July 24, 2006
The Carbon Project - ((Echo))MyPlace
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Message from the Editor -
Welcome to GISWeekly! The Carbon Project demonstrated ((Echo))MyPlace, a type of real time, non web service Myspace, at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. They are also selling the software development toolkit so that people can make their own applications, and the CarbonCloud framework so they can also make their own peer-to-peer frameworks and networks. Read about it in this week's Industry News.
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The Carbon Project - ((Echo))MyPlace
by Susan Smith
What is a Myspace or Plaxo with maps that is not a web service?
The answer is ((Echo))MyPlace, a new application created by The Carbon Project with part of their CarbonTools PRO toolkit suite, CarbonCloud. CarbonCloud is the peer-to-peer (P2P) framework for sharing location content.
The Carbon Project demonstrated this application at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. They are also selling the software development toolkit so that people can make their own applications, and the CarbonCloud framework so they can also make their own peer-to-peer frameworks and networks.
“It's sort of like a real time, real place Myspace, with maps,” summarized Harrison. “You can't do the same types of things with Plaxo and Myspace. They make you upload your data into some remote server, and that's completely unacceptable for a soldier or firefighter. With EchoMySpace, you can pull in all these maps from web services to form what we call 'neighborhoods.' It's a more democratic way to approach it and it is also based on peer-to-peer (P2P) and core software as opposed to Web 2.0 stuff.”
will be a free download. We designed it to be easy and non-geospatial, so we tried it with a 14 year old girl as our target user. We're getting pretty good at hiding the complexity of OGC and other services and content into something that is consumer friendly and choosing a 14 year girl as our target demographic was not just to make something for kids, but to help us to develop an easy user interface and capabilities for users such as fire fighters and first responders.”
((Echo))MyPlace was built with CarbonTools PRO, Carbon Project's next generation toolkit, as a demonstrator for what you could do in CarbonTools. “We also built it so we could have a free download where this target audience could use all these things I just mentioned without having to worry about it, then add their own user generated content and share it very easily.”
Not only does CarbonTools PRO have a lot of enhanced capabilities, but also supports many new formats such as time-based mapping, real time KML, very varied sources of information as well as OGC.
can create their own ad hoc survival network and bounce the notes back and forth without needing to be on the internet.
“This is a very secure communication on a very survivable network,” maintained Harrison. “it's not actually riding on an internet backbone, it's riding on an ad hoc wireless network formed up around a specific situation. We see a lot of applications for fire, first responders, infrastructure protection, and network centric operations in the military.
This type of peer-to-peer communication works in a server self-repairing, self-sustaining type of environment where “peers are all you need.” You don't need a server over the internet like you would for file sharing where you would communicate with peers over the internet. In the demonstration done at the conference, Harrison said they had three machines - two mobile computers and a laptop -- and networked them together. None of them were connected to the internet, yet they were able to get good range with just WiFi cards on the machines.
The military is interested in forming their own ad hoc networks and with a small antennae adjustment they can get greater range, and form “neighborhoods.”
The maps used for ((Echo))MyPlace are so far Yahoo! base maps, GlobeXplorer aerial photography, CustomWeather, real time weather information, Google Earth in KML and KMZ, and OGC Web Map Server (WMS) or Web Feature Server (WFS) as well.
“With CarbonTools PRO, we have no problem bringing in the tile based maps like Yahoo maps and Google maps and merging those with WMS from all different places including GlobeXplorer,” explained Harrison. “This is probably the biggest interoperability challenge right now that people don't talk about, the fact that all these popular tile based maps don't work with OGC but in the end CarbonTools PRO is about geospatial interoperability and we have a new set of controls that allows this to happen. We can actually cache and tile with WMS easily with CarbonTools.
“We have a software tool that makes it possible for developers to bridge the OGC world and the mainstream tile based mapping world called DataRasterTiles. Add to that our ability to be able to deal with non imagery data such as GML or KML. Plus we added a sophisticated symbology engine to CarbonTools which allows us to symbolize and render features,” said Goldstein.
((Echo))MyPlace also leverages the capabilities of the new generation Ultra Mobile PCs with a full Windows XP system with .NET 2.0. This is slightly bigger than a PDA. Harrison said “What Microsoft is doing with their operating system is taking the Windows XP environment into a mobile PC (Ultra Mobile PC) so that the line between a phone, PDA, Ultra Mobile PC and laptop is blurred,” Harrison pointed out. “We see (((Echo))MyPlace) taking advantage of this new form factor for new location-based social networking.”
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