Archive for April, 2008|Monthly archive page

Digipede for Tiling?


Been looking through Digipede and wondering if it would be possible to take a grid based approach to map tile generation. Unlike most other grid solutions, this one is based on .NET, which means grid based ArcObjects apps should be possible. Since ArcSDE would likely become the bottleneck, seems like each node could cache a geographic area into an InMemory workspace, and generate tiles from that.


Earth Day at the AAPG


While I never bought into the view that the military operates at the direction of the oil industry, I began to have second thoughts this morning. I was looking for a particular software vendor with whom I had an appointment in one of the exhibit halls of the convention center. Booth after booth showed all sorts of high tech military surveillance systems. ESRI had a booth, so I figured I must be in the right place. Wrong. Turns out it was a conference for the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. The registration desk staff in military uniforms had given me an exhibit hall pass, no questions asked, after I handed them my AAPG invitation. I’m not sure what sort of registration system they were using. It was electronic though.

After realizing I was in the wrong hall, I headed next door, where the American Association of Petroleum Geologists were holding their meeting. I missed hearing Ray Hunt deliver the keynote speech the previous evening. You may have heard of him. He’s an oil man from Dallas who’s on the board of directors at Halliburton. Also coincidentally, he was appointed by Bush in 2001 to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. I’m not sure if he was also speaking at the military conference.

What is striking about the AAPG exhibit hall, is that among the booths of high tech hardware and software vendors are many booths selling beautiful stone jewelry. The ammonite fossil jewelry seemed to present extinction as an art form. Ammonites look a lot like the Chambered Nautilus, in Oliver Wendel Holmes’ poem. While the poem celebrates unlimited growth, the ammonite fossils suggest limits.

MyHouse: Sprinkler System Design

sprinkler design
From Jess Strykers’ Landscape Sprinkler Design Tutorial

MyHouse is a concept I’ve been thinking through for a while. It is an idea for an internet site that allows a person to spatially organize their life, using their house as a starting point. This article examines a use case for water sprinkler system design.

Suppose the user has bought a house from a seller (builder) that was smart enough to include georeferenced parcel boundary, building footprint and underground utilities for the house on the MyHouse website (a big selling point!). Pipes have been tagged with diameters. 3D trees have been placed around the yard. The user would now like to install a sprinkler system.

Landscape Design (Bring Me a Shrubbery!)

The user logs into his MyHouse account and draws plants onto a map of his yard. MyHouse has links to nurseries where the user can browse, drag and drop things like shrubbery. Each plant placed on the map can be tagged with its water requirements and height. The user marks off barriers (areas/lines) where laying pipe is not allowed.

Design the Pipes
The user submits a job, specifying whether the design should minimize water usage or material cost. The job runs on a server in the background. The user does not care if it uses a monte carlo method, a genetic algorithm, or cheap overseas labor. The job may request one or more designs to be generated. Each design includes a bill of materials. The design takes into account the barriers for underground pipes, as well as potential spray blockage by trees/shrubs.

The user can check on the status of his job, along with an option to cancel the job.

Design Review
When the job is completed, the user receives an email with a link to a 3D design showing spray patterns and how the shrubs/trees block the spray pattern. An operation plan is provided that times each section of the system to assure different plants receive proper water amounts, including maps of “rainfall” levels.

The user then looks over the alternative designs and selects his favorite. He then clicks on a button that says “request quotes”. Competing sprinkler system installers are sent an invitation to bid on the project.

As the system is built, the design is updated to reflect actual materials used.
The user can choose to calibrate his sprinklers. The system instructs the user locations where rain gauges are to be placed around the yard, along with an operation schedule. The user places the gauges, and records water levels collected at each gauge. The system then creates an observed rainfall map, and generates a refined operational plan intended to meet stated watering requirements. The user may re-calibrate the system as many times as he wishes.

The service is free to the user. Advertisers pay to place ads for sprinkler heads, plants, fertilizer, etc. Installers pay to receive invitations to bid.

See also Sunshine maps.