotation in X direction (assumed 0)
Line 3 - Rotation in Y direction (assumed 0)
Line 4 - Negative of Y scale (meters per pixel)
Line 5 - UTM Easting Coord. of upper left pixel
Line 6 - UTM Northing Coord. of upper left pixel

See http://www.digitalgrove.net/georeference.htm#wcf for info.

It would be great if I could just move the Image and the World File to my PPC and LocBrowser would read it in and automatically calibrate based on the World File.

Basically, this is about using calibration information collected externally. Appararently, this is especially useful if multiple maps are used. Probably the easiest approach at the present state would be to offer a little preparation program that accepts calibration information and generates a locbrowser profile from it. A more elaborate solution could be to add an import mode to the LocBrowser BE. There the user can select calibration data files and the respective formats, so that the related maps are properly integrated into the program. For unkown formats, a template for the calibration data would help.

Thanks to Jake Roberts for this suggestion.

Challenge: ***

Transparent maps

Transparent maps ease the integration of different kind of information (e.g. a topographical map is combined with a special purpose map). The idea is to add a knob which controls the transparency of a map (aka alpha-blending). Another solution is to support blue-screening, i.e. a color of choice is made transparent. This project requires some experimentation as in solution 1 the information in the transparent map may be hardly visible while in solution 2 the overlayed map has to be suitable for blue-screening. Additionally, an adequate user-interface has to be provided.

Thanks to Tom (Emsland) for the motivation.

Challenge: **

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