Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On-the-ground work

The vast majority of my mapping work is done via my computer chair with the Bing imagery. I've been going over South-East Tallahassee roads very thoroughly. My existing knowledge of the area, plus the Bing imagery allows me to get a lot of very accurate work done fast. 
However, there have been a number of questions I couldn't answer. Lots of churches where brought in via the GNIS import, and they need to be individually verified to 1. Actually exist and 2. Be named correctly.

Today I stayed home with my sick daughter, and I used the opportunity to drive around and get some on-the-ground mapping done. I was able to remove some streets I was 95% sure didn't exist. I added some detail to some schools in the area. I removed some churches that didn't exist, renamed churches that had changed denominations and names, and I did some other minor cleanup and fixing.

I was able to accomplish this with my CR-48 Chrome Laptop, and my rooted Droid Incredible's Internet access. This setup isn't nearly as nice as my desktop computer with DSL.

Downloading tiles took much longer, and Flash on the laptop isn't nearly as fast. The mediocre trackpad was another issue of frustration. However, with some time and patience, and with my daughter quite content playing her new 3DS, I got some good mapping done.

When I got home I went back and added some better detail to a local city park, and made other touch-ups easier done at home, but from knowledge gained during my field mapping. I've got a few more roads I need to visually verify and I will consider my work, for now, on the area to be done.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time to get some real detail

Today I finished reviewing all of the primary and secondary roads in Tallahassee. Name abbreviations have been removed, positions have been corrected, dual-carriage ways have been separated out, and other relevant meta-data has been added.
At this point I'm going to move on to cleaning up neighborhoods, adding area detail such as marking wooded areas and lakes, and removing erroneous roads. The TIGER import has lots of residential roads that don't exist in real life, and plenty of other roads just grossly misplaced. Sometimes there are named streets that don't even exist. 

I've also added detail for a few schools around town.

I find the maps look truly beautiful when an area has a high level of detail added. I don't think I will be adding too many building, except when working on schools. At some point I will probably tackle FSU and FAMU, though those will be major undertakings. I've already got some FSU mapped out.

The good news is that if you are passing through Tallahassee with your GPS and OSM data, you can have a high level of confidence that you will be guided through without any sort of crazy bad TIGER data causing you heartache.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fix flickering in Boxee with ATI graphics card

I recently installed Boxee on a new computer I got for my daughter.  It was running Ubuntu 11.04 and I used this fix to get it to install.  Unfortunately, like many in the comments section of the fix blog post, was getting too much flickering in the application to be able to use it.  It took me a little Googling, but I finally found a fix after following a link that suggested I follow another link, which finally took me to instructions that hinted at how to fix it.  Apparently the problem exists when using an ATI card with the open source driver and Compiz enabled, but don't quote me on that.
To fix it, one simply needs to turn off vsync.  To do this open up the guisettings.xml configuration file and change vsync from 2 to 0.
First, lets backup the file.
cp ~/.boxee/UserData/guisettings.xml ~/.boxee/UserData/guisettings.xml.bak
Now we need to edit the file.  Run the first command to do it with a GUI, or the second to use vim.
gedit ~/.boxee/UserData/guisettings.xml
Find vsync in this file and change the 2 to a 0, and save the file.  It should be line 551 in the file.  Lines 546  through 552 should look like this initially.   
After the change they should look like this.
Now if you start boxee it no longer flicker.