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Thread: Notetaking/Data collection app for Adam

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    Senior Member davidk is on a distinguished road davidk's Avatar
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    Notetaking/Data collection app for Adam

    I'm starting a new topic here after branching off a topic starting by MATrickett regarding: Using Adam for archaeology

    I'm currently working on a notetaking and data collection application for the Adam that, while geared to professional users, will probably have a use to everyone. It will be released open source under the GPL. I'm currently working on some Balsamiq mockups at the moment, and will post them here this weekend by Sunday. I'm looking for critical input on deciding what functionality is useful now, what should come later, and what should be ignored.The core premise of the app is to integrate data from all of the various sensors (camera, gps, usb connected devices) along with handwritten notes in a geospatial and temporal way using a zooming user interface (c.f. Jef Raskin's work).

    I wanted to open a new thread now to avoid hijacking MATrickett's thread on the specifics of the Adam applied to archaeology. I want to continue the conversation started there regarding the general case of data collection/observation and the useful ways of collecting and organizing that information.
    1st: Adam Pixel Qi - Wifi - 3G (use it every day). 2nd: Adam LCD - Wifi (development)

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    Member Tokrika is on a distinguished road Tokrika's Avatar
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    I do happen to be a maritime archaeologist, but what I would personally like to see in an app like this, is a capability for cross-referancing. If I have a source in say, pdf, I would love to have a pointer in my notes to that pdf. Same goes for other kinds of sources, including visuals. Furthermore I would like the ability for a quick visualization of the cross-referancing for easy access. Picture it like a flow-chart where new pointers are created whenever I include a new referance or the same ref on a new spot. I would love a simple tool used to illustrate for myself and to others how my various sources of data correlates to each other.
    I am suffering the effects of an office-party so I am not quite sure that I'm currently able to portray the idea.
    I accidentaly a whole post

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    Senior Member davidk is on a distinguished road davidk's Avatar
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    Are you thinking like how a mindmap organizes information?
    1st: Adam Pixel Qi - Wifi - 3G (use it every day). 2nd: Adam LCD - Wifi (development)

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    Senior Member Deecee is on a distinguished road Deecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidk View Post
    Are you thinking like how a mindmap organizes information?
    Very cool. There are several mind mapping aps for google and they are much better than those for apple. (I have more mind mapping capability on my nexus one than I do on my iPad).

    Certainly the ability to link in a dynamic hierarchical schema is exciting.
    Can't wait to get rid of my iPad! ADAM PQi 3G Woohooo!
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    Senior Member MATrickett is on a distinguished road
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    First, thanks to davidk for starting the thread on what could amount to a rather fascinating piece of software. Second, and once again, forgive me for my "quote-fest." I'm a lazy writer and it's just an easy way of pretending to be coherent.

    Edit: So, not so much the quote-fest that I initially expected.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidk
    I want to continue the conversation started there regarding the general case of data collection/observation and the useful ways of collecting and organizing that information.
    The other thread (which has moved, BTW) recorded how I thought that the Adam could fit directly into the workflow of the archaeologist in the field. Now that I think about it, I feel that's an important consideration--the difference between "in the field" (observation) and "in the lab" (development, referencing, cross-linking etc.).

    You had mentioned the idea of it being multiple-platform, so perhaps this offers the ideal workflow? Mobile observation platform and integrated "desktop" software that acts for some of the referencing needs?

    Dynamic Tagging
    I believe that I mentioned the idea of introducing a system whereby a taxonomy could be created and utilised as a means of organising data. I still think that could be rather useful. Beyond that, CMS such as Drupal have the code developed and available...
    Last edited by MATrickett; February-19-2011 at 01:11 PM.

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    Senior Member gcrv is on a distinguished road
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    Ahh... so glad I found this thread. I am so tired of the pitch forks and torches.
    A little time to decompress and I will post something relevant.

  7. #7
    Senior Member MATrickett is on a distinguished road
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    With regards to the "mind map," it strikes me that to a certain extent this is similar to how Endnote organises data. So perhaps another database layer for the referencing with the ability to "tag" certain icons to specific locations/notes?

    And, yeah, it does kind of feel like certain scenes from a Frankenstein film. While I can understand it to a point, I guess the silver lining is that it's fairly easy to identify the anti-NI demagogues!
    Last edited by MATrickett; February-19-2011 at 01:20 PM.
    Adam: PixelQi LCD, Wifi + 3G (Ordered Feb-9, 2011; Delivered Mar-30, 2011)
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    Senior Member davidk is on a distinguished road davidk's Avatar
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    I'm a little behind on the mockups (just getting started really). But I've set up a public source repository and wiki for the project on bitbucket: https://bitbucket.org/reasonspace/development the wiki is at https://bitbucket.org/reasonspace/development/wiki/Home.

    I did make some quick Balsamiq sketches of Adam tablets in two orientations to serve as templates for layout. They're designed so they are close to real life Adam dimensions when viewed on my 24" 16:9 monitor, so you may need to size them up or down for your particular display.

    They look like this:



    Full size PNGs and Balsamiq files for these are available in the source repository: https://bitbucket.org/reasonspace/development/src

    Feel free to use these to doodle in some of your ideas for this project, or even use them for your own projects... they are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License (that's a mouthful).

    If you would like write access to the wiki and source repository, just PM me an email address to send you an invite. I really wanted to make the wiki public writable, but I can't figure out how to do that. If anyone is a bitbucket expert maybe they can tell me how.

    Edit: Anyone can edit the wiki as long as they have signed up for a bitbucket account. No need to PM me unless you want to write to the code repository.

    Regarding tags and mind maps, in an abstract way these concepts seem closely related. For example, some artifact (note, image, sound file, etc) can be tagged, which is really a way of saying that you are assigning that object some value along some dimension. If I tag an artifact with a time and GPS location, as an example, I've just assigned it a place in a 3 dimensions, 1 of time, 2 in location. If I also mark it "GEO 101" class, I've added another dimension: that of "My classes" with a value of "GEO 101".

    So what I'm thinking through right now is how you can represent these different dimensions, and transition your views between different subspaces of them. Also, there are gestures that can be used. If I'm looking at a time line of items in chronological order, say by the hour, pinching them together should zoom-out, and I'd be looking at the same timeline, but by days.

    If I'm looking at a map-like view... well, we all know how those work already.

    What about a mind map? There can be a lot of connections, and showing too many can be confusing. But if I'm zooming in on a node (i.e. tag) I'd expect to see more items with that tag.

    Ok, enough rambling for me. More to come.
    Last edited by davidk; February-19-2011 at 10:22 PM. Reason: Figured out bitbucket wiki permissions
    1st: Adam Pixel Qi - Wifi - 3G (use it every day). 2nd: Adam LCD - Wifi (development)

  9. #9
    Senior Member MATrickett is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidk View Post
    I did make some quick Balsamiq sketches of Adam tablets in two orientations to serve as templates for layout.
    That'll be useful for the UI development, so cool enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidk View Post
    If anyone is a bitbucket expert maybe they can tell me how.
    Sorry, no help there. Whenever I want to start up something similar I just get a server and install the relevant software.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidk View Post
    Regarding tags and mind maps, in an abstract way these concepts seem closely related.
    Indeed. The difference is, as you indicate, primarily one of visualisation. Primarily, but not exclusively since how it is achieved can alter workflow. Leaving that aside at the moment, one might borrow from the CMS world once again by mentioning "weight," commonly found as a means of organising menus. The concept could translate over to items that are multiply tagged--they become heavier because of their importance and essentially sink away from the lighter material. Similarly, something becoming more massive can also become bigger, so on a mind map-based approach icons could increase in size depending on the number of tags associated with them.

    In fact, now that I think about it there's always BumpTop as a bit of inspiration. Similar principles of "weight" as well as the ordering of items can be applied to this project even if the technology is different.

    How this could be applied depends on what you apply it to. "Heavy" tags could become physically larger, for example, taking up more space on the UI. Similarly, if one wanted to represent the strength of connection between one tag and another (e.g. number of items within the tag that are tagged with the second tag) one could increase the thickness of connecting lines.

    Accessing the tag could array elements associated with it be weight once again--the more tags, the higher up in the list it is. Of course, you should be able to filter out certain tags in your search for specific information. It becomes a form of filterable file system by tag and/or content type.

    A part of me is, however, still wondering about the multiple platform concept. What elements are strictly speaking necessary on the "desktop" platform and what are necessary on the "mobile" platform so that the work to their different strengths?

    Figuring out how the "note taking" would work is fairly easy, at least. A slightly more flexible approach to Evernote might be intriguing, though it would be better to "embed" the functions (camera, etc.) so that it would be accessible from within the software...

    Okay, wheel turning, hamster dead. Have to save some grey matter for writing a class syllabus tomorrow.
    Adam: PixelQi LCD, Wifi + 3G (Ordered Feb-9, 2011; Delivered Mar-30, 2011)
    ROM: Beast 2.1.3
    Apps: Too many. I love Market and Amazon...
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  10. #10
    Senior Member davidk is on a distinguished road davidk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MATrickett View Post
    A part of me is, however, still wondering about the multiple platform concept. What elements are strictly speaking necessary on the "desktop" platform and what are necessary on the "mobile" platform so that the work to their different strengths?
    Thanks for bringing up that point again. I had meant to comment about that a while ago, but it slipped my mind. Thoughts have to bounce around in my head a few times before they re-emerge in some cogent capacity.

    I think this is actually one of the most important categorizations we have to nail down to limit the scope of the tablet, desktop and web component (and I'm a Drupal guy too, so I know where you are going with that).

    So ignoring desktop and web for the time being and just concentrating on the tablet piece...

    Tablet strengths: extremely portable, used frequently during the day and in the field, has sensors/is aware of its environment.
    Tablet weaknesses: limited processing capabilities, limited/unreliable memory (in the archival sense), hard for more than 2-3 people to "share the screen" during discussions, limited writing ability.

    So in playing to the strengths of the tablet, and avoiding the weaknesses I think we want to accomplish the following:

    * Allow quick note taking, but not handwriting dissertations.
    * Allow moderate quality photographs to be snapped and tied into notes.
    * Allow notes to store location and other environment details automatically (assuming permissions).
    * Support the researcher's thought process in the field... (e.g. "now that I'm adding this, I remember something about ____")
    * Support impromptu "hallway" conversations with one or two people to share and collaborate on research.

    And others?
    Last edited by davidk; February-19-2011 at 08:40 PM. Reason: "then" is not "than"
    1st: Adam Pixel Qi - Wifi - 3G (use it every day). 2nd: Adam LCD - Wifi (development)

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