Monthly Archives: November 2014

24 Hours with an iPad Air 2

The new iPad Air 2

With all the new innovations going into new tablet hardware, we run new devices through a series of tests before we say that it is a supported tablet for VentusAR. There are several stages to this:

  • we mount it on a tripod and check that everything from the 3D world is correct size according to the camera
  • we play with it intensively for a few hours to check it manages its memory properly
  • we try fitting the wireline to the camera feed to ensure that it fits correctly
  • we take it out on site and ensure that it aligns correctly against a built set of turbines of known size and location

We’ve had an iPad Air 2 for 24 hours now, so I thought I would write about some first impressions of it. Two thing immediately jump out at me – its overall size & thickness and the quality of the screen.

It’s Very Light and Thin

Apples marketing text describes this as 18% thinner and about 40g lighter than the iPad Air. I didn’t particularly notice the weight – I think all iPads are light enough weight to be carried anywhere and everywhere, but the thinness really struck me. We use our iPad 4s and iPad Airs in cases so this felt really thin on its own. I might revise my opinion when the cases for this new iPad become available, but it is an impressively slight device.

The Screen is Less Reflective

The screen is the same size as the iPad Air (2048×1536 pixels), so it looks the same, however the thing you notice is that there is less glare reflected in the screen. I set up an iPad Air and iPad Air 2 next to each other on my desk and took a photograph of the light reflection. There is less intensity to the florescent lighting reflected, so I am hopeful that this will be better at reducing glare in the field (I just need a bright sunny day to test it on – I think the next one due for Scotland is in March so I’ll know by then).

iPad Air left (white), iPad Air 2 right (black)

iPad Air left (white), iPad Air 2 right (black)

Under the Hood Changes

This supposedly has a faster processor (the A8X chip instead of the A7) which includes a faster motion coprocessor (M8 instead of M7), an improved gyroscope and accelerometer and improved CPU and graphic performance. Unfortunately the apple website doesn’t provide figures – the 180% faster performance quoted could be comparing the iPad Air 2 to the original iPad, not the iPad Air?

CPU & Graphics Performance - from https://www.apple.com/ipad-air-2/performance/

CPU & Graphics Performance – from https://www.apple.com/ipad-air-2/performance/

Interestingly it has an additional sensor – the barometer. I wonder how we can use that in VentusAR to help make things more accurate?  Or just help to forecast the weather!

Watch this space for more news on when the iPad Air 2 becomes supported by VentusAR.

VentusAR featured on Xamarin developers blog

Last week, VentusAR was featured as an app spotlight on the Xamarin blog. In this video interview, I talk through what VentusAR is and how the different features of it work. I show example of the Fly Through, My View (wirelines) and Gallery working to allow us to explore and review a previously set up project.

Steven, the interviewer, summed up what we have been trying to do with VentusAR:

“VentusAR opened my eyes about the possibility of using game technology to solve real-world business problems, creating one of the most unique app experiences I’ve ever seen.”

Read the full blog post and watch the video to see what we’ve been up to with Xamarin and MonoGame technology.

The Matrix Comes to RenewableUK

This year at the Renewable UK 2014 annual conference and exhibition, we gave our stand visitors a little more to think about, with Neo from the Matrix asking them to choose between the ‘blissful ignorance of illusion or the truth of reality – choose the red pill’

Or really, munch on a cherry flavoured jelly bean whilst we showed you real-time visualisations! IMAG0065

The exhibition, this year at the Manchester Central gave host to 250 exhibitors, and saw nearly 4000 delegates attend the conference sessions over three days.

This gave us the opportunity to launch our new on-demand service for downloading and assessing cumulative visual impact of onshore wind turbines – the UK’s first service of this kind.

It was great to catch up with existing contacts and demonstrate our innovate technologies to new faces in the industry.

Learn more about this new service by viewing the following video or feel free to contact us.

We will be drawing the winner of our bottle of Jura Whisky very shortly – watch this space.

 

Introducing a New On-Demand Service for Cumulative Visual Impact Data

The UK’s first on-line service to search and report on the cumulative visual impact of onshore wind turbines has been developed by Linknode.

Launched at RenewableUK 2014 in Manchester on 11 November, this new data service can cut the time taken for assessments from ‘weeks to minutes’, slashing costs for wind farm developers, local communities and public bodies involved in assessing planning submissions.

It is available immediately to existing customers and, from late November, will be integrated into VentusAR v2.1, the latest version of Linknode’s visual assessment mobile app for tablets, launched originally in 2013.

VentusAR tablet application in wireline mode showing a proposed wind farm with the cumulative impact of five planned projects.

VentusAR tablet application in wireline mode showing a proposed wind farm with the cumulative impact of five planned projects.

We are very proud and excited to be the first in the UK to launch a service of this type, which is the product of more than twelve months concentrated research and development work between ourselves and our data partners.  We believe it is an important time saving and cost cutting enhancement to VentusAR’s capabilities and, as such, we are confident it will meet with a favourable response from developers, communities and planners alike.

View the following video to discover how cumulative data can be instantaneously incorporated into the VentusAR 3D visualisations, or integrated with previously captured photography, to validate the overall impression of change in the landscape or from residential properties.

 

Public Engagement for Wind Turbine Proposals – Good Practice Guidance

This week (3 November, 2014) the Scottish Government posted a consultation draft document on guidance and best practice for wind turbine planning.  The document aims to create discussion and feedback and allows stakeholders to contribute and ultimately help better engage with communities and members of the public.

Both consultation draft and the feedback document are available at the link below:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/11/7727

Details of the process are described below (taken directly from the Scottish Government text).

In response to the Public Petition PE1469 the Scottish Government has agreed to prepare guidance on good practice community engagement methods for wind energy development proposals. The petition was lodged with the Scottish Parliament on 19th March 2013 and closed by the Local Government & Regeneration Committee on 20th August 2014.

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/71311.aspx

This consultation seeks responses to the questions set out within the draft guidance document. This allows stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the content of the guidance. Comments will be taken into account before the document is finalised in Spring 2015.

This guidance has been produced to advise a range of potential stakeholders including local authorities, developers, community groups and members of the public.

There are many aspects to public engagement, and Linknode’s VentusAR technology fits into the visual impact component – helping make developments more accessible, relevant and understandable.  This is often the most contentious part of development affecting a community and we have many clients and examples of how stakeholders and visual receptors have utilised the solution within the pre-planning consultation and formal planning process.

The Scottish government consultation comes close on the heels of the DECC “Community Engagement and Benefit Guidance for Onshore Wind” that we covered in the Blogality entry last month.  In a similar vein, see the Wordle below for the key words and phrases used in the narrative.

Public Engagement for Wind Turbines Good Practice

Public Engagement for Wind Turbines Good Practice

Linknode encourage everyone involved in wind development; landowners, developers, communities, members of the public and other formal and informal groups to read and take active participation in the review process.  We will report on the outcomes and updated guidance in 2015.