Thejesh GN

A Blog, A Website and A container for all my views with excerpts from technology, travel, films, india, photography, kannada, friends and other interests. I am Thejesh GN. Friends call me Thej

Civics that Your Kid should Learn

Posted by Thejesh GN On July - 19 - 2011

According to me kids should be taught about their city and civics of their city very early. Unfortunately most of the school syllabus ignores that part of scial science. That is where BalaJanaagraha is trying to bring change. A very close friend of mine Sanjana has co-authored "Me and My City" for school children. This year thousands of Bangalore kids will learn about their city and governance from this book. Congratulations Sanajana.

If you don’t live in Bangalore or If your kid doesn’t study in one of those BBMP schools. Don’t worry, you can download and print a copy. Others can check the embedded Scribd copy below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Turning Android Phone into GIS Data Collection Device

Posted by Thejesh GN On May - 4 - 2011

For a project at Janaagraha we need to collect location data. The process needs to be as simple and cost effective as possible. General GPS data collectors are expensive and doesn’t make sense for us to own those single purpose devices. Hence we started looking at mobile phones. We wanted something that can collect the data offline with maps support. Of course Android turned out to be the best bet.

Here are the two mapping applications which we will be using:

The Locus

  • Supports GPX, KML (include styles) and LOC files.
  • Works with multiple mapping platforms (needs to be online for certain maps like Google Maps, Bing Maps)
  • Works with offline maps. The app itself can download the maps for a defined area. The downloaded maps can be shared with other devices. Also supports MBT maps.
  • If you are running a map server, you can add your own custom online maps
  • Can work completely in offline mode for data collection
  • Can’t add custom forms for data collection. The std one can collect Name, Description, Picture, Location, Altitude, Street Address, Category
  • Can do standard GPS logging for trips
  • Add ons are available
  • Both free and paid versions can be used. Available in the market


Maverick

  • Can collect GPS data in KML and GPX format.
  • Works with multiple mapping platforms (needs to be online for certain maps like Google Maps, Bing Maps)
  • Works with offline maps. Use Mobile Atlas Creator to download maps or MAPC2MAPC to convert maps from other formats
  • Can work completely in offline mode for data collection
  • Can’t add custom forms for data collection. The std one can collect Title, Description, Picture, Location
  • UI is clean and easy
  • Can do standard GPS logging for trips
  • Both free and paid versions can be used. Available in the market

We plan to use OSM as the mapping platform for collecting data since it is free and legally allows us to download maps.

There are many Android mobile applications available for extensive data collection like OpenDataKit and UNICEF’s Rapid Android. But since the above applications worked well in my POC studies, I didn’t dig deep into others. Let me know if you have tried anything like this.

Meeting Kris

Posted by Thejesh GN On April - 19 - 2011

Yes, it needs a post. This was my first ever meet with CXO level official at Infosys. Today some of us who took Community Empathy Sabbatical last year met Kris to share our experiences. He was patient, friendly and generally very nice. Some pictures from that meet.

Community Empathy

Kris
team of Infoscions
Number of Infoscions taking community Empathy Sabbatical has increased this year, which is a good news. From my side thanks to Infosys it was a great year for me.

Support Bribe Bandh

Posted by Thejesh GN On April - 1 - 2011

We need laws similar to RTI for activists to fight corruption.I think unless we citizen ask for it we wont get it. I Paid a Bribe as part of Bribe Bandh is collecting one million signatures to influence the Indian Government to tighten its laws against corruption.


BRIBE

BANDH


Go ahead show your support.

Batch transliterating names into Kannada using Google API

Posted by Thejesh GN On February - 4 - 2011

Some times work at Janaagraha throws awesome challenges. Like as part of BEST project we are cleaning up voters list. Voters list in Karnataka will have names in both English and Kannada, Most of the volunteers have filled up only in English and hence we were left with transliterating names into Kannada. I was thinking about automating it. After all transliterating is not as complex as translation, right? Wrong. Its difficult to write one specially when there are so many spelling variations in English for the same name in Kannada.
Like for example both Sreenivas and Srinivas are ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ್ in Kannnada. I found Google transliteration does that pretty well. But they have only Javascript APIs for web pages but nothing for server side code.

But Google worked and I found a non-public API of Google Transliteration API which gives JSON output for a given english input. Cooked up API in PHP to clean up JSON and give an array of results. Code is github for obvious reasons.
Using

$kn = transliterate("thejesh,ramesh,
 uthara,shreenivasa,reddy");
print $kn[0];

Probable drawbacks:
1. Its a non-public API provided by Google. Not sure when they will block it.
2. As of now it can transliterate only 5 words at a time
3. No information about API rate limiting. So be on the safer side.

Let me know what do you think.

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