Gene Breniman

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Engineer/Owner, Embedded Instruments Development.

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GeneB

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    • Great Story! I am sort of an atypical engineer, in that I am not an early adopter of new technology. I recently received a GPS device as a Father's Day present. Using it the first time, I was diverted way off of track, directed into a giant 10 mile circle, which I did not question, but faithfully followed the offered instructions. Luckily, upon returning to same decision point (10 miles later) I was able to correct the mistake and proceed to desired location. Not being in the field of generating or interpreting GPS mapping information, I still can feel a sense of awe given the task of dealing with a highly compress data set. As engineers we all understand the statement, ‘Garbage in equals garbage outÂ’. GPS mapping suffers from this kind of problem. The stored data set treats addresses, as contiguous events along the course of a street, but in actuality this is may not the case. I once live on a street that was almost a mile long. The first ½ mile of the street had several courts with houses and intersecting streets, but no houses had street addresses assign to them belonging to this street. Only the last ½ mile of the street had house addresses bearing the street name. The database must have indicated the length of the street, along with vector information to reflect the twists and turn of the street, and an address range (or list of the addresses). There must not have been any information to place the individual house positions. The result was that most maps did not correctly reflect the location of the street addresses, relative to courts and intersecting streets. Instead, the houses were more or less evenly spaced over the course of the street. Many friends had complained that my house was hard to find.

    • Awesome article! I have managed, lead and participated in many large and complex design projects, in both hardware and software capacities. I have always believed that prototyping software was one of the most important parts of the job. If hardware and software are going to play nicely together, you need to get them together as soon as possible. It may not be pretty, but if you can get your software into a position where you can exercise the hardware and perform some minimal subset of functionalities that can be used to prove the concepts, you have won the first battle. Now take what you have learned and build a complete, fully functional set of software, based on the prototype that you have created. You don't have to throw out your prototype, it can become a useful tool in managing hardware prototypes while you are busy creating the 'real' software. Keep up the good work!