Visualizing live shipping data in OpenSim (Isle of Wight Ferries)Rob Smart | January 22, 2009
A couple of months back i spent some time writing a module for OpenSim, the purpose of this module being to allow you to connect directly to an MQTT messaging server from within the OpenSim scripting language. Thereby enabling real-time Publish Subscribe messaging in a 3d environment.
Adding messaging capability to the scripting language opens up a raft of possibilities for integrating other live systems with in world objects, for previous demonstrations I have implemented chat between virtual worlds and also
synchronous presentations across words and opensim regions amongst other things.
For this one I heard of some live data available from one of our local master inventors Andy Stanford-Clark on the positions of Ferries around the Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. He was publishing these message onto his MQTT microbroker which meant with my module for OpenSim i could show the positions of all the local shipping in near real-time along with the name of the ship and other information like course speed and cargo type.
In order to show this data i first terraformed an island within the IBM opensim grid to look like the Isle of Wight and surrounding sea. I did this by creating an image in photoshop and then using OpenSims terrain import feature. The image was based on a satellite photo of the area.
This is the resulting opensim island
The next step was to write a script for the ships, this script took the description of the object(ferry) it was assigned to and used it to subscribe to the information for that ship. Each description is the pubsub topic for the ship e.g. ferries/Isle Of Wight/Red Cat 1
The script listens for incoming messages then moves the ship object to the correct location on the simulated region by converting latitude and longnitude into an X Y position. It also takes the bearing and makes the ship face in the correct direction.
here’s a couple more shots of the ferries in action
The Ferries currently live on the IBM internal opensim grid (sorry only accessible to folks inside the IBM firewall )