Category Archives: Apple

Future Cities :: Future of Planning

We are delighted to confirm that we have been selected as one of the shortlisted 10 projects in the Future Cities Catapult “Future of Planning” initiative.eventbrite-002-1600x800

 

 

 

 

 

https://smartcitiesworld.net/governance/smes-help-to-overhaul-uk-planning-1473

Our solution B4itsBuilt, mobilises citizen engagement through true visualisation.

This project will extend professional, accurate, real-world AR experiences into the public domain for the first time. It will deliver the template for a consumer solution to allow users to see the visual effect of a planning application. It will be possible to hold up a phone or tablet and see the impact of an application in order to enable informed engagement and increase community influence in decision making.

If you would like to be involved as a data partner, and have a project / development you would like to see – please feel free to get in touch – hello@linknode.co.uk or call us on 0141 559 6170

catapuly

 

 

iOS 10 Released

Today iOS 10 has been released. We have tested VentusAR 5.0 with iOS 10 on the iPad Air, Air2 and Pro and everything seems to be working perfectly.

logodeios10The main difference I think that VentusAR customers will see is the new way of unlocking the tablet: instead of swiping right on the lock screen, you now press the home button to unlock. There are loads of other new features that have been added into iOS 10, you can find a full list at apple’s website.

We recommend everyone updates to iOS 10 to take advantage of the new features and security updates included in this release.

What Does Pokémon GO Mean for AR?

Unless you have been under a rock for the past few weeks (July 2016), you can’t have helped but notice that Pokémon GO has somewhat taken the world by storm.  In doing so it has also brought the term “augmented reality” (AR) to the masses with everyone including Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg weighing in with comment and opinion.

Pokemon GO

Linknode use AR as a technology to provide real-world, real-time visualisation for planning and development, so what does the conversion of a technology into a consumer application mean?

The Google Maps Connection

Within the geospatial business, we have seen a similar transition previously.  Back in the day, when digital mapping meant high end desktops and expensive software, the introduction of online mapping had a disruptive effect on the industry.

A startup called Keyhole was acquired by Google in 2004 and the founder John Hanke went on to enable Google Maps.  This was the first time that most lay-people had had access to mapping beyond the street atlas in the back of the car.  It was a revolution.

Within the geospatial industry, initially it caused a dilution in the “value of GIS systems” message.  Why pay big bucks for something you could get for free from Google?

But long term the understanding that the consumer offering is not the same as professional solutions has created a market, provided a route to understanding and clarity over the limitations.  Pokémon GO does not manage occlusion, real-time lighting, complex models, or precision coordinate system management for engineering accuracy.

And what happened to John Hanke?  Well, he went onto develop a clique AR game called Ingress and then his studio Niantic developed Pokémon GO – the guy has form!  You can read more detail with a search, example Forbes article here.

Future

So the future is AR.  But Linknode’s real-world AR (GIality) solutions VentusAR and UrbanPlanAR are as different to Pokémon GO as ArcGIS is to Google Maps.  Still, at least people have an idea what we do now!

Mario Kart GoImage Courtesy of News Thump – Release of Mario Kart Go! for Satnav ‘hopefully won’t cause too many accidents’

iOS 9.3.2 Released

ios9This week, Apple released an update to iOS 9. The iOS 9.3.2 update brings a few minor fixes to the iPad for the newest iPad Pro users.

This has been tested with VentusAR and all appears to be working fine.  We recommend upgrading to the latest version of iOS to take advantage of these new features and fixes.

Staff Spotlight – Rufus Mall

Our latest team spotlight is our iOS guru, senior software engineer, Rufus Mall.

Who are you and what is your role at Linknode?

My name is Rufus Mall. I’ve been working as a Software Engineer at Linknode for around three and a half years now. The main skills I use of at Linknode are Graphics Programming and iOS Development. I spent the first three years of my time at Linknode working on VentusAR but have now moved on to working on our upcoming product UrbanPlanAR.

RUFUS

My favourite person in the world (alongside Steve Wozniak)

Continue reading

The answer is blowing in the wind

How many times have you gone out to a site visit  – where more than likely – it’s pretty windy!

You have your ring-binder full of wirelines, constraint maps etc. – you’re breaking your back trying to carry it, and your papers are flying about all over the place! Sound familiar? Well, we can help!

With VentusAR, you can download all the PDF’s you need from the portal, and have everything in one place, on your tablet.

It’s pretty simple to do and can save you a a lot of hassle.

How to:

  • From the Portal (portal.ventusar.com)
  • Choose your Project
  • Scroll down to Reference PDF Files
  • Choose the relevant pdf you need and Begin Upload

image 1

 

  • Open VentusAR on your tablet
  • Open the relevant project
  • Click View More Info

Capture

  • The list of all PDFs will be shown

image 2

  • Choose the PDF you want to be able to access and a window will be shown giving you options of how to store the file. Here we Copy to iBooks

image 4And that’s it.

All your files in one handy, small, lightweight and windproof place.

If you would like to learn more about features within VentusAR, please get in touch at hello@ventusar.com or give us a call on 0141 559 6170

Assessing buildings onsite

Since 2012, VentusAR has enabled users to conduct onsite visualisations and assessments of onshore wind, solar and grid connections.

Our latest buildings feature will provide users with the ability to assess the developments of buildings and houses. We describe this as assessing the impact of rural developments. (We have another product we are building to allow users to assess urban developments – see UrbanPlanAR.com for details).

Assessment mode using the camera feed

Assessment mode using the camera feed

The development work to enable the visualisation of buildings to be assessed within VentusAR has now commenced. Once this feature is live, it will provide our clients with a few key benefits:

  • Save time during design process – Quickly create a 3D overview of the project and check sight lines and symmetry etc.
  • Save time while onsite – Check how visible a development will be from anywhere – as quickly as pointing the iPad and taking a photo.
  • Engage the public better – Take the tablet to a member of the public to show what the development would look like from their house.
  • Increase the chance of a successful planning application – VentusAR visuals aide better communication with the Planning Authorities.
  • Costs less than the price of 3DSMax and a trained operator.

These benefits will be delivered across the following features:

  • Choose 3D models from a library of buildings (pitched roof house, flat roof house, block of flats, barns).
  • Enter user configurable height, length and depth.
  • View a Fly Through to show the buildings in the context of the landscape.
  • Use My View to show what the development will look like on screen, using the real-time camera as a live background. Either in assessment mode showing outlines, structure and visibility or realistic mode with appropriate texture and detail.
  • Easily share photos and videos of what the development is going to look like.
Wireline Photomontage

Wireline photomontage of a building assessment

This work is due to be completed mid 2016. If you are working on designing or assessing buildings in a rural environment, we would love to hear from you and get your input to help define the product.

Please get in touch by emailing hello@ventusar.com or calling 0141 559 6170. We can come and show you what we are up to, how we can improve your assessment processes and save you money!

Team Spotlight – Ryan Welsh

Team spotlight time – let me introduce you to our newest and youngest member of staff – software engineer Ryan Welsh.

Who are you?

I am Ryan

ruan2

What is your role at Linknode and how long have you been working here?

I have been working as a software engineer for just over a year. My role in the company is iOS developer, for our flagship product, VentusAR. My work involves adding new features to our game engine.

What has been your favourite project at Linknode?

My favourite project was undertaking a bespoke task for Natural Power. It involved combining VentusAR’s virtual reality mode with an external sensor system to create a useful tool for monitoring wind farms. I learned alot from this project as I completed it on my own, and several areas were new to me.

How has Linknode helped you in your career development?

I have been flung in at the deep end several times and been sent off to carry out research in a particular area to gain an understanding of the best approach needed to implement a new feature. This has enhanced my skills, not only in programming, but in design documentation and research. I am also given large feature projects to work on which are different to the next, so I am never really repeating tasks.

If you could describe working at Linknode, what would they be?

Friendly, Challenging, Rewarding

If you had to eat one meal every day, for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chicken and chips

What books are at your bedside?

The Walking Dead

What did you want to be when growing up?

A fireman 🙂

Ryan_working

Xamarin acquired by Microsoft

Hi, it’s me again – Rufus. It is that time of the year again where I write a technical blog!

You may have read my previous post about the Apple technologies that were announced a few months ago. With the recent announcement that Xamarin has been acquired by Microsoft, I thought it was an appropriate time to share some of my thoughts with the world! This blog post will share a little bit our history with Xamarin technologies – and some of our thoughts on the recent news.

How we got into Xamarin

When Linknode first dipped into the world of mobile applications, it was only natural for us to begin investigating the Windows Phone platform, due to our developers having a rich history with Windows desktop and server based technologies. After creating a number of Windows Phone applications – to gain some experience with intricacies of mobile development we looked into expanding to the other platforms. Driven by our development history, our desire to build Augmented Reality applications and the small size of our development team the following requirements were important to us:

  • Share as much code as much as possible
  • Provide the user with a “Native” experience – Each application should follow the idioms of the device it is running on
  • The ability to write high performance – real time applications
  • Ideally we should be able to reuse our .net/C# skills and code.

The above list of requirements is quite steep – but the first three are easily possible using available tools. However back then, most people thought C# was a Microsoft technology and was not supported by other platforms… or was it? This is where Xamarin comes in!

xamagonXamarin

We started building some simple test applications to try out the Xamarin technologies and were highly impressed with the quality of the output, and also the lack of a steep learning curve.

Xamarin is based on the “Mono” runtime and allows you to write applications in C# for Android, iOS, Windows and Mac. Xamarin allowed us to share a large amount of code and make use of our experience with C# and the general richness of the large “.net” based API’s.

Some other options at the time were not sounding so promising. This is not to say switching to Xamarin was without issues. As an “early bird” user of Xamarin we had some issues such as the primitive nature and stability of the development tools. However we have seen the Xamarin toolchain go through various phrases of re-branding and improvements and it has now emerged as a stable and somewhat mature development platform. The Xamarin developer Ecosystem is full of libraries/components developers can make use of to accelerate development without sacrificing the experience for the end user. Another point of note is that if you are a native iOS/Android developer with a lack of sharp experience as I was – switching to Xamarin is extremely easy. All the API’s and built-in Frameworks you are familiar with are still there and easily accessed from C#.

code-sharing1

 

Acquisition + conclusion

We are happy with the decision to go down the route of building cross platform applications using Xamarin and are pleased with the somewhat expected acquisition. We hope the recent news will enrich the Xamarin development community further, not only by generating more interest for the Xamarin toolchain and growing the size of the community – but also to aid in breathing some new life into the windows mobile space.

Either way I am sure having the great experience of a company such as Microsoft cannot be a bad thing. If any of you are deliberating whether to investigate Xamarin for your own projects I strongly recommend you try it out!

xamarin-joins-microsoft