[OSM-dev] Regarding GSoC 2011 and the 'Develop a simple mapping tool for phones' idea

Achintya Prakash achint.prakash at gmail.com
Sun Mar 20 18:32:31 GMT 2011

Hello everyone, awesome to see you guys selected for GSoC 2011!!

My name is Achintya Prakash and I'm a third year undergraduate student of
Computer Science, based in India.
I've been involved with android development for well past 3 months now, and
have dabbled in a lot of  different aspects of it. Recently, I had the
fortune of being chosen to attend a Design and Innovation workshop held by
people from the MIT Media Labs, where amongst other things
like efficient storyboarding/designing/brainstorming techniques, they also
gave tutorials on android development.

I'm also a student of an android development course in my college, and I
must say, its more fun than I would have ever thought!!
That's a bit of background about me, but the real thing is that I would love
to work as a student for your organisation on something related to android.

I recently submitted, as my mid semester 'mini' project, the outline for an
application that would give reminders not only based on time, but also
location (the inspiration behind this was the fact that I would drive around
town and always pass the places where I had to pick up something without
noticing. Having a simple timed reminder didn't always help, since I
couldn't really know the time at which I would be in the locality!)

After I gave the skeleton of the app, my teacher gave me a few suggestions
to make it more useful, so I wanted to propose an idea for a project. This
project closely parallels your idea for "Develop a simple mapping tool for
mobile phones", although the functionalities I have mentioned go further in
scope than the GSoC timeline (since I plan to keep contributing to this
idea). I would love to work on a project like this, and hence *would like to
work on developing the simple mapping tool for phones* as a part/component
of this extended project.

App name: Effective route tracing and recording

Functionality: A passive route logging tool for  android phones. The basic
ideology is that the route traversed by a single person should be
remembered/logged if required for later reference, without any active input
being given by the concerned person. A visual representation such as
overlays presented on a map/ values of latitude and longitude/ a more human
friendly address name( as decoded via geocoder) and intelligent direction
sensor ( turn left on Abbey Road, or something along those lines) be the
desired output. A number of added functionalities should be incorporated:

1. The ability to 'record' a route as a person is moving.

2. The ability to transfer a pre-recorded route via a multitude of ways,
including through sms (the easiest way would be through a series of
latitude/longitude, arranged in an appropriate format that could be read by
the application and translated as overlays on a map, or some other visual
representation), via wifi, bluetooth etc (could have an intelligent sensing
to see the most efficient method based on a certain criteria, hence giving
the user freedom from having to choose).

3. The ability to run real time route transfer ( especially useful in cases
where you have a lot of people following each other in cars, where only one
person knows the way). The 'master' phone would logging at predefined
intervals and sending over the information to the 'slave' phones, which
would automatically display the visual representation.

4.The ability to add user information to the route-points. Especially useful
in cases where a pre-recorded route is being sent, user input could include
textual or pictorial messages ( example, if giving directions, you may
include a picture of a well know nearby landmark, or just any structure and
include text references like 'take left here'.) Drawable attributes like
being able to scribble, draw arrows, circles etc on the sent information
should also be included.

These are the initial proposed functionalities that I would think would make
the application extremely useful in a lot of situations. Alternatively,
there are a number of better improvements that can further be done:

1. To have the route synced with local traffic/ news updates, hence be
alerted in real time if the route is congested or under repair.

2. Have an intelligent route sensing system that could, based on machine
learning and frequent routes travelled, suggest alternatives/status updates
of the routes. (Example, if a person travels via the same route to office
everyday, or something)

3. Have different 'modes' of route sensing (example: vacation mode would  be
able to sync to useful API's and retrieve information of relevance to you
about the nearby locality, like bars. restaurants, hotels etc and display
them, in an interactive manner, like having a map overlay showing a
connecting line between your position and the destination, the distance,
maybe even recent tweets/reviews about the place.)

Alternatively I was thinking of making an API to provide
generic functionalities including the ones above, but again...advice and
feedback would be nice.

This is an informal first draft that I'm proposing. I know it sounds
ambitious, and I don't propose the whole thing for the GSoC time line, but
plan to keep contributing further to it. I have to work out the finer
details about it. However, I do plan to take this up as my semester project,
which means that I would start working on it very soon, and I would love to
be able to develop it further.

I would love your feedback on this. If you could give me some advice on how
to get started, that would be brilliant. I really am keen to hone my android

Waiting for your feedback. :) This is the initial draft, and I would love to
work thing out more.

Thank you,

Achintya Prakash
Department of Computer Science
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