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I picked up one of the final collector signs from Public Works today, and brought it home along with some strange looks I got as I carried it past the the hordes outside of various pubs. The final part in place and it's all working well, save for the circuit being wired anti-clockwise, though that's easily solved.


Putting it all together

It's neater than it looks, honest guv.
It's neater than it looks, honest guv.

After a long block soldering, unsolder, re-soldering, I've finally managed to get all of the data collector box together, and this is what it looks like before it's boxed up. I've soldered the extra components and controllers onto an Arduino 'ProtoShield'. I made a few silly mistakes, but they were easily fixed.

The protoshield means I can easily replace the various components if there is a failure, especially as the cables are all attached via screw down terminal blocks. The code for the Arduino board is pretty much complete, but I want to do some thorough testing before I finally load it onto the microcontroller without the Arduino Bootloader.


Start & Stop

Well, I found it exciting

A small milestone, seeing the start/stop buttons work in context as I do final tests to the prototype


A third and final prototype..

This is the final circuit in all it's glory, on a breadboard. With the box being started behind it.
This is the final circuit in all it's glory, on a breadboard. With the box being started behind it.

I've made the final prototype for the data collector, complete with stat-stop switches and a status indicator LED. It's much much simpler than I expected when I started this project, and that can only be a good thing in my book. Now to get soldering and get it all into the box, which I picked up from Public Works today.

Whilst I was at Public Works earlier Andreas showed me some of the signs, and I also picked up the final box for the data collector, and started fitting it out.


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.


a public works project. site design and build by dorian