torsdag 31 augusti 2017

Playing with project Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is yet another interesting preview project from Bellevue addressing Travelling Salesmans Problem.

I have calculated and bid on several quotes regarding different scenarios where one of the cornerstone and foundation were based on different routing algorithms, such as Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP). All kinds of businesses such as transporting kids to school, service staffing serving restaurant machines, telecom service staff, elderly care and so on. The characteristic of these projects where expensive, complicated with none or small amount of guarantee that the project would succeed within budget. The organizations that demanded these functions where small- and mid-size organizations. Many of the above projects dropped due to lack of funding. I believe vendors such as Microsoft play an important role providing these kind of organizations state of the art technology to enable them to be more efficient and maybe save a bit of the environment.

From a business perspective, it is easy to find applications within business applications such as Dynamics CRM. Or why not a geo-caching app within a city in combination with gamification. Well, may be geofication - Pokemon Go have been pretty successful.

But for me, in my life may be if the project is extended to cover Europe as well, Abu Dhabi might solve another problem - my weekends. A big part of my weekends is driving family, getting things from here and there and occasionally to football- (soccer) and hockey games. In between I need to eat and sometimes have time to see my friends. Unfortunately for me, at the moment Abu Dhabi is limited to US.

After playing a couple of hours with the API I have a couple of things running. It is pretty straight forward to query the API with HTTP requests. All of these extending routing projects from Microsoft will hopefully be backed up with an API that builds up the actual requst. And also a module to handle the actual result.

More information can be found here:

måndag 7 augusti 2017

How far can my electric car take me?

Routing- and module pearls in Bing Maps

Bing maps v8 has been released quite some time now. At a first glance, the API offering what to expect. There are a few things that I would like to have seen as part of the core API.  For example, GeoJSON as it is more or less the industry standard transferring GIS data over network.  However, the sweet juicy bits are in modules and are available whenever needed. Be aware it is not JavaScript modules. The modules spans from visualization, parsing, digitizing to analyze. Some modules, such as GeoJSON, might over time be part of the core API. Adding GeoJSON parsing would indeed make sense. For a complete list of modules see

Microsoft.Maps.SpatialMath is a truly competent module. That module adds complex spatial calculations and analysis. And yet there is more, combining this module with projects like Nanjing opens up for interesting applications.  For example, how far can I get with my electric car? Or, consider truck drivers, at least in Sweden, they are allowed to drive for a limit of time without having a break. Let’s say 2 hours, then they need to have a break for 15 minutes or so, then they can continue. I don’t know the exact limits. The industry definitely has a need to plan the route with stops accordingly to regulations. For example they might need to find a stop along the route between 90-120 minutes.

To resolve the use case above one way could be:

  1. Calculate the route from A to B.
  2. Calculate Isochrones from start to 120 minutes.
  3. Calculate Isochrones from start to 90 minutes.
  4. Use Microsoft.Maps.SpatialMath.difference operation to resolve the area between 90-120 minutes.
  5. Buffer the area, Microsoft.Maps.SpatialMath.buffer
  6. Use the buffered area and Microsoft.Maps.SpatialMath.intersection operation to calculate the route that is between 90-120 minutes (intersection)
  7. Visualize the calculated (intersected) area.

In these steps, a pretty complex problem has been addressed. From the routing-service I got the isochrones, then it is easy to combine the isochrones with geometry math operations. The operations I used is:
  • Intersection (to see where the buffer overlaps the difference area.
  • Buffer (for better visualization of the located area)
  • Difference (between the isochrones)

Now it is easy to find a spot where the driver must find a place to stop. Remember, from the beginning this is not a trivial problem, by combining powerful geodataservices, client-side operations and knowing how to solve the pieces in the puzzle makes it is easy to finish.

I made a demo application to this post.