My friend Jim gave me a heads up to an upcoming event for those interested in learning to code.
“Write Your First Line of Code” (Facebook link)
It looked interesting – coding for absolute beginners. It’s also an opportunity to show off the Hackforge location.
As I was poking around, I located one of the organizers/supporters of the Hackforge, Parallel 42 Systems. What really caught my eye about this company was the development of an application to help explore Windsor and Essex County. It’s a free download from the Apple App Store. So, I snagged a copy and started looking around.
By tapping on various parts of the screen, you can locate restaurants, wineries, and all kinds of points of interest. My furry walking company was intrigued by the inclusion of walking trails so, of course, we had to check it out and mark things for future outings. We could see the Chrysler Greenway, Petite Cote, Holiday Beach, etc. but the good news was that there were some new locations that we’ll have to explore ourselves.
It was an interesting tour of the county. You could zoom in and out and do a virtual exploration. The application is very nicely done and other counties and cities would be wise to develop something similar to help promote themselves. I’m sure that they could contact this company and they’d be happy to get involved. We only noticed two things – the Provincial Highway 18 has been given to the county and is now county road 20 and the King’s Navy Yard where we check out the river on our walks was missing. But, I suppose that’s probably a matter of logistics – there would be so much green covering if all the parks were included.
As I was interacting with this, I knew exactly how it was created. There’s a base map and layers were placed on top depending upon the interaction from the user.
Then it hit me. I’d done this before. In fact, a lot of people in my old district had done it before – in a Hyperstudio workshop.
I had used the concept as a way of introducing multimedia production to teachers within the district. It also was a way to work with new tools. From the Plant Department, I had collected floor plans to every school. During the workshop, teachers would go through the 8.5×11 documents to find their school and scan the document to their workspace. Once in Hyperstudio, this was loaded as the base for their project. On top, we would add clickable hotspots for each classroom and assigned a button action to each hotspots. So, if you clicked on Mr. Peterson’s classroom, you’d go to another card in the stack with his picture, bio, and information about classes he taught. After the workshop, teachers would go back to school and continue to work on it, with students now in charge, and add digital pictures of the whole school along with documentation. The resulting project could be exported as a Flash application and put on the school website.
This application was based the same concept. It was developed with more contemporary tools and the target was iOS devices. Unfortunately, there’s no Android version.
Now, the reality is that this exploration application has access to a huge database of information. Just clicking on restaurants, for example, displays a menu where you can further refine the search. It’s rich in content and information and testament to the fact that you can really develop something valuable given the time, people power, and data that the end user desires.
So, kudos to the folks at Parallel 42 for the development of this application and for the throw back memory for me.