Application Design

I've come up with a final application design I'm happy with and confident will work. Now to start implementing it all.

There will be numerous components in the system, and it's a pretty loose description, but it will do the job.

Data Collector

This will be based in the collector box, running a piece of software on an Arduino base ATMEGA Micro Controller. The program will check for presses of the start button, signalling a listener application on the connected MacBook that the mapping has started. It will then wait for the stop button to be pressed, and collect the data from across the 8 wire networks it can be attached to, and transmit that information to the main computer along with a stop signal.

Listener Application

This will be a background application on the MacBook, which will listen for signals for the data controller. Upon a 'start' it will create a new mapping, and grab co-ordinates for the floats location from the GPS device connected to the macbook, as well as logging the start time and creating a unique ID for the map. When the stop signal is recieved it will log the information gather from the various circuits into a database.

As we won't have a 'live' internet connection on the float this application will also listen for an active internet connection and upon receipt start synchronising data with he primary server were the website lives, uploading new maps and downloading any data that's changed on the website.

Display Application

This will be an application that will run on the laptop on the float, and also on the website for the project. It will work slightly differently for each context, but visually will be mostly identical. It will display the latest map available, as well as allowing exploration of the maps and augmentation of the data collected.

Web Synchronisation

This will be a backend application that will be triggered by the listener application, and handle the details of synchronising data with the main server.

Another Prototype

Fortunately you can't see my bad soldering...
Fortunately you can't see my bad soldering...

i've been playing around building the next prototype for capturing the data from the network. I started playing with the 1 wire libraries that are available for the Arduino, but wasn't getting very far with them, and I'm still somewhat wary of the bit banging approach this takes. If my electronics/physics wasn't quite so rusty I may be more confident.

To that end I've taken on board a different challenging task. I soldered one of the very small surface mount packaged DS2482-100 that Maxim sent me as a sample onto a mounting board from eP board. The soldering is not a task for the feint hearted, and I hope it works. The trouble is that I'm not sure whether it's my dodgy soldering, or something else, which is preventing me from talking to the chip.

I guess I'll just have to carry on getting my head round the [url=²C
I²C and one-wire protocols, in the hope that I can be sure it's one thing. An interesting and challenging task.

The reason I've opted for this route is that I can use the Arduino to control start/stop signals, light a status LED, and collect and send data to our MacBook. Finally I intend to swap out the DS2482-100 for a DS2482-800 in the final build to allow up to 8 one-wire networks, for better contextualising the data we gather.

Float arriving at MDM Props

blending in on the MDM car park
blending in on the MDM car park
Fake Tudor Cabin
Fake Tudor Cabin

The float was delivered to MDM Props in Brixton who will add the final finishes before it goes down to Folkestone. Its also the first time we can see the complete work done by CBL Electric Vehicles which looked great. John, Chris and Neil have been working flat out and have done a great job. - Thank you very much!

Now over to MDM (Ian and Mark) who will prepare the float to take its load. Signs and cones which will transform the whole look of the piece again. The two lonely cones on the roof providing a clue.

Spider Map

Having met up with Andreas and Kathrin we've solidified more how the mapping language will work, and I can see it coming together in my head as a technical and software implementation.

Kathrin has produced a layered spider map showing the various parts of the mapping process and how they all fit together physically, this is also going to be used to work out the breadth of the language and the various parts that will need to be made.

Mapping Areas
The mapping will be broken down into three basic areas, a 'Portrait' which provides some background about the person being mapped, their links to the Folkestone Triennial, which may reflect any involvement with the triennial, and finally there reasons they are interested in the Triennial. On the right is the collector device we are going to use to trigger the collection

This shows how the language will be split up into groups of 'storage signs' and 'collector signs'. The storage signs will be used to hold numerous 'clip on' signs that are used to represent parts of our mapping language. Each storage sign will cover a context, for instance location, or artworks at the triennial.

Here we see the collector signs in place

Storage Areas
How items are grouped in the storage areas. The storage area provides an implied context for each clip-on.

A representation of the clip-ons. These will be small versions of the storage signs, but each will have it's own icon representing it's purpose in the mapping. There are going to be a lot of these.

"Outside of Debenhams"

"Outside of Debenhams" and "In front of Waterstones" was a reaccuring answer to our question, where things take place in Folkestone.

There is a suggestion that the word Folkestone comes from "Folka's stone" a place marked by a rock where people would meet, celebrate, fight, hang out etc. But it remains uncertain where this rock was located.

There is a hint.....

First Proof of Concept

I've managed build a first, quite lo-tech, prototype to make sure that my idea of using 1-wire networks is sturdy enough. My initial look at ibuttons proved them to be too fiddly for the kind of use we need, and so my thoughts turned to something more robust: 1/4" Jack(TRS) Plugs, as used in telephone exchanges in the days of old.

I connected up a number of sockets in a small circuit that had one Silicon Serial Number chip attached to it, and then hooked that back to the 1-wire reader using a guitar lead, and could read one or more chips on the network without a problem. I built a second box and could daisy chain them together, using 10 meter cables. This makes me confident that this will work in a real environment.

The low cost of TRS plugs and the Silicon Serial Number chips, and the simplicity of the network, really appeals to me in making this practical. Earlier networks I'd imagined with lots of intelligent collectors for each network, feeding back to a computer; which would have been expensive and more prone to errors, this one is much more simple.

The only real issue is one of context. I'm unable to detect which chip is plugged into which box when they are chained together, and so this is pushing me towards having multiple 1-wire readers: Though I'm not sure how well the host computer will handle that.

It's looking much more likely that we'll use a micro controller somewhere as well, so it may be possible to read the multiple networks from that. The use of a micro controller comes from the desire to have our computer hidden away, so the focus is on the mapping, not a computer screen.

We've realised we want to capture other input, such as photographs or video, and an easy way of doing this. I've suggested a 'start/stop' mechanism, where a button get's pressed to start the mapping, then pressed again to stop the mapping. This will allow us to grab a time stamp, then when we copy images from a camera we'll be able to tell which mapping they belong to by the time they were taken, to make reconciling maps to collected data easier.

the start stop will also allow us to work out how long it takes to do a mapping, and capture other data such a GPS, or weather, or anything we decide on.

a public works project. site design and build by dorian