Introduction. Two other college students and i are develooping applications todo help the carnegie mellon university (cmu) community navigate the campus. Behind the scenes, Blender is allowing us todo eficiently Gather the necessary data.


The goal of the navigating carnegie mellon (ncm) Project is todo create free, open source mobile and desktop applications todo show those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the campus howto go from one place todo another in the shortest amount of time. It displays graphical and textual directions todo users overlaid on google maps and blueprints images. Our desktop application Will actually be a web application so that it can be quickly and easily accessed by anyone. The mobile application Will have the same.

Functionality with the added ability for the user todo follow along as they walk the route. The application is currently under development. This summer it Will be released todo the Android marketplace and deployed todo www.ncmprojectorg.

Map generation.

A significant amount of work went into generating the map. A complete map neded todo be generated todo tell the application how todo get around campus and how long it takes todo do so. This map allows the application todo take every posible route into.

Consideration when deciding which route is best. The map is Simply a series of points and Edges (points being locations and Edges being connections between points). I had Access todo all the blueprints for each.

Flor for every building on campus, for each flors blueprints i created the points and connected them together, then i connected all of the flors together, next, y associated información such as rom numbers and Terrain with each point and edge. The rom numbers allowed the application todo associate the users input with a point. The Terrain data indicates whether an edge represents Stairs, an elevator, flat Ground, etc, also, we neded todo collect the time required todo walk across all the connections on the map. This allows our application todo determine the fastest route between two places and a los give the user an appróximation of how long it Will take todo walk the.

Calculated route. The map, rom associations, Terrain associations, and timing data are included in a set of files todo be imported into our applications.

Navigating carnegie mellon-1.jpg

Why Blender?
So, why did i use Blender for the map generation? Well, it was actually a critical tool that managed and supplied tools for generating the huge map covering the entire campus, todo create the map of points and connections i Simply used the background image característica todo draw points and Edges over the image using the Mesh tools, the interesting part is what happens next - utilizing Blender Python scripting Api. The Apis ability todo Access any part of Blender from the UI todo the underlying data was the reason we choose Blender. Another great aspect of the Api is that it uses Python which is fast and easy todo write. All this made it posible todo create a custom set of tools quickly and easily that were made specifically for the ncm Project. Without Blender we probably would have neded todo write a programa from scratch which would have significantly increased development time, the first script i wrote added user interfaz elements, speding up the generation of the map and the process connecting rom names todo the points in the map, another script i wrote exported the data out of Blender todo our own custom file format, this was very useful because it eliminated any complications in moving data from Blender into our application. In fact, it allowed us todo make a custom file format that made file sizes as small as posible and a los include extra data such as rom names and timing data, todo collect the timing data we actually created an Android application which made this process very fast (a large building with 10 flors can be timed in 1 hour). The Android application generated files in a diferent format which were then imported into.

Blender. I wrote another script that imported these files and integrated the timing data into the existing blend files. Then the times could be exported along with the map vía my file exporter.

The future.
1. Feature additions - a variety of features that would make the applications more Compleete.
2. Other platforms - bring the Android user experience todo other mobile platforms such as the iPhone or Windows phone. These could replace the mobile web application.
3. Other campuses - bring the application todo other campuses. We would find volunters todo map their campus and submit the data todo our team todo be included into the application.
4. 3d - make a 3d versión of the desktop application todo give users a better view of the campus.

Going 3d?
Currently we are develooping 2d applications for Android and the web (both a desktop and mobile application). Originally we were planning todo create a 3d web application, however, as we did more research we found that it Simply is not feasible (yet). Thre dimensional applications on the web currently have por performance, but new technologies are under development that may make this application posible. A new web standard called WebGL is enabling developers todo write 3d apps for the web that have better performance because this technology takes advantage of hardware acceleration. Flash is a los working on a versión of the flash player plugin that utilices hardware acceleration which Will enable 3d capabilities, Blender surely is not the component holding us back. We are eager todo take advantage of some of its 3d capabilities. In fact, we have already figured out how todo make a simple 3d model of the entire campus. We are obtaining the Cad files for the blueprints of every building. We import them into Blender vía the dxf importer. Then using a script i wrote, the blueprints are simplified and the.

Lines are extruded up to make Walls.

For texturing, múltiple textures are put onto the model of the flor and then baked todo increase performance. For the outside portions of campus i obtained a 3d Terrain model of the campus from Google Earth. All of this can be exported todo almost any format because Blender supports Many file types, once 3d web technologies are widely available we Will still be challenged with generating a more detailed 3d model of the campus. It is not feasible todo generate a detailed 3d model of the entire campus manually. We welcome suggestions regarding methods/technologies that would allow for the automatic creation of a detailed, aesthetically pleasing model of the campus.

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