Monday, June 16, 2008

Species Explorer :: Max Antinori :: 6/13/08

We had a good turnout (and great assortment of cookies and snacks from Chinatown... including the dreaded pork cookies) for Max Antinori's presentation of his Species Explorer project.

Here's some notes:

Max :: Species Explorer
  • Max likes outdoorsy stuff and wanted something for tree and/or animal identification. He decided to build something for all species
  • Species Explorer is a site with tools to record nature sightings (plants and animals)
  • FlashLite didn’t seem adequate, so this seemed like a good way to get into Flex
  • Goal: use technology for getting outdoors and learning about wildlife. Focus on young people or kids w/ parents. There’s a current movement to connect young people w/ outdoors.

  • Google recently came up with AS3 API. Wasn’t available when Species Explorer was in development initially
  • Species Explorer uses Modest Maps ( which hooks into tiles from multiple maps. Works with AS3 and AS2. Supposedly works with FlashLite.
  • Currently hooking into Microsoft Maps.

  • The main application was built with Flex
  • When upload an image, it gets resized with PHP’s GD.

Animal Taxonomy
  • Enter the name, searches against ITIS’s ( database, which has been entered in’s database.
  • The site searches Flickr based on the latin name to get up to three images for the animals.
  • Also, it links off to Wikipedia based on Latin name, which seems to be pretty effective.
  • Potentially looking for another partner for species information (e.g.

  • Additionally, there’s a Facebook application for displaying the data.

  • Application built for Chumby as well

Data Communication (future thoughts)
  • May use AMPPHP and maybe Swix (which will work with Flash Lite). Also BlazeDS is a free, open-source version of Live Cycle Data Services that close to real-time data communication.

  • Consensus that e4x is much better for working with XML.
  • Joe Berkovitz created MVCS (S = services) that uses a design pattern that’s helpful for setting up Flex apps. This was used in Species Explorer to help keep it scalable.

Next month (7/11), Eric Rosenbaum will be presenting. More information on what will be covered soon...


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Next Meeting :: 6/13 @ 2PM :: FableVision

Our next EMAWD meeting will be next Friday, June 13th @ 2PM. Max Antinori will be presenting on his independent project, Species Explorer, a combination of web-based and mobile tools for recording and sharing nature observations.

The focus will be on the demo of the web-based component which has been built in Flex 3, and uses various technologies, including:

* Modest Maps
* Flickr API
* PHP on backend
* mySQL for species and observation data

Max will give a demonstration and overview of the project as well as dig into some of the technical issues. Take a look at his site and some info about it:
This should be a great presentation.

Let me know if you’ll be there!