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University Project

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Any Ideas:

I have to produce a guidance system from one location to the next using Filemaker for my University project. Any ideas on how I could get Filemaker to direct from one reference point to the next "on the fly" using Scripts?

I am at a loss!



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Okay heres the basic idea behind the project: A businessman is in Florence, Italy with a Palm Vx handheld. He is lost and needs to find the Bar Rotunda. By logging onto the internet on a wireless connection he can enter where he is via a landmark, street name etc. and then enter where about he needs to be.

Once this is done the data is processed by Filemaker returning guidance directions.

I have a 16x16 sub-sectioned map of Florence which I intended to scan into GIF format. These small maps could then be presented on the screen showing where the user is, and where he needs to be. I presume that I will need some sort of cross-reference location facility to locate the user/amenity on the map, and then some sort of algorith to "link" the starting point with the destination.

At the moment I have a database filled with Amenity information such as price, goods offered etc.

I am in the process of scanning the maps in to a new Filemaker database which will be linked to the original.

I hope this is a bit clearer, thanks for your reply


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It sounds to me you need a database, whose records are every landmark, street, etc plus a grid reference. This is just a lot of work, not technically hard.

The tricky part is the algorithm that works out how to get from *here* to *there*. Tricky because it would have top take into account routes and shortcuts etc (eg, the most direct route -- and easiest to program for -- might be a straight line but there just could be a river or lake in the way that requires navigating around).

For a project like this, I'd start SMALL, really small, and get a basic concept working first.

And get the client to pay by the hour...

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This sounds like classic graph theory, and I don't mean piecharts. You basically have a bunch of nodes (intersections) and links (the short stretch of road between each intersection). you can build a map by creating a record for each link. You have 3 fields:

LinkID, StartNode and EndNode. You will probably want a 4th field LinkLength which will be the length of the link. This lets you calculate a total distance between two end points. Start with a small set of data like this:


| | | |

E---F---G---H This doesn't line up

| | | |

J---K---L---M vertically unless you view it

| | | |

P---Q---S---T with a monospaced font

Note that you can go from point B to point C and also from point C back to point B (unless this is a one way street). So, your data would look (assuming the length of all blocks is 100) like:

LinkID, StartNode, EndNode, LinkLength










A separate file could store important landmarks like:

LandmarkID, Name, LinkID, StreetSide, Distance

1, "Murphy's Pub", 5, East, 60

This would indicate that Murphy's pub is on the east side of the street, on link 5 (between point B and F) 60 feet from point B.

Suppose you are at point M and you want to get to Murphy's pub. You need the script to put together a list of connected links to get there: M-L, L-K, K-F, F-B. This is the interesting part. There is a lot of theory on this subject, and a number of algorithms to find the shortest distance between two points on a map without getting into and endless loop. You can do it with Filemaker, although it is usually done in a programming language like C. Find a book on the subject and start reading.

[This message has been edited by BobWeaver (edited February 10, 2001).]

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