Afghanistan Diary
Thursday, May 05, 2005
  Geek update
I re-wrote the interface of my first software and I came up with something I am reasonably happy with. It is something akin to the Photoshop navigation tool: there is a main image window and a small navigation screen. On the later, there is a slider that lets you determine the scale of the map. On top of the slider is a thumbnail of the whole image on which you can move a red rectangle (its size varies according to the scale) that indicates which part of the image is currently blown up. I also added a grid tool to manually edit the data. Other gimmicks include a feature to automatically sense if you are clicking in proximity of an existing route, in which case, the route can be joined automatically. There are still some bugs, but the program looks pretty good overall and is good enough to enter data.

I will start entering data this week-end. I have been concerned that maybe the data won’t be precise enough to serve as base for the navigation.

Meanwhile, I am considering some alternative (or complementary) approaches. I found on aims’ website, good road info on Afghanistan in Arcview shape (.shp) format. It goes without saying that this does not cover Kabul’s side streets but there is a good coverage of the main axis of circulation. It is a good news in its own right because, I will be able to transfer the shape files directly to my gps. In fact, before I get it, it would like to set up the map and all waypoints of interest so that the gps will be ready to use immediately. I have now several maps I can use: I have the Magellan’s worldwide base map (ok for Afghanistan, poor for Kabul), the aims shape info (great for Afghanistan, ok for Kabul but I like it because it is in vector format), the old Russian topo. map. (it is georeferenced, but I have been told not to trust it and to check these measurements), and the aims Kabul map (but I need to georeference it).

I am trying to see if there is a way to extract the data from the shape file. There might be with the Arc GIS commercial software but these bastards don’t have an eval version offered for download on the site. I will bug Giovanni in our GIS department to see if he can do anything with the shapefile. Alternatively, I could parse the file. It is not easy because it is a binary file, but not impossible. I found the specifications of the file format.

I am currently at work and work is not going well at all. I am sooo bored! It takes me the greatest effort to get anything done and I have to really watch it because I will get in trouble if this continues. I know, I should try harder, finish the project I am currently doing and then start using mySQL and C# if possible.

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This is my diary. My name is Lev and I work in Kabul for a non-governmental organization (

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
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