The OpenStreetMap project is an excellent example of how powerful crowdsourced data can be, but that’s not to say the system is perfect. Invalid data, added intentionally or otherwise, can sometimes slip through the cracks and lead to some interesting problems. A fact that developers Asobo Studio are becoming keenly aware of as players explore their recently released Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.
Like a Wiki, users can update OpenStreetMap and about a year ago, user nathanwright120 marked a 2 story building near Melbourne, Australia as having an incredible 212 floors (we think it’s this commit). The rest of his edits seem legitimate enough, so it’s a safe bet that it was simply a typo made in haste. The sort of thing that could happen to anyone. Not long after, thanks to the beauty of open source, another user picked up on the error and got it fixed up.
But not before some script written by Asobo Studio went through sucked up the OpenStreetMap data for Australia and implemented it into their virtual recreation of the planet. The result is that the hotly anticipated flight simulator now features a majestic structure in the Melbourne skyline that rises far above…everything.
The whole thing is great fun, and honestly, players probably wouldn’t even mind if it got left in as a Easter egg. It’s certainly providing them with some free publicity; in the video below you can see a player by the name of Conor O’Kane land his aircraft on the dizzying edifice, a feat which has earned him nearly 100,000 views in just a few days.
But it does have us thinking about filtering crowdsourced data. If you ask random people to, say, identify flying saucers in NASA footage, how do you filter that? You probably don’t want to take one person’s input as authoritative. What about 10 people? Or a hundred?
Continue reading “Microsoft Flight Simulator’s Data Insanity Spawns Enormous Buildings And Anomalies From OpenStreetMap”
Join us on Wednesday, September 4th at noon Pacific for the Clean Water Technologies Hack Chat with Ryan Beltrán!
Access to clean water is something that’s all too easy to take for granted. When the tap is turned, delivering water that won’t sicken or kill you when you drink it, we generally stop worrying. But for millions around the world, getting clean water is a daily struggle, with disease and death often being the penalty for drinking from a compromised source. Thankfully, a wide range of water technologies is available to help secure access to clean water. Most are expensive, though, especially at the scale needed to supply even a small village.
Seeing a need to think smaller, Ryan started MakeWater.org, a non-profit program that seeks to give anyone the power to make clean water through electrocoagulation, or the use of electric charge to precipitate contaminants from water. There’s more to MakeWater than electrocoagulation kits, though. By partnering with STEM students and their teachers, MakeWater seeks to crowdsource improvements to the technology, incorporating student design changes into the next version of the kit. They also hope to inspire students to develop the skills they need to tackle real-world problems and make a difference in the lives of millions.
Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, September 4 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have got you down, we have a handy time zone converter.
Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.
If you’re going to develop another Arduino-compatible board these days, you might as well take a “kitchen sink” approach. The Smart Citizen Kit piles it on, including Wi-Fi, an SD card slot, and EEPROM on its base. The attached shield—dubbed the “Ambient Board”—is a buffet of sensors: temperature, humidity, CO, NO2, light intensity, and a microphone for reading sound levels. The board’s intended purpose is to provide an open-source, interactive, environmental database by crowdsourcing data from multiple Smart Citizen Kits, but you can add your own stuff or yank the shield off altogether. Additional shields are also under development, aimed at providing agricultural data, monitoring biometrics, and more.
Stick the Smart Citizen somewhere and it can send sensor data to the web over a WiFi connection. The result is worth a look. Here’s the map with the real-time data from early release models scattered over Europe, most of which appear to be solar-powered with a small LiPo battery to keep them going overnight. There’s also an accompanying iPhone app that lets you set up the Smart Citizen, retrieve data from nearby sensors, and allows you to match your phone’s GPS location to any data you collect while carrying the board around.
The developers met their Kickstarter goals earlier this summer and the board has recently entered the manufacturing process, Rummage through their GitHub files here, and watch a video preview of the Smart Citizen below.
Continue reading “Smart Citizen: Arduino-compatible And Packed With Sensors”
Over the past few months, we’ve seen an increasing amount of Kickstarter projects making it into the Hackaday tip line. We don’t mind all these emails from people trying to get their Kickstarter project off the ground, but reading through all the emails of people wanting us to pitch their stuff does get a little bothersome.
It looks like our problem of having to go through dozens of Kickstarter hardware projects a week is about to change. Kickstarter is implementing a few new rules for hardware and product design projects. The new rules prohibit product simulations. This means project creators can’t suggest what the product might do in the future. Only what the prototype can currently do is allowed in the Kickstarter project. Also, product renders aren’t allowed. The only pictures allowed on your Kickstarter project are photos as the prototype currently exists.
There’s also another catch for hardware and product design projects: offering multiple quantities of a reward are prohibited. Of course there’s a provision for things that only make sense as a set (building blocks, for instance), but it looks like funding an Arduino-compatible ATtiny85 board and getting multiple boards is out of the question now.
Of course Kickstarter is looking at the long-term, trying to dissuade project creators from taking the money and running off to South America. We’re wondering what the effect will be in the coming months, though; under these rules Ouya wouldn’t have passed Kickstarter’s litmus test, and smaller projects depending on Kickstarter funding for tooling and molds probably wouldn’t either.
The new changes are probably for the best, and will certainly speed up how long it takes us to go through our email. We’re wondering what HaD readers think of the change, so post your thoughts in the comments after the break.
[Joe Schlesinger] of MakeIt Labs wrote in to let us know about an upcoming live chat session march 28th on IRC to discuss DARPA’s latest project, the Adaptive Vehicle Make.
DARPA, in the pursuit of innovative high-risk high-payoff tactical technology is looking to crowd-source the design and construction of the 3000-5000 parts that make up your run of the mill super advanced next generation military hardware. They are even going to distribute about a thousand 3D printers to schools, where students will compete to design some of the complex systems. The project emphasizes “not traditional” vendors (IE: Hackerspaces) and monetary compensation will be involved in the parts production process.
If you like acronyms (and who doesn’t), or feel like wading through jargon, check out their site. We also found the Wikipedia entry to be helpful in understanding what they are carrying on about. A briefing PDF (6mb) also contains a lot of information on DARPA’s plans, and pretty pictures.
As per usual DARPA plans on issuing several challenges to make up the entire project, all with huge cash prizes. The first two challenges last 9 months, starting with the Mobility/Drivetrain Challenge in the middle of 2012. The Chassis/Integrated Survivability Challenge starts in 2013. These first two also include a cash prize of 500 thousand to one million dollars. The third challenge, the Total Platform Challenge lasts 15 months and begins in late 2013 this carries a prize of one to two million.
[Joe]’s Hackerspace will be there, any chance we could help out?