Birdseye Maps

Posted: June 30th, 2006 | No Comments »

The University of San Diego History department offers antigue Birdseye Maps of american cities. I think that nowadays we use isometric projections techniques to create similar angle of view.
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Relation to my thesis: People’s perception of space vs the measured space

Uncertainty Visualization References

Posted: June 30th, 2006 | No Comments »

Kristi Potter‘s references on Uncertainty Visualization and Uncertainty Data.

Cone of Uncertainty

Posted: June 30th, 2006 | No Comments »

The Cone of Uncertainty is a concept from the field of evolutionary and adaptive planning in software development estimations.

Due to early requirements change and other factors, there is an initial phase of high uncertainty, which drops as time passes and information accumulates. This has been called the cone of uncertainty

with evolutionary and adaptive planning it is not the case that estimates and schedules are forever unbounded or unknown. Yet, due to early requirements change and other factors, there is an initial phase of high uncertainty, which drops as time passes and information accumulates. This has been called the cone of uncertainty by McConnell in Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art.

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The iterative response to this uncertainty is to defer an expectation of semi-reliable estimates for cost, effort or schedule until a few iterations have passed. Perhaps 10% to 20% into a project.
Relation to my thesis: finding ways to represent uncertainty

Metro-Scale WiFi Reality Check

Posted: June 30th, 2006 | 1 Comment »

From Anthony Thousend’s Telecom-cities google group, a collection of articles about the deployment of muni WiFi in the US. The articles mention some of the challenges in deploying city-wide WiFi networks and matching citizen’s expectations.

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Tempe, AZ wireless network has been up and running since the end of February, and city workers seem to be its biggest fans. However, indoor coverage has been a main issue and some cities hope on the release of a device that consumers can buy to amplify the signal indoors. Outdoor access also has its challenges. To improve spotty coverage, companies and cities are is still filling in dead spots. This leads to this kind of everyday life situation:

“It told me I have no connectivity,” said Hobbs, pecking at his laptop computer. Sitting next to him, Hobbs’ friend Josh Bahner suggested the network doesn’t even exist. “I live down the street, and I know for a fact that I can’t get a signal there,” he said.

but also can be the source of poorly missing the citizens (users)’ expectations

“For cities that are promising their taxpayers they are going to have broadband Internet in the next year or two, I would say all of them are going to prove disappointing,” Lin said. Spotty coverage, fluctuating bandwidth and poor indoor connections are all problems. “It just won’t be considered what most people would find to be a good grade of service.”

More in the CNet’s Local WiFi bet.

Relation to my thesis: examples of patch network coverage and real-world connectivity issues due to physical, technological and economical constraints mismatching with users’ expectations.

Related to:
The High Expectations on Wi-Fi Coverage
Deficient WiFi Awareness Sign

Animated Flight Atlas

Posted: June 29th, 2006 | No Comments »

For the real FlightAware lovers, Michael Peterson and Jochen Wendel worked on flight atlas in form of a DVD. It features animations of flights over North America. The animations are time-lapses that show flights over 24-hour period. The display times are between 30 and 90 seconds. Animations are sorted after flights, aircrafts, airports, cities corridors and regions.

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The location of airplanes was mapped using FlyteTrax. The program updates the position of flights every minute and also allows for the selection of flights based on the aircraft, airline, and the departure or arrival airport. The DVD is accompanied by a 40-page book that explains the North American air traffic control system, Aircraft Situational Display to Industry (ASDI), flight mapping, and air traffic patterns.

Don’t yell “it’s Christmas in June!” too soon… the authors are still looking for a distributor.

Relation to my thesis: Beginning in the 1990s, data on the location of aircraft was made available to the airline industry. The Aircraft Situational Display to Industry (ASDI) system conveys up-to-date information on flights to the airline industry and the public. In 1995 the ASDI information became available on a “need-to-know” basis. Will there be an ASDI for any kind of objects in the future?

TraceME Tracking Module

Posted: June 28th, 2006 | 4 Comments »

TraceME is a GPS-based tracking module A GPRS/GSM modem handles communications that enables remote tracking. In areas with no GPRS/GSM coverage, position data and events are stored in memory for transmission when a network is available. A 640×480 resolution camera as well as a solar power supply can extend the module.

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Relation to my thesis: Example of remote tracking module. I like that fact that the constraints have been taken into consideration. If there is not GPRS, then SMS is used as fail-over. In case of no GSM, data are stored and then probably sent later.

The Reliability of RFID

Posted: June 28th, 2006 | No Comments »

In extension to my discussions on the technical and physical limitations of RFID with Timo Arnall and Laurent Sciboz back at the second blogject workshop, I stumbled on’s article Challenges for the smart tags outweigh the promise… that mentions:

“The reliability of chips is a dirty secret that is finally getting attention. Tags are only functioning at 80 per cent success rates,” she says, adding that antennas sometimes separate from their tags, and that even when the tags stay intact, tag readers are not always reliable. She cites the inability to read tags through metal or liquids (think of all those metal clothes racks in retail outlets) and interference from nylon conveyor belts.

Relation to my thesis: Keeping track of the limitation of ubiquitous technologies, in order to design with them

Improving Location-Aware Applications Through Reinforcement Learning

Posted: June 28th, 2006 | No Comments »

For my doctoral school course on the priniciples of Artificial Intelligence Problem Solving taught by Hector Geffner, R. Dechter and Andrew Barto, I wrote a paper on the use of Reinforcement Learning techniques to design adaptive location-aware applications:

Improving Location-Aware Applications Through Reinforcement Learning

Abstract. Reinforcement learning (RL) addresses the question of how an autonomous agent that senses and acts in its environment can learn to choose optimal actions to achieve its goals. Each time the agent performs an action in its environment, a trainer may provide a reward or penalty to indicate the desirability of the resulting state. In this paper, I suggest an approach to establish the ability to use RL to construct location-aware systems adapting to user’s expectations in terms of location quality and timeliness.

Location Reinforcement Learning

Relation to my thesis: Machine Learning models could be helpful to design context-aware systems that adapt the location information they deliver to the users (not only adapting the interface) according to the expectations and the environment.

The Geospatial Web, State of the Art and Implications on Web Search

Posted: June 28th, 2006 | 2 Comments »

For my doctoral school course on Information Retrieval taught by Ricardo Baeza-Yates, I wrote a paper on the geospatial web entitled:

The Geospatial Web, State of the Art and Implications on Web Search

Abstract. The world-wide web has become virtually ubiquitous. We assume we can learn anything about everything. Moving towards a post-PC era filled with mobile services, massively radio-frequency identifiable objects and wide wireless network coverage we expect the web to be everywhere. Indeed, the physical world is being tagged with location-coordinates and accessible for the asking on the web. This combination of digitalized physical information with web-wide hypermedia (web pages, video, audio, …) has been coined as the Geospatial web. “What is that monument?” and “where is my dog?” belong to the new set of “geo-localized” search queries. This paper covers the state of the art of the geospatial web and discusses the implications on web searching.

Design for Emergent Behaviour with Agents

Posted: June 23rd, 2006 | No Comments »

Related to my thoughts on Wireless Mobile Agents and the Internet of Things, O’Reilly’s Paul Browne suggests that a agent computing might be a paradigm to replace OO programming. He mentions Cougaar for creating and managing agents.

Relation to my thesis: Ubicomp infrastructures are centrally controlled. Some could be designed for the emergence of behaviours as agent programming naturally suggests.