Monthly Archives: July 2014

Fun and Games

As the Commonwealth Games roll into Glasgow there are a lot of changes at the Linknode offices. It is time for an update on what is happening outwith VentusAR app news.

Internally, we have welcomed Calum McRae to the team in the Sales and Business Development role. Calum has been meeting customers, preparing meetings and developing contacts – as well as learning all our systems and solutions. If you haven’t heard from Calum, you should soon or feel free to be in touch directly.

We have started on a range of research and development projects to further our capabilities, build new skills and capacities of our solutions and ultimately provide greater benefit and systems to our partners and clients.
In collaboration with the School of the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University we have been working with Dr Frederic Bosche on a proposal to extend some of their innovative techniques for urban visualisation onto our sensor-assisted mobile platforms.

Closer to home, the Strathclyde University Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) is now swathed in glass cladding. The green-space shown on the web links has emerged from the mud and our view is transformed from a building site into a city garden.
Murals have also appeared on the buildings at Strathclyde University that surround us, including this beautiful section of a work by Ejek / Rogue-one.

Summer has also brought all the usual media madness. An example is the raft of press furore that accompanies anything that Apple register with the US Patent Office. This time it was a “Transparent Texting” innovation. Though widely debunked by prior art in newsgroups, Linknode can reference our own earlier published works with TransparenTXT. One of our early proof-of-concept video streaming technology research that now delivers part of the live camera feed into Augmented Reality apps.

In similar vein, a tool that we developed for Windows Phone has now become a mainstream part of the Operating System. MegaTile has now become possible in a much wider context using Start Screen backgrounds.
We continue to use Windows Phone as a rapid application development platform as it’s support for .NET, excellent engineering tools and an affordable range of devices.

Finally, we continue to develop and support browser-based geospatial solutions using free and open-source for Geospatial (FOSS4G) technology, and in particular FDO and MapGuide. This month I was voted onto the MapGuide Project Steering Committee (PSC) and look forward to being able to work with the other members in supporting and developing the future shape.

We will have some exciting product news coming into August – stay tuned…

Feature Spotlight: Reference Markers

We thought we would take a few features of VentusAR and provide some detail on how they work and what they can be used for.

The second feature we would like to cover is the ability to use Reference Markers, to have confidence that the wireline and camera feed shown on the iPad screen are correctly aligned.

Reference structures are extra points shown in the 3D visualisation. When the Reference markers are shown on a visualisation screen they give the result shown below. These reference markers can be turned on to validate the alignment of the image with real-world objects.

Reference Strucutres in Gallery

Reference Markers shown in Gallery View for Dumglass project

Creating Reference Markers

Reference Markers are created in the portal. They are associated with a project and are set-up on the Edit project page. To set up a reference marker you need the following information:

  • Name – a name to identify this marker by (this will be shown across the top of the visualisation screen)
  • Coordinates – either OSGB coordinates or Latitude / Longitude coordinates
  • Altitude – this will be looked up from the terrain services associated with a project
  • Height  – the height of the marker to be shown in the visualisation screen. If you enter a marker size of 50m, a 50m box will be visible on the visualisation screen
  • Colour – the colour the marker should be shown (chose any colour required)

Pro Tip: use the colours to identify similar types of objects: Red for church spires, blue for pylons, green for buildings, yellow for trees.

Once all this information is loaded into the portal it can be seen in the Reference Markers list or on the portal map.

Reference Markers In Portal

Reference Markers list as set up in the Portal

Reference Markers in portal Map

Reference Markers shown as yellow triangles

Reference Markers in App

These reference markers can then be shown in any of the visualisation screens within the app. They are turned on using the reference structures icon in the top right of the visualisation screen.

Tapping the reference markers icon toggles them on or off. icon The results of turning on or off the Reference Markers can be seen in Fly Through and My View / Gallery.

Markers in Fly Through

Reference Markers in Fly Through

Reference Markers in Gallery

Reference Markers in Gallery / My View

Real World Use

The best use-case for reference markers is where there are no terrain features that can be used to align the camera feed to the wireline. e.g. if you are doing a project somewhere flat and don’t have any terrain to use. Adding church spires and obvious other features help ensure that the My View can be aligned correctly.

If you want more information about Reference Markers or for a more detailed demo, please get in touch via

Feature Spotlight: Reloading Altitudes

We thought we would take a few features of VentusAR and provide some detail on how they work and what they can be used for. The first feature we would like to cover is reloading altitudes of your objects for display.

If you are setting up a project quickly, Terrain50 is available for you to lookup altitudes of the turbines, viewpoints etc. During the lifetime of the project, you may add more detailed terrain data to provide a more detailed model of the land. You can use the reload altitude feature to overwrite the altitude from one terrain service with that of a another.

Reload Icon

In VentusAR v1.7 we have added a reload icon next to all the altitudes (Turbines, Viewpoints and Reference Structures. The blue reload icon has a tool tip to show more information about the source of the altitude data. Hover over the blue icon to show the tool tip.

Reload Icon and tooltip

Setup project using Terrain 50 data

All new projects in VentusAR use Terrain50 as the default terrain service. There are a number of reasons behind this, not least we have national coverage of terrain 50 so you can set up a project anywhere using terrain 50 data. You can see the source of this information in the popup by hovering over the blue arrow next to the altitude.

Turbine Altitude - Terrain50

Reload the altitude

If you change the terrain services associated with a project reloading the altitude will use the new terrain service available for that project. The in the example below, the terrain service is reloaded using Panorama instead of Terrain50.
Turbine Altitude - Panorama

If you set up your project pre-version 1.7, the terrain source is classified as unknown as we did not have any way of recording if it was from Terrain50, Panorama or another terrain service.

Real World Use

The real world use for this feature is to:

  • Set up a project quickly using the Terrain50 dataset
  • Import a custom dataset to give a more detailed altitude
  • Reload the altitude and the portal will use the more detailed terrain service to give a more detailed altitude

If you want more information about Reloading Altitude or to load a custom terrain dataset, please get in touch via