Research and Open Source

This brief article documents some early exploration into using WMS with the new Google Maps V2 API. It is intended as a reference to help someone trying to get WMS tiles (IE from GeoServer) onto an Android map.

WMS is used to serve map tiles over HTTP by back end frameworks like GeoServer. Some set of geo-referenced data, typically shape files or data stored in a PostGIS database, are returned as raster map tiles. In the past, this data has been consumed by web applications using a client library such as Leaflet or OpenLayers. With Google’s v2 mapping API for android, it is now relatively straightforward to build Android apps that combine WMS tiles with Google’s base maps and other data such as vector shapes and map markers.

With the introduction of devices like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, and Google Cardboard, immersive virtual reality experiences are emerging from research laboratories into mainstream use. These experiences are characterized by the sense of presence that they create, putting participants visually, viscerally and psychologically into imagined, historical, representational, and impossible environments.

Movement bases experiences, particularly those that combine bicycles, treadmills, and body tracking with VR, are one area of focus for HCI research. The exploration of game dynamics, the specific game play elements within the system contexts (e.g. limited sensors) and human contexts (e.g. fatigue) of movement could lend itself to a design science approach.

This discussion covers research on recent computer graphics pedagogy, with a particular eye towards major themes and implementation level technologies. For example, one theme that recurs throughout the research is the need to strike a balance between engaging beginning students to continue studying computer science, and the need to provide a foundation rooted in rigorous data structures and algorithms. A second theme that recurs is the need to abstract away the complexity of systems intended for engineering (Android SDK, OpenGL), in order to use them for teaching purposes. Presented as well, are case studies from the literature that implement these and other themes.

In a speech to game developers in 2014, Palmer Luckey, the inventor of the Oculus Rift, asserted that content creation for the new devices is not merely a matter of porting existing content, but creating entirely new game elements (Luckey 2014). Perhaps this is due to what Steptoe et. al. refer to as the defining characteristic of these devices, the psychophysical non-mediation, or the sensation that the participant is experiencing a reality unmediated by the technology (Steptoe, Julier & Steed, 2014). This is historically referred to as presence. Perhaps because these devices uniquely create a sense of presence, experiences must be designed specifically for them.