Serval Maps at KiwiEx 2012

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Posted in: Corey


The Serval Maps application was recently used during KiwiEx 2012 exercise. Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen, project co-founder and lead researcher, attended the exercise. He has a few posts up already about his experiences [1] and [2].

This was an exciting opportunity to field test the Serval Maps application and some valuable lessons were learned, including:

  1. I can respond to feature requests from New Zealand via satellite phone and update the Serval Maps application successfully;
  2. There is no substitute for field testing with a number of devices, there were a couple of small issues which were highlighted during the testing; and
  3. In general the application worked well and collected a significant amount of data.

The Serval Maps application uses binary files and the Rhizome capabilities of the Serval Project software to share information between devices on the AdHoc mesh network.  At the discretion of the user it can also generate JSON files using the GeoJSON format.

These JSON files were used to populate a website to share information with people who were not participating in the exercise. The JSON files were collected using Rhizome by Dr Paul and then uploaded to our server via a satellite connection.

In keeping with open standards and data formats the website used OpenStreetMap in conjunction with OpenLayers to generate the map on the webpage. By the end of the exercise the website looked like this:

Screen Capture from the Serval Maps website

Using the data that was collected I undertook development of the Serval Maps Data Manipulator application. The intention of this application is to offer ways of manipulating data that is created by the Serval Maps application.

At the moment the focus of the application is on the generation of KML data for use with Google Earth. Using the application I:

The result of these tasks is a map which looks like the screen captures below:

A screen capture from Google Earth at maximum zoom
Another screen capture from Google Earth
Another Screen Capture from Google Earth
Another Google Earth Screen Capture

I’m very pleased with the result and the field testing has been very valuable in providing feedback on the existing application, highlighting areas for improvement and indicating directions for future development.


This post was originally published on the Thoughts by Techxplorer blog and is licensed using a Creative Commons license.

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