Friday, February 14, 2014

Very Simple Menu r1

The goal of the code and apps on Jaanga is to be a resource for people who know a lot about something and just a little about programming. A hero around here is Mr.doob. He states it bluntly on his Three.js site when he says:
The aim of the project is to create a lightweight 3D library with a very low level of complexity — in other words, for dummies.
We are at one with this mindset.

If you understand the equal sign, an 'if-then' statement and a 'for i = 0 to  i= 100', then reading the code on Jaanga should be quite straightforward.

Also, you do not need too know much about HTML and CSS.  The JavaScript Document Object Model or DOM is built into every browser and the DOM enables you to create and control every aspect of a web page from JavaScript alone. Thus all the Jaanga apps are 100% JavaScript for dummies.

Why try to simplify things?

It's not about simplifying things, it's about simplifying the programming part of things.

You are an architect or physicist or mathematician. Do you also need to be a wiz at jQuery or rule at Ruby?

No, you do not. And, more bluntly, the more time you spend on devising elegant programming code the less time you are spending on your own discipline.

Have a look at the Very Simple Menu demo and source code. Using just these few lines of code you could actually construct a Content Management System (CMS) that could access thousands of files. [And all of these files can even be hosted for you by GitHub free of charge, but that is another matter.]

As simple as this code is, it's worth remembering that this is just Very Simple Menu R1. Could the code be even simpler or the variables have better names? Could the commenting be more explicit?

R2 should be simpler and yet do more. Why not?

Very Simple Menu Demo
Very Simple Menu Source Code

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Terrain & Terrain Viewer Updates

De Ferranti Gives A Thumb's Up

A large portion of the Jaanga Terrain elevation data originates from Jonathan de Ferranti's Viewfinder Panoramas web site. It is essential therefore to have his approval for the usage and translation of the data.

I emailed Jonathan de Ferranti over the weekend explaining the nature of the Terrain project. He responded quickly saying that the usage of his data in this manner is acceptable. Attribution is requested but not mandatory.

So please do feel free to use the Jaanga Terrain data in any way that you wish. The Jaanga portions of the effort are under an MIT license. And similarly to Jonathan's request: attribution is nice but not required.

Terrain and Terrain Viewer Repositories Now Have Menus

All Jaanga material on the GitHub website is available in two ways. You can view the material as source code at or you can view the material as a web page (using the GitHub Pages feature) at

If you use the latter, there is now a nice and simple menu system that enables you to move around the web pages quickly and easily. There have been a number of previous iterations of of this menu system. This one is the simplest and easiest to maintain/

The goals include
  • Write everything only once
  • Everything that is written automagically appears on both the source code and the web pages
  • Write everything in Markdown format
  • Everything is turned into HTML automagically
There's quite a bit more to the system, but not that much more - or it would start to get complicated which is what we are trying to avoid.

All of this is worth a post or two in its own right, but for the moment just be happy to be able to Roam the repos more easily.


New Repository: Terrain Plus

This repository is for smaller data sets/

The gazetteer with over 2000 places names with latitude and longitude has been moved here

The very beautiful 'unicom' elevation data is now here. More about that data in a later post


PNG Viewer r3: Many New Features

There is now a dropdown that allows you to 'travel' to over 2000 locations.

A 'Lighten' button makes very dark PNG files much easier to read 

The major new new element is that every place in the gazetteer that is withing the current tile area is now displayed on the PNG with a little red box. To the right of the box is displayed the name of the location and its elevation. Not that the elevation is just a height relative the the lowest point in the heightmap. It will take a bit more learning about de Ferranti's data to display the actual elevation. But the data should not be good enough so that an object such as a building can be place on the map and not be up in the air or totally underground.

Now that there is a working prototype, the next step will be to add his feature to unFlatland and start adding objects.




Sunday, February 2, 2014

unFlatland r5.1: New Revision is Up. Already Hopelessly Outdated by unFlatland r6 Dev

unFlatland r6 Dev ~ view of Hong Kong Island 

unFlatland r5.1 is up and it does most everything that was promised in the post on unFlatland r4.

But it sucks.

This revision can now display any location on earth with a height or elevation or altitude or whatever accurate to 90 meters. It accesses the wonderful Jaanga Terrain repository of heightmaps accurate to 90 meters  - anywhere on the entire Earth (Thanks to J de F) . It all follows the OpenStreetMap Tile Map System and zoom from the entire world - zoom level 0 town to zoom level 15 and maybe even beyond

Old School.

It's only five hundred lines of code - so it really is aimed at the target audience (which is us dummies) .

It has geo-referencing. Click the Placards checkbox to to see the city names pop up at the correct latitude and longitude


unFlatland r5 ~ view of San Francisco Bay with 'blobby' overlay

Well, how about this? r5 already has had its first critique. swissGuy says: ' So it remains blobby for the moment.' Obviously swissGuy is taking his own sweet time to observe. Actually unFlatland r5 has *TWELVE* overlays and the blobby overlay is just the one we happened to feature in this release. swissGuy should learn to watch how he watches.

Wotcha!  << London slang greeting

Yes, of course, it should be finished. It must have its FGx aircraft flying around in real-time and, yes, it needs to be Leap Motion-enabled. But...

But what!?!

Well, these other few lines of code just sort of showed up. Kind of by accident. You know, fixing something else in another part of the forest. And there's a bit of crossover in the code. And then, who know how, the code is co-mingled. And thus, yes goddammit, r5 is 'old school'.


Um, we have decided to name the codeling 'r6'.


unFlatland r6 Dev

unFlatLand 5.1