Saturday, July 30, 2011

World Wind: Open Source Google Earth?

World Wind is by no means as full-featured as Google Earth, but if you just want to play Atlas and spin the world around, it's a good option. To install under Linux, look for worldwind in the software channels, but the java version of the software runs on any platform. Best thing about it is that the software is open source and the imagery is not owned and copyrighted by [insert giant corporation here]. There are some nice Java webstart demos here too: showing things like loading .kml files, mapping elevations, annotations, geo-mapped photos, earthquake information etc.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hold the world in the palm of your hand

One of the winners at last year's New Zealand Open Source Awards was Ghosts in the Form of Gifts by Bronwyn Holloway-Smith.
This project used Open Source machines - the RepRap - to recreate physical artefacts from Te Papa that had been lost or destroyed over the years. The finished files for the artefacts were released under a Creative Commons licence so that anyone who wished to could create their own exhibits. Most of these represented items of significance to Pacific cultures.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to use public domain 3D models like these with students wherever and whenever we liked? Of course. Enter AndAR, which stands for Android Augmented Reality. This app allows anyone with an Android phone to download 3D model files and, using a black and white printed marker, use Augmented Reality to view and interact with those models. It's hard to explain just how it works, so here's a video, using one of the stock 3D models that come with the app:
See what I mean?
And as Bronwyn has very thoughtfully made her models available under a CC-BY-SA licence, anyone can download a copy of a file and use it within AndAR. So if you need to play around with an adze, a sperm whale tooth or even a giant land snail shell, now you can.