- A way to correlate a Physical Location to an Internet Server.. This is required to find the host for the tracking map, and to coordinate servers that could provide augmented content.
- A server architecture for hosting this map. It has to support special protocols to provide regional map information, because the full map is probably too big so we need the ability to chunk spatial information up and down in something like Octree arrangements. It also has to support user contributions for map updates, which the server will consolidate into the canonical truth map.
- API Contracts for how this server will notify both users and relevant servers/applications of important map updates. E.g. New areas are discovered, areas change significantly, or users enter/exit an area of interest.
- Providing the map that can be used for tracking, and for rendering (for remote attendees)
- Providing coordinate information for augmented content.
- Just because you're in the right plus-code, you may not be able to use any provided map. A plus code could cross a boundary between an indoor and outdoor space, or your Geolocation could be inaccurate and provide you a bad map server at first.
- Your device needs to be able to handle multiple maps. If you're outdoors but walk into a location, you need to be able to recognize that transition boundary and handle it. In addition, a space may have an owner-provided map and then there's a separate "community built" map, which are slightly different. I expect this will happen a lot at first in retail locations, where venue owners provide high-resolution maps built from Lidar or other specialized hardware and reject incoming updates, so there will be lower-resolution but more frequently updated community built maps. Think the early days of MapQuest vs OpenStreetMaps.
- In a true MetaVerse scenario, users need to be able to handle multiple maps and multiple content providers simultaneously. E.g. if I walk into a Walmart while I'm waiting for my Uber to arrive, I need both my Uber Status and the relevant store content simultaneously, which will come from 2 different providers and reconcile to 2 different map.
- Who runs these Spatial Mapping Index Servers? And how do you verify them as safe? I assume a group like ICANN will have to be stood up to manage the "big ones", and several of the big internet companies will join in and offer alternatives and replicas. Individual companies will stand up their own, just like they do today for internal networks. Fun thought: Can you imagine what Split Horizon will look like for this?
- Access Controls - How do you manage which users have access to which maps? And which content? And which content has permissions to which maps? And which users's information?
- Verification - How do I verify that content coming from a server is actually tied to a specific vendor? There are things like SSL Certificates and such that help here, but they need to be extended a bit.
- Map ownership - How do I know that a map server is actually providing a useful map of a space? Things like Chain of Trust and rating/expiration systems can help here.
- Items slide around a bit, causing things to shift and occasionally fall of. We've mitigated this by placed small bins and shelf-liners in.
- They don't slide very well. I thought this was the weight, but particularly the right door doesn't slide smoothly. I can't imagine we have over 130lbs of stuff on a side, but it consistently locks up at the halfway extended point. We haven't found a good solution for this yet.
So, one of the first problems we ran into with the RV was a steady drain on the engine battery. One of the main reasons for getting the RVwhisper all setup was to monitor this data remotely and see if it was real or just typical lead-acid battery flakiness.
After replacing the batteries to eliminate old batteries as a cause, I started collecting data, and noticed the following pretty quickly. Here’s a graph of the House battery (2 6V Batteries in series) and the Engine battery.
(Green in House Battery, Red is Engine Battery, grey bars indicate nighttime so you’re seeing the voltage over about a week).
Nothing was on or running during this period, the RV was just sitting in storage and the RVWhisper & Modem were plugged into a portable battery (another article). You can see pretty clearly that there’s a substantial drain on the engine battery here, dropping about 0.3V in a week compared to the House Battery.
To some, this is a known problem. Lots of things in the RV continue to run when it’s "off", things like smoke detectors and such. To avoid showing up to a dead battery, many people recommend disconnecting the battery. That seemed a bit extreme to me, so I moved onto the next solution: Solar Suitcase.
Solar Suitcases are popular in the RV world for this very reason: Small portable solar panels with the charge controllers and all integrated, that you can hook up via giant gator clamps to your battery and provide some offset current during the day. After a bit of research, I went over board and bought a big 200 watt/20 amp Renogy panel.
With that hooked up, I’ve never had any more battery problems. But I did notice a new interesting quirk in the charging graph, that looks like this.
Every day there’s a swift uptick in voltage to a peak just under 14.5V, then it falls back to just under 13.5V to spend the rest of the day, before falling back down to 12-and-change at night. What’s going on here?
I suspect that the first 14V spike is the actual charging step. Measure a running car battery with the alternator going and you’ll read something similar. This is when it’s actually pumping a fair bit of juice into the battery to charge it up. Given that I went overboard with a big 200W solar panel, it doesn’t take long. Then it drops to this 13.5V range, where the battery is basically "full" but it’s still absorbing a tiny bit of power to counter whatever drain is coming from the RV. Then it simply quits charging overnight when there’s no sun for the solar.
Seems legit, but can I monitor this more usefully? A bit of python and SQL query later, and I’ve added a new tool to the RVwhisper-Monitor package,
solar.py. You can run it independently or have it added to the output of the
slope tool, and get a chart like the following.
This shows the hours of sunlight in the day (actually seconds, I need to fix that sometime) as the faded red bar (Yes, the days really are getting shorter now). It also shows the time spent in that 14V Peak range (in green), and the 13.5V "sustained" range (in blue).
You can see that on days after a trip when I hook the solar panel back up for the first time in a while, there’s a lot of green. That makes sense, as it has to recharge from the few days of running the battery down. As things recharge over the first day or two, you see the blue begin to dominate as it’s now just having to recharge the continuous draw. And given the size of this solar panel, I can also power my Netgear Nighthawk & the RVwhisper module directly from the engine battery.
Hope you find this useful!
A few months back, Laura talked me into buying an old RV from a friend of ours. WE thought it would be a great way to get our elderly Mother-in-Law back home to Mississippi to visit relatives. It's been an interesting few months.
So the RV in question is a 1994 Fleetwood Bounder 34C. Chevrolet engine, 34 feet long, and almost entirely original. Original carpet, original wallpaper, original electrics. Needless to say, she's needed a lot of work. We've been taking it out regularly to work on it. So far we've replaced the flooring (some old stained carpet, switched out for vinyl flooring), replaced the wallpaper, repainted the cabinet, replaced the power inverter, replaced the water pump, replaced the awning, replaced the AC Compressor... It's been a big project.
Over the course of all this, it's been important to monitor all the variables of the RV and see if things are improved or getting worse. It didn't take long to stumble across a product called RV Whisper
The RV Whisper is a low power communication devices that runs a local webserver and low-power communication network that can talk to a wide variety of sensors. I bought some temperature sensors (to monitor the temp inside the RV, as well as the fridge and freezer to make sure they work), door open sensors (To work like an alarm for the front door, and to allow me to correlation temperature inside the RV to the opening of the door), and some battery sensors for both the Coach & Engine battery (the batteries were one of the first main problems we tackled).
The device generates a weak wifi network that you can connect to directly to monitor the device, or you can connect to a larger Wifi and the RVWhisper company offers (for a small annual payment) a reverse proxy from their website to your device. They don't store any of your data, which is nice. However, this also means that if you have an interruption in your network then you can't get any data.. Not even historical.
Me being me, I wanted something a bit more robust.. And while I'm at it, if I could get some more sophisticated visualization and analysis I might be able to get more information on what's going on inside the RV.
Introducting "RVWhisper Monitor", freely available on Github.
I'm running this at home on my Raspberry Pi. Every 30 minutes it pulls an hour of data (the overlap helps with small network problems) and stores it locally in SQLite databases. There are also a few scripts there to visualize the data as static HTML files uses Chart.js for some basic interactivity. Check out an example here.
Once the data is stored locally, I can start calculating some more advanced visualizations. The most important one I've come up with so far is the Battery analysis visualizations that show the slope of the battery state, as well as things like min/max/average over select periods (daily). You can see some of those visualizations here.
I'm still working on it. It's been a great help so far, particularly since I'm forced to park my RV at a storage lot a few miles away from home. With the help of a decent solar panel to charge up the engine battery I can keep the Nighthawk modem and RVWhisper unit powered, and then monitor it from the comfort of my house between visits.
If you have any ideas or recommendations, don't hesitate to let me know!
- Feathers & Fire series: Books 1 -3 - Just finished book 1 this morning.. If you like Supernatural or Constantine, you’ll enjoy this.
- The Institute by Stephen King - It’s Stephen King, need I say more?
- Carnival Row: Tangle in the Dark - I’m told it’s a prequel to the new Amazon Prime show.. It was interesting, albeit a bit of an unsatisfying conclusion (presumably to lead you into the show)
- The Home Front: Life in America during WW2 - Podcast documentary on the untold stories of life back home in the US during WW2. Lots of interesting insights, complete with real interviews and recordings make both recently and during WW2.
- Mystic School of Musicraft - a Harry Potter-esque story of a girl who discovers she can do magic and joins a prestigious school after the untimely and mysterious demise of her parents. A bit young-adult, but fun and actually includes the corresponding music in the background.
- The Singularity Trap - SciFi story about a mining group that stumbles upon the secrets of an ancient alien race
- The Man who Knew the Way to the Moon - The real life story of John Houbolt, one of the minds behind the first successful moon landing.
- Every Tool’s a Hammer - Adam Savage’s rules of creativity
- The Dispatcher - a short SciFi story about a world where Murder becomes impossible as people just "re-awaken" in their home when they meet untimely ends, and the loophole.