Ricardo's Blog

by Ricardo Morin

Taking FreeRTOS for a spin on an Arduino

As I mentioned on my previous post, I got an Arduino kit to start experimenting with the platform and eventually interconnect it with the Snap Circuits so that my grandkids and I can have fun building some cool projects. The kit includes an Arduino Mega2560 board and a bunch of components that can be used to build a variety of projects.

It is pretty easy to get started with the Arduino platform. You install the Arduino IDE, plug in the board to your computer using the USB cable, and boom! you are up and running in minutes. I am using the new version 2 of the IDE, and so far it has been very stable.

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Personal archaeology - A boiler controller using a microprocessor (1979-1980)

And now for something completely different and out of the blue.

I couple of months ago, I started playing Snap Circuits with my 6-year old grandson. These things are truly a terrific way for children to learn and get their hands into some electronic circuitry. Then I decided to start augmenting their capabilities by getting an Arduino board and some sensors, so that we could further enhance our projects – my plan is to gently introduce him to the concepts as we exhaust what is possible to do with just the Snap Circuits kits alone.

As I started playing with the Arduino board, I went into the rabbit hole of using a Real Time Operating System (RTOS) to program the microcontroller. And then poof, it was like traveling back in time to 1979 when I was working on my electronic engineering thesis project…

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Provita Geoportal: generating map preview tiles

On this post, I describe the approach used by the Provita Geoportal to pre-generate map preview tiles using a serverless approach.

Why pre-generate tiles?

Traditionally, map tiles are generated dynamically (and cached) using a GIS server. This requires installation, monitoring and maintenance of some server capability, whether it is a physical server somewhere, a hosted virtual machine, or perhaps a container image hosted in some cloud service provider. A solution like this would most likely require hosting database management system as well. And we don’t want any of that!

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It is here! The Provita Geoportal

I am pleased to announce the beta release of my latest volunteer project: the Provita Geoportal. In previous posts I discussed some of the design and implementation details of the project, but I was waiting for the public release of the product to share the end-user and admin functionality of the site.

The purpose of the Geoportal is to enable professionals, researchers, academics and the general public to find, pre-view and download geospatial data sets about Venezuela. These data sets are published by the Provita team and are associated with the organization’s mission and projects.

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Serverless Geoportal: Admin authorization

Here, I continue discussing implementation details of the Provita Geoportal. In my first post on the topic, I discussed the overall design of the Geoportal. I followed with a more detailed description focused on data organization and storage.

In this post (Updated Feb 17, 2021), I describe the approach used to provide an access control mechanism for Admin users to populate and maintain the content of the Geoportal.

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Serverless Geoportal: where is the data?

This is a follow up to my earlier post discussing the design of a Geoportal for Provita. In that post, I mentioned that we use the serverless JAMStack approach, with no servers and no databases to monitor and maintain.

So, “without” servers or databases, how are we organizing and managing the data of the site?

In this post, I answer the question by describing the data organization and the storage aspects of the Geoportal.

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Rikitraki renovations on the way!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been five years since I developed Rikitraki. A lot of things have changed in Web development since then, so I think it is time to implement some sorely needed renovations.

Some of the changes are simply to bring the code up to snuff with today’s best practices. But some other changes will be functionality improvements that I have been thinking about for a long time.

In this post, I lay out what I am thinking for the next big release. Comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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Developing a serverless Geoportal using the JAMStack

Over the past few months, I have been working on a cool new project for the Provita folks.

Provita wants to maintain and publish a collection of geospatial data sets to enable researchers, 3rd party organizations, and casual users to have access to up-to-date Geographical Information Systems (GIS) data for supporting ecology, biodiversity, and environmental protection applications, studies and analyses.

In this post, I introduce key project requirements and the overall design of the app.

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