January 22, 2003

geoTracker 1.0 goes live!

So this is what I've been up to for the last month. Escaping the office at 5 and working on this project until morning has never been more fun.

Ok, so what is geoTracker? geoTracker is an application that provides a visitor-based snapshot of the global weather in near-real time.

Each user will contribute to generate this partial view by accessing the available weather stations worldwide. Most importantly, each user will be able to view in real time where are the other users accessing this application coming from geographically, and which station's weather information are they accessing.

geoTracker combines a light local database with several web-services and APIs from which it pulls data to resolve the user's geographical location and bring in the weather reports for each location. All data requests will get distributed to all connected clients through a persistent connection made to the server.

launch geoTracker

learn more about it

It is my first try with hands on ColdFusion, Remoting and MySQL, and let me tell you something; it was super simple!. Everything integrated so nicelly I had all the backend code up and running in a couple of days, and I was able to fully concentrate in the frontend code the rest of the time. FlashCom was also very sweet - although I did have some trouble in the beggining - when I started working on it, I realized the hard way that buidling something for a single user, is completely different than building it for several users at a time. The application logic turns to be completelly different, and it gets way much more complicated than expected sometimes.

Anyways, hope you enjoy it.

Any questions or feedback are mostly welcome.

Posted by marumushi at January 22, 2003 12:18 PM
Comments

i think it's a great concept. where are you getting weather data from?

will you be posting the FLAs anytime soon? =)

v

Posted by: vincent at January 23, 2003 06:17 AM

That's a spectacular client. It's nice to see such a slick front end on what was originally a faceless Web Service. I should probably point out that I'm the author of the GlobalWeather web service which provides the data for geoTracker. I never thought my baby would grow up to have such a beautiful face ;)

In response to Vincent above, the data comes from the US National Weather Service, via a Web Service hosted at CapeScience, which is a sort of Web Services showcase run by Cape Clear Software, the company I worked for until June 02 (they're good guys). You probably don't want the technical details, but GlobalWeather exists as a set of Java classes that pulls batch weather data from the NWS at once an hour. So the weather data isn't quite real-time, but that's about as often as it is practical for such large datasets, without an explicit subscription/notification system. The Java classes are exposed as a Web Service using the CapeConnect engine. And it was actually relatively easy to do, the only hard part deciding how best to represent the weather data as XML/SOAP. I think it took me about a week in the evenings to write the software.

Anyway, nice work M.

Posted by: Neil O'Toole at February 11, 2003 08:00 AM

Just wanted to say congrats to you for winning the ericd.net actionscripting contest. Your geotracker is a very intuitive application. I really like the way you used drawingAPI to connect the nodes all over the map. Once again, congrats to you on the work you did.

Posted by: Bo Wright at February 13, 2003 12:38 AM

Well, Vincent, all the flowers go to you. I could somehow imagine all the massive work on data recollection that was going behind the scenes, but now that you talk about it you leave me even more than impressed with your work. Thank you very much!

Posted by: marumushi at February 13, 2003 02:07 AM
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