Archive for the 'OpenSim' Category

Jun 25 2014

Open Simulator joins the SGeoS build — a strategy for blogging the builds

This is the first of what should be  a set of posts that detail a server build process for the San Francisco Enterprise Geographic Information Systems Program (SFGIS) Standard Geospatial Server (SGeoS).  In fact, the build work has been ongoing for several weeks and is concluding here, with OpenSim.

The motivation for including OpenSim in the platform was a desire to provide support for legacy .NET applications that may exist in various departments. In the interest of creating a Microsoft-neutral build that is framed with Open Source components, it was natural to bundle the Mono framework into the SGeoS design.  And while individual department applications are their own business and not part of the standard build, OpenSim serves as an excellent demonstration of the utility of the Mono framework as included on the server.  That , together with my perspective that immersive 3D clearly should be associated with geospatial servers, is why OpenSim is included in the Standard Geospatial Server.

OpenSim is not trivial by any means, and yet it is not such a resource hog that it would be infeasible to bundle it.  What’s more, it is an opportunity to distribute immersive 3D technology packaged with other geospatial capabilities.

Since the build descriptions are being transcribed from a build document that is approaching 80 pages on Google Docs, it seems prudent to break it up into individual modules.   And since WordPress here is configured to show older posts below newer ones—I’ll start down at the end modules and post new build descriptions for earlier modules in later days.

The original notion for SGeoS was to have modular build chapters that could provide a unit of capability.  That way, only selected modules need be configured.  After discussions with VMware engineers, I became intrigued by the notion of making a single server image that could run everything, all at once, and then disable unneeded featured in an actual deployment.  So the build document was initially structured with module-like chapters, but in fact the server builds them all—so it’s worth viewing the build document in sequence.

The modules will probably end up  numbering about 10, including packaging for production and possibly default-disabling of most items.   If one watches too closely, it might seem like I’m making a countdown to completion.  But this will end with a stub for deployment packaging, work back through an OpenSim build, and end up with imaging an install of CentOS 6.5 onto a new VM guest system.

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Nov 15 2011

3D Geospatial For Real—not a simulation and Kitely, on-demand Opensim

Thanks to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, their time-lapse photography at very high ISO that helps to share some of what their eyes may well see, and of course Michael Koenig for his care and smoothing of the HD video, with some loungy score, too.
Take five (minutes) and watch it on HD in a darkened room. You might find yourself pausing, reviewing, and spending 20 minutes enjoying.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo.

I was fascinated by an orange wiggle, that turned out to be the astoundingly well-lit India-Pakistan border, around 1000 km long.

Meanwhile, I’m forming some plans for next semester’s course, and have realized that it may well be possible to offer students training in multi-user virtual environments without hacking one of the lab workstations to image it as an Opensim server. Thanks to the incessant business analytics of Maria Korolov over the past few years, it was possible for me to quickly get caught up in the new and improved options for cloud hosting of Opensim regions.

Right away it became clear that the business model of Kitely was quite compatible with my modest but area-expansive needs for real-life terrain simulations.  I’ve found it quite easy to get set up with a single region, and that’s a really big start.  I was able to use the latest beta Second Life 3.2 viewer to connect to the latest Opensim 0.7.2 stable release, tweak terrain and set up a few flexi-prims to test the weather.  Nice work technically, and a very nice pricing scheme for my sort of use.  I’m also very sympathetic to Ilan Tochner’s philosophy of “just keep building new regions”—it’s a consistent theme with cloud solutions, and refreshing to see it in connection with Opensim.

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Feb 13 2011

Not asleep, just spread thinly.

Published by under OpenSim,Terrain Models

As models of surface water flow for all Marin County are getting ready for review, there’s also a convergence with the large-scale topographic base (LSTB) map effort.

In fact, the hydrologically-enforced flow lines (HEFL) are getting their first chance to fit into the LSTB context.  This has helped immensely to clarify the uses that most folks will see the flow lines within.

Also, the Spring 2011 class in Spatial Analysis at College of Marin has gotten underway for three weeks now, and the students have turned out to be the best-qualified of any I’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching.

While cleaning up some web presence matters, I stumbled across this interview that relates to OpenSim and the sorts of themes that got this blog going in the first place.

The Android phone is getting some heavy use with its rooted install of Android 2.2/Froyo, in the form of Chromatic 4.5.  It feels like the G1 hardware is really near its limit, and I’m not anxious to move it too much farther forward.  It really is time to start looking where to move next—and Android will most likely be the foundation, but exactly what mix of GPS, compass, gryro, and connectivity will be there when I upgrade this summertime?  It’s a bit exciting to start tracking developments now to help make a better-informed choice when the time comes.

The Cr-48 has been amazingly fun.  It’s been moved to a home-built image of Chromium OS, and back, and forth, and back again.  It’s been made to work on T-Mobile network, although only at EDGE speeds.  It’s doing a very fine job of scrounging print resources with Google Cloud Print.  Hey, it’s even got its own blog going now, to save clutter here.

Keeping up with class work, and preparing for lecture and lab time each week, is taking time from writing, while at the same time providing so much more to write about!  Most likely it will all balance out by June when the semester is finished.

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Feb 09 2010

OpenSim: and now, a word from the Founder [Second Life]

Many thanks to Singularity U, director Matt Rutherford, and to Randall Hand who brought it to my attention After chatting at SLCC 2009 this past summer, I appreciate the immediacy of this lecture. OpenSim is discussed around minute 37 (video is available at 720p HD, and is just over 51 minutes long.)
Discussion of augmented reality, and mirror world creation in Second Life and virtual world simulators, just after minute 44.

It’s hard for me to listen to the entire talk just one time and retain the best explanations – but clear and current they are. In a virtual environment, immersed in near-infinite possibilities, Rosedale may no longer be guiding the Second Life ship, but I believe he remains the compass needle

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Feb 04 2010

A visit to ScienceSim Geography regions – OpenSim with turbo boost

I don’t have much to say about these regions that hasn’t been written already, and my views have been less aesthetic than Shenlei’s.
But in the interest of boosting the bandwidth by which I can share OpenSim, I’ve invested in a much newer Adobe Premiere Elements than I’d been using for the past five or so years. It’s a gas to have it multi-thread while rendering, and I have direct-to-FLV write. Trying to share as much of the motion and fidelity via YouTube as I possibly can, I’ve crafted a video resolution that is a multiple of my Hippo / SL viewer screen. The FRAPS video direct to AVI (sorry, it’s Win XP) is 1600 x 1140 @ 10 fps. Yup, those are video frames. In the interest of surviving an upload, I’ve rendered them highly time-compressed, with output at 1515 x 1080 @ 15 fps. As of tonight there’s no sound, no intertitles, just the rushes.
oops, if I read the YouTube Instructions for best formats, I should have trimmed the width to 1440, which is a multiple of 16.
Also, I have more direct upload options now with Premiere 8 than I had with my (recently demised) copy Premiere 1.0. Go Figure ;^)

While the Windows box grinds out the video print, I’m over here on Ubuntu blogging in a tab of 64-bit Chrome and it is fine & fast.

For these videos, I visited ScienceSim Geography22_44 region and set the view to wide angle, then sat up at about 500 meters and watched the regions rez their terrain. For some folks, it will rank right up there with watching lead-based paint dry. For geography folks I’m hoping that these few minutes of sped-up video will convey, by dogged repetition, the primacy of regions in the provision of virtual environment simulators.

By the way, I’ve got a task: I need to find a better buzz word for the GIS community. I’ve been advised by some serious and well-intentioned (not to mention well-informed) folk that terms like “virtual” and “immersive” are actually boring to GIS’ers. So I’ll need to think about how to convey the concepts of “Mirror World”, “Multiuser Virtual Environment”, “Immersive Connected Experience”, “Third-Person Virtual World”, and related concepts into a catchy moniker. Hopefully, one that is not presently trademarked, either!

I’m trying to remain serious about this, but some of the options are treacherous. Geography in Social Media has a possibly awkward acronym; maybe it can be saved in recognizable form as “GIS for Social Media” or “Geography for Social Media”: GFSM
The term “3D Map with Me” is terse, slightly ambiguous

Here is the video chopped as it was when uploaded with 1515 x 1080 resolution. Problem with that is that by not preserving dimensions at a multiple of 16, and saving my viewer’s aspect ratio rather than the (standard since 16mm film) 4:3 aspect, my upload is clobbered into something perhaps suitable for a smartphone. So please consider this the Smartphone Version of last night’s rushes:

Then, once again with feeling, or at least with a little more rest, there is what I hope to be an HD-friendly moving vision of OpenSim, as it appears on the ScienceSim Geography regions. Yes! After it ripened on the YouTube servers for a few hours, I now see all the higher-res versions available. At 1440 x 1080, this is pretty close to what I see on my screen with a live Hippo viewer.

And after a day’s cogitation: anyone care to comment on the term: “Social Immersive Media GIS” as a moniker? Oops — I used “immersive” 8^(

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Jul 06 2009

OpenSim Terrain notes, and Darb has Process Credit history!

I’d read about this, but never before experienced the agony first-hand.  Extracting funds from SL, the wait for funds to arrive at PayPal was a bit slow.  In fact, in the time it took funds to go from Linden to PayPal, a bamboo shoot in my back yard could have grown taller than me (that’s my RL not SL height!), and would have been over 2 meters tall.  Anyway, Process Credits are quite lacking in symmetry with how quickly credit charges can flow into the Linden realm.

During this week of waiting my random prims have been cleared out from Amida and nary a trace of Berkurodam BART Station remains besides a video in Gualala.  The video screen was actually entombed by a neighbor, who may not like it but did not send any message.

Anyway–for me this week is all about generating maps and graphics while keeping up with work.  I’ve generated a 50cm terrain grid for parts of my county where perhaps 150,000 people live.  With computational process improvements I should be able to make production stable enough to generate a 25cm grid.  The point is to model terrain slope and aspect within urban parcels.  OpenSim can pack 64 terrain megaprim sculpties over each region to refine terrain more than the built-in 1-meter postings, and display 10cm orthoimagery at full resolution.

Last year, I used first-return LiDAR data of the UC Berkeley campus to generate a 25cm grid for 10cm imagery.  Now, I’m working with bare-earth LiDAR data from FEMA, topographic contours (densified to 1.5m vertex spacing), and most importantly, photogrammetric terrain and water break lines.

Throwing all those data into the mix, the data are built into an ESRI Terrain Dataset, from which I generate TIN and GRID models at various reolution and extent.  The ESRI ArcGIS 3D Analyst Terrain-to-TIN generator breaks down after about 10 mega-faces (so would I…)  And the ArcGIS Terrain-to-GRID generator seems to drift into Windows-unconsciousness after about 1.0 giga-cells.  So for the grid, I break it down and do the pieces, then merge the tiles using ERDAS Imagine, because the ESRI ArcGIS raster mosaic function does not produce output grids much over 10 GB.  As annoying as learning these ArcGIS limits can be, it is very satisfying (and instructive) to see huge swaths of seamless terrain with great detail once it all comes together.  Thanks to the break lines, many driveways and most home building site cuts and fills are resolved.  And it will be a lot of terrain by OpenSim standards–enough to calibrate terrain for over 20,000 contiguous regions–not that I ever expect to build it all at 1:1 scale!

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Apr 22 2009

Something new for Earth Day

<<updated 20090424>>

As my patience with Second Life wanes, and I wait for more architectural input for my next SL build project, I have a dark OpenSim server with no fixed IP.  I’m having stability issues with the Linux SL client, but have upgraded the workstation to Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope.  Google Earth client there is more stable, the NVidia drivers install themselves (sans Envy), and everything Ubuntu-wise seems to be getting incrementally better by the quarter.

I’m grinding some large images that have taught me that one very special difference between Windows XP variants and Windows Server 2003 is the latter’s ability to open files on the high side of 80 GB.  I’d never quite realized it before but the moderately massive mosaics that I have created in years past (edging toward 250 GB single files) actually depended on Server 2003 to get created.  Once the destination file exists, then XP can take it from there, and in all cases Windows Explorer can copy the monster files.  But in that tenuous moment when a mosaic first grabs its space on disk for a huge output—one can’t seem to do that with XP.

So while I’m enjoying Google Earth on Ubuntu, there is something cool that I go back to Windows for, and that’s the new Google Earth browser plug-in.  Since I’m gaining a bit of facility with the keyboard shortcuts in the full-stop Earth client, these all carry over to the plugin.  My first test page has been stood up here and I’ve been deep into four continents with it so far.  I understand that the plugin is only available for Windows and Mac systems at this time.  If you can,  Enjoy! 

Also, as I get even faster with my keyboard navigation of G-Earth, I’ve actually seen some artifacts that are quite familiar from OpenSim.  While zipping about between the Gulf of Yakutat and Canada’s Mount Logan, at certain viewing elevations I can accelerate the point of view forward quite fast.  Doing so in this very mountainous terrain, I saw blocks of terrain standing up along what look like sim edges, resolving in a few seconds as more (sculpty?) bumpmap arrives.  This is the same sort of artifact I’ve seen with terrain sculpties and sometimes, with region crossings in OpenSim.  Also, I’ve found a couple of wild terrain grid errors in G-Earth.  In one, a quarry dug hundreds of feet below sea level, right next to the sea, is displayed as positive elevation (absolute-value terrain, anyone?).  In another, a boundary between US and Canadian terrain has a glacier flowing uphill onto a plateau.  Go figure.  Blame Canada! ;^)

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Jan 31 2009

Marin Civic Center 1:1 scale texture in Stanford – feels bigger than OpenSim

Only the four-story Administration building (wing), not the two-story Hall of Justice. I’m tired so I’ll let the shot speak for me.

photo from 2009 01 30

photo from 2009 01 30

To me, it’s mildly amazing to realize that F.Ll.Wright’s design fits so snugly in 1/8 of a Second Life region at 1:1.00 scale.  The Civic Center Administration building is a Real-Life building that can be visited, providing an easy way to get a true RL immersive sense of its scale.  Building at 1:1 scale in Second Life for the first time, this has been my first experience of transferring that awareness into the multi-region contigous space of the very beautiful Second Life.  Sure, I’ve built large areas at 1:1 using draped LiDAR data, but to have a rather large single building (or at least its footprint for now) in context with existing builds that I’ve seen for months, well, at the moment SL seems larger than I’d thought.  That shift in my perception of SL scale may be the contrast between flying (quite fast as it turns out) around 40 to 100 OpenSim regions versus walking around the site and knowing how long it takes to traverse the RL building.

Anyway, check out the build’s progress at secondlife://Stanford/100/235/30

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Jan 22 2009

3D Geospatial Day at

Today the (San Francisco) Bay Area Automated Mapping Association hosted a wonderful URISA Certified Workshop given by Tim Case, describing Best Practices and Project Implementation Methods for 3D Geospatial work. The all-day event provided a very broad and even-handed overview of many 3D technologies that hold promise for the near future.

With this presentation as an extra boost for my focus on a new build, I’m gearing up with even more enthusiasm for a new build in the Agni grid Mainland.  I’ve also tuned the Berkeley parcel for sale.  Its price amounts to about US$382.00, and that price is set to help cover purchase costs for the next build’s likely parcel.  The tuning involved reducing the parcel size by 64 square meters, so that the three Gualala parcels total 4608 square meters, or exactly the maximum amount allowed for Linden Lab’s US$25/month tier rate.  With that size, it would be possible for an interested party to purcahse the Berkeley BART station and maintain it for $300/year in tier (the Linden land property tax).

Also, based on today’s Geospatial tag, I’ve noted just this morning two mentions of the Berkeley BART build.  The New World Notes item by Wagner James Au 2009 01 19 was wonderful to find after our in-world messages last month.  For clarification, while true at the time of that conversation, no longer do I work for City of Berkeley.  The TidalBlog item by Peter Miller mentions interesting developments in the overlap between simulators and geospatial models, as well as some shots from his visit to the Berkeley BART model.  Thanks to both authors for their posts!

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Dec 11 2008

A time for OpenSim reflection – standalone Linden servers on the horizon

Silent though these pages be, much has been thought.  I’ve had some quality time with inquisitive Lindens and learned to expect some sort of standalone Linden server product along about 2009.  For me, that’s a game-changer as it’s hard enough to suggest (at work) creating content without also keeping up with an open source thread to stand that content up upon.

This past week I’ve made a real-life geographic shift for a family event, and learned that I’ve got a relation involved in the study of architecture.  That insight has reinvigorated my interest in Jon Brouchoud and some of his writing here.  The notion of architecture as it is currently an academic subject, versus architecture as a current professional practice, and the disruptive possibility of widespread virtual world deployment—this is a notion not so different from geographic science as an academic subject, GIS as a professional practice, and the possibility of immersive 3D disruption of the status quo.

Others in academic circles, including University College London, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), published a Working Paper about the time this past summer when I was so focused on my 1:1 immersive build.  It was gratifying to see the CASA acknowledge Second Life technology’s place in the world of neogeography and geospatial informatics.

Sitting side by side yet somehow abstracted from mapping, gaming and digital earths
is Second Life and other similar virtual environments. Second Life and their like are
easy to dismiss as pure distraction and entertainment. Yet look under the lid of
Second Life and it contains one of the most powerful geographical data visualisation
kits available

And the fine writing and attention to detail of Jon / Keystone was spotlighted in NY Times’ Style magazine this past weekend.  It was a pleasure to share that link with architecture students!

It’s a big world, and immersive 3D systems must balance the tradeoff between quality and performant physics, and an economically practical level of large land areas served up to relatively sparse users, if we are to identify applications that consume vast tracts of GIS data.  Spanning that scale will require that standalone Linden servers have the ability to shortcut some of HAVOK’s demands to pile in many more than four regions per physical server.  After all, if I can get 100 regions stood up on a 1 GHz Celeron using OpenSim, then a four-threaded dual 64-bit Xeon server really ought to do the same for standalone Linden regions, right?  I surely hope so.

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