Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Virtual Decatur RFI


The City of Decatur (GA) has issued an RFI for The Development & Management of “Virtual Decatur”: A Massively Multi-Player Online Virtual Environment.

To be successful it’s gonna take some entertainment. Maybe they could offer an interface to Grand Theft Auto to allow gamers to download their city.
Homer visits Decatur.


GeoWeb Art, OpenCL

Sichuan Valley
Sichuan Basin map from EarthPattern.

Maybe its just me, but Web2.0 maps sure seem to lag aesthetically compared with those created by desktop applications. The maps at EarthPattern are created primarily as works of art.

Processing may change all that. It is an open source programming language focused on providing tools for visual artists. I think it would be great to see more cartography tools built with Processing.

This image created with Wormtopia, a Processing based tool.

Sound And Vision
acoustic cartography
Acoustic Cartography is a good example of what can be done with Processing.

OpenCL looks like it might support client side geoprocessing that leverages the GPGPU. I’ve found OpenGL is powerful but difficult to work with. There has been some work done here to support OpenGL in the web, but …

The difficulty with using OpenGL is that the API is not very approachable for web developers; it’s a huge jump going from the 2D canvas API to a full 3D API. My hope is that those developers who are familiar with OpenGL will be able to create helper libraries to make 3D content and manipulation more accessible, much like there are tools such as photo montage scripts that authors can use without having to understand the implementation details.

Processing has an OpenGL library, but it appears to have a lot of issues. It’s not clear to me if OpenCL subsumes OpenGL. If so, maybe OpenCL will provide the critical mass needed for Processing developers will write helper libraries that support not only graphics but high performance client side web based geoprocessing (e.g., raster overlay on the client side). Suppose I get two different images from different sources. Doing image classification, and heat map generation on the client side might be possible. After all, it’s basically a problem of manipulating large arrays, something OpenCL should do quite fast.

Stand in the Place Where You Aren’t


Some interesting research into personal space is in the news. Essentially this is realtime geospatial technology at a human scale. I’ve always been intrigued the way kids playing with a globe will put their hand over their location and look out the window, almost expecting to see their hand in the sky.

To add a physical element, the researchers have each person squeeze the other’s hand, as if in a handshake. Now the subject can see and “feel” the new body. In a matter of seconds, the illusion is complete. In a series of studies, using mannequins and stroking both bodies’ bellies simultaneously, the Karolinska researchers have found that men and women say they not only feel they have taken on the new body, but also unconsciously cringe when it is poked or threatened.