mrry (Happy New Year)
Blog Personal Flight Plan II 4/Aug/2004

I've been having some more thoughts about the Personal Flight Plan idea, which is a pain in the arse when I'm in no position to do anything about it.

First of all, the schema. Very loosely, it would be based on having a sequence of permanent residences; each of them having subsequences for excursions, holidays, etc.; and so on. (So my trip to Nottingham would be in a singleton subsequence of my placement in Guildford, which would, in turn, be a singleton subsequence of my permanent residence in Glasgow. Naturally, this would require some more-precise specification.

Next comes the software. BBN Technologies' OpenMap is a JavaBeans-based GIS system, which could provides a suitable API for (a) rendering a plan, and (b) creating one interactively. It shouldn't require too much imagination to create some reasonably-usable software from this, an RDF API, and an object model that will provide the middle tier in the system.

Finally, there would be applications. Certainly, a tie-in with FOAF would be reasonable to expect. I could also imagine sites that perform some algorithmic trickery (and let's not rule out some TFIDF-based action at this early stage) to compare several people's plans. So, for example:

You have visited Glasgow, Prague and Madrid. Other members who have visited these places enjoyed going to Bilbao.

That's possibly a bit contrived, but I think there's scope for something there. Also, a tie-in with GeoURL would probably make sense. I fancy the notion of including links to photo galleries of the locations, and using these to create a global photo gallery, ideally covering everywhere on Earth. Though I am perhaps getting carried away....

Finally, the rationale. I have blogged in the past about wanting to remember everything - this is a small step along that road. I don't like the idea of forgetting where I went on holiday when I was five, or where I did a work placement when I was nineteen, and, by collating this information (and making several redundant backups), I need never forget. There are other reasons - I'm a Computer Scientist, and yet I've never produced any real software off my own bat; I want to sharpen my skills; someone else might conceivably be interested in it too - but it comes down to making something that I want, and which doesn't exist. Whilst not exactly the mother of invention, I think it's a worthwile endeavour.

I know that I've produced a fair amount of vapourware through this blog, but I hope that this doesn't go the same way. The ease of development in Java, and its client-side nature should make this process far easier. Perhaps it won't appear before I go back to university in October, and then it will get pushed further and further back, but this post will serve as a reminder, and, one day, it will get done.








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