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content:servalmaps:capabilities

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Capabilities of Serval Maps

The goal of the Serval Maps application is to provide a software platform that supports users to collaboratively add information to a map. Users can see their own location on the map, and can see the location of other users of the application on the map. Users can also add a point of interest (POI) to the map.

The initial use case that started development of the application was to support collaborative mapping activities during a disaster or other emergency event. With this in mind the types of POIs that users were expected to create include such things as “this bridge is out”, “a building has collapsed here” or “emergency supplies are located here”.

The first version of the application was developed to satisfy the requirements of this honours project undertaken at Flinders University by Corey Wallis who has since joined the project as a senior software engineer.

When the application launches the user is presented with a disclaimer screen indicating that at present data is transferred across the network in an unencrypted format and that data is also stored on the device unencrypted. Users must indicate that they understand the disclaimer before they can use the application.

Via a menu available from this screen a user can export the POI and location information for later analysis, delete the data stored on the device (excluding exported data and data sent via Rhizome), and view information about the app including details of the licenses that govern use of the source code. The user is also able to upload anonymous usage statistics via the about screen if they so choose.

The map that is displayed by Serval Maps is rendered using the mapsforge library which in turn uses data sourced from OpenStreetMap and stored in binary map files. These map files are stored on the SD card of the device. At present these files need to be copied manually to the SD Card. A later version of the Serval Maps application will allow downloading of map data from a Serval Project server.

When the map loads, and a GPS fix is achieved, users of the map can see their own location displayed on the map. They can also see the location of other users on the map. If a user touches the marker that indicates their own location a small popup is displayed that shows their own GPS coordinates. Touching the marker of another user shows some brief contact information about the other user, the distance between the two users, and the ability to call or message the other user.

Points of Interest (POI) can be added to the map either by long touching on the map, or by accessing a menu option. When adding a POI using the menu method the current location of the user is used for the location of POI. The user has the opportunity to add a title, description and optionally a photo to add to the POI. When the POI is saved a copy of the data is distributed via Rhizome so that other users of the application can see the information.

Points of Interest are displayed on the map and can also be viewed as a list, which can be sorted by title or by date / time of entry.

The user has a number of different options to configure how the Serval Maps application behaves. For example the user can control:

  • the delay between map refreshes
  • the maximum age of location and POI information to display on the map
  • show fields to manually entry GPS coordinates when creating a new POI
  • automatically centre the map on the users current location on each map refresh
  • output location information in a JSON format as well as the binary format
  • use a series of mock locations for testing. These mock locations define a track within the bounds of Flinders University and therefore a map of Flinders University is required

Other capabilities are being added to the Serval Maps application as development continues. The development roadmap shows which features are currently being worked on.

If you have any questions, queries or comments about the Serval Maps application please contact us via maps@servalproject.org

content/servalmaps/capabilities.1338030823.txt.gz · Last modified: 26/05/2012 04:13 by Corey Wallis