Monday, August 27, 2007

Weekend in Barossa - Happy B'Day Fleur

Just back from the weekend of camping in the Barossa Valley Wine Region, organized by Fleur for her birthday. Happy birthday Fleur!! I definitely recommend her as a travel organizer/tour guide.

Saturday I had to wake up early and drive for an hour and a half through the scenic Adelaide and Barossa hills to get to the campsite in Tanunda. This is the longest non-stop drive I have ever done in my car and that was quite exciting. I sped about like crazy with the car loaded up with camping gear. It took time setting up all the tents and buying food for dinner.
The rest of the day was spent winery hopping and the night was spent around the campfire talking non-sense to random people. When I finally went to sleep, I just barely felt that my feet were very cold.

The next day we went for a spot of real wine tasting, mostly because I was driving and could not drink any just smell and swirl it around in my mouth. We found some really good wines at Rockford. It is a small winery with lots of old barrels lying around and a cobwebbed ceiling, but they make very fine wine. Then off to Grand Burge with beautiful sceneries matching the great wine. Some of the aged wine was apparently just found in the cellars from times they did not have permanent records, it was at least 25 years old and tasted delicious. I am sure that will not stand up to a breathalyser test, but luckily I did not have any. Finally we passed the Craneford winery which is owned by Fleur's family for some personal attention, and some jockeyed for mates rates. Now I am back home but the camping gear is still filling up the car, the wine is out and is safely in the dark corners or the fridge as appropriate.

May be I will get some real coding done thanks to the break. Drifting off into vertex and fragment shaders from the land of wine and olives.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

World Wind Java and Shader Trickery

Just to keep up my end I have been doing regular release builds of Qgis lately. Then I had a look at some of the prettier shader applications in World Wind Java. Now I have new goals. I pulled out Render Monkey and the big thick GLSL Tome.

I have the following on my list:
  1. Layer opacity control via fragment shader
  2. Gradual layer transitions as user zooms in, basically eye distance based opacity
  3. Raster enhancement operations - such as RGB to Grayscale, sharpen, contrast stretch etc.
  4. The old favourites sun shading and day-night, this already seems to be there is a simple way in render monkey.
  5. Global fluid water layer, hopefully a simple spherical mesh with a simple vertex shader or varying bump map.
Meanwhile I am waiting for the 0.3.0 release to get a stable start, a lot seems to have been already achieved. At some point I need to start on some decent KML support, I already have a schema based parser from castor, pity so little KML in the wild actually follows the schema.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Qgis 0.9 Preview Installer up

I put together an NSIS based installer(long removed) for Qgis 0.9 Preview 1 with some primitive Python detection support for testing, it will complain while loading the Qgis Python bindings if PyQt4-Sip are not located. It should work with the Binary package for PyQt4 available here. I will try to add auto-install of PyQt4 soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Post after Long Silence

It has been a while since I last posted, why ?

Well I changed browsers, Firefox was taking up too much memory making it hard to perform those giant ossim links, so I switched to Opera and Blogger has pathetic support for Opera.

Anyway in this offtime I managed to attend a charity dinner, fall flat on the dance floor, get on the Qgis release team and contrary to popular misconceptions got Qt 4.3 to work with MSVC++ Express Whidbey(patches) and compiled OssimPlanetQt on this platform. It works just fine.

The Qgis 0.9 Ganymede ( my name of choice is in !) Release is undergoing tests and you can pick up a zip archive of binaries here. There are some issues with the PyQt bindings , please leave feed back on your experience here or on the Qgis mailing list. I am working on automatic detection and install of Python2.5+PyQt in the NSIS Script, any snippet suggestions for doing this are also welcome, especially from the PyQt folk so that I know where I am standing.