Google Summer of Code – my project at Marble

Hello everybody! I am Cezar, 19, from Romania, future freshmen at Yale University where I will (probably) major in Computer Science.

Even though I started it a little bit too late, this blog is going to present the progress I have made and will be making on my project during Google Summer of Code 2012.

The project I am working on belongs to Marble, part of the KDE suite of programs, which is an impressive open-source Virtual Globe  and World Atlas, with lots of features. In order to introduce you to the heart of my project, you will need to know that Marble uses several Map Themes:

  • the Atlas Map, which is a geopolitical map that contains basic relief too 
  • Satellite View map, which is similar to the Atlas one, except that it contains a satellite view of the Earth
  • Open Street Map, which is an impressive and really detailed touristic and not only map, based on this project

The purpose of my GSoC 2012 project is to replace the Atlas map, since it has several problematic aspects:

  1. it is based on a really old and outdated dataset (MWDBII), whose last update was made 20 years ago
  2. it uses both vectors (for borders, coastlines, etc.) and JPG images (for terrain)
  3. the zooming is strongly limited
  4. the selection of a geographical entity (either by the user or by a program) is impossible 

In order to create the next generation Atlas map, we have decided to employ and integrate the Natural Earth Data open source project, since we believe in its capabilities of supplying our needs and solving the issues present in MWDBII. There are multiple advantages this replacement would bring, among which: much more features than the current format, the entire map is going to be vector-based, it is updated regularly, it provides bigger scales, so the zoom limitations will improve significantly, data attributes on the map, such as country codes, population, etc.

Now that you’re at least a little familiar with my project, in the next post I am going to present the work I have done until now, starting with the introductory and accomodation tasks.

All the best 🙂

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