#Business

GPS Tycoon – new addictive location-based game for Android

Over the years I’ve been testing several location-based mobile games but somehow zombie-themed apps like Please Stay Calm or QONQR were never my thing. I was pretty sure that my attitude towards these kind of gaming will always stay ambivalent. On the other hand I was always coming back with pleasure to old computer games from my childhood. They were never graphically impressive but they had a terrific gameplay experience.

GPS Tycoon MapAnd that is the case of GPS Tycoon – the location-based game for Android which I came across few weeks ago. The game is not really beautiful, the interface is rough, some functions doesn’t work properly and sometimes the servers are down but somehow once you start to play it you can’t stop it. It’s a combination of Warcraft, Civilization, and Risk but on a real-world map of your neighbourhood.

WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

The rules are quite simple. Once you log in to the game (what’s amazing you don’t need to do it via Facebook;) you’ll see Google Map with your location. The map has been divided into a grid of around 400×400 meters. Once your position is fixed on a grid cell you can buy it (you get $100 as a starting package). The land you own generates money, which you can reinvest in buying a new land, improving it or protecting your land from other players who may want to claim your territory. More cash and money you have the better. To buy land you need to physically be in a location (or your phone needs to think that you are at the location), so it means that in order to win you should buy a land wherever you go.

GPS Tycoon Geoawesomeness 2ACT LOCALLY, WIN GLOBALLY

What’s cool is that there is a leaderboard where you can check what’s the status of all players globally, so in a way you fight locally to buy as much land and possible but at the same time you compete globally for the best score. And this is where we come to the key point of the game. It gives most fun when you start to interact with other players. When you claim their land, when you leave them messages. Today there are a few hundreds of active users world-wide, so it’s not that easy meet the land of other people. But once you do. It’s a real fun:).

COOL OR NOT COOL?

After playing GPS Tycoon for some time I must say that it’s really addictive. It can be also really annoying, especially when some features don’t work, or when you’re in a new location you would like to claim but there is a server error and you can’t log in. Definitely the game requires a lot of polishing. The user interface needs significant improvements, some rules on building and buying extra inventory are not clear and the servers must stop crushing. But at the end, these issues will be fixed with time and the project is simply cool and we will definitely support it. Keep good work GPS Tycoon team!

 

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#Science

Where is the Cloud in GIS for Watershed Management?

With the recent increase in frequency of flooding events (followed by the usual ‘I haven’t seen this in the past hundred years’ comment), a GIS-related observation came to mind. It is highly unlikely that we will ever be 100% sure in terms of preventing ‘Mother Nature’s rage’, but we do have tools to help with the side effects of these events. So what would be some of the key values when talking about GIS for evaluating watershed conditions and environmental processes affecting them? Technology, Cloud and Collaboration come to mind.

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY

It’s there so why not use it. Different apps and tools are being developed and upgraded constantly so keeping track of them is quite a challenge. Planners, consultants and decision makers recognize the spatial significance of resource management at a water body scale. So here comes GIS to save the day. But how, you might ask yourself? Do I need to be a GIS expert to incorporate tools into a water oriented decision making plan? Not at all as the beauty of GIS is to adapt it to your needs and your workflow. User friendly apps, developed for both GIS and non-GIS experts are ‘the thing’ to look for.

BRING IN THE CLOUD

Why lock yourself to the desktop? Water management thrives on data from the field so having the timely and accurate collected data helps you to:

  • understand relationships between variables being monitored
  • communicate impacts on water and environment
  • compare historic and new data to make effective strategies

So, where is the Cloud in GIS you ask, and where is the connection with water? Cloud helps you to have your newly collected data and previously obtained data available to you from any place, any device, at any time. Follow the progress from the field while being on a different side of the world, and decision making becomes ‘real’ in real time.

Orange County Interactive Watershed GIS Cloud Map

Orange County Watershed Map in GIS Cloud’s Map Editor

COLLABORATE TO THE FULLEST

Isn’t this the most important value of a GIS strategy? Get an input from different departments, different companies, having an insight from the team in the field, as well as in the office… By having a way to collaborate ‘on the go’, you are minimizing your time rate put into a project while getting more out of it in terms of efficiency and accuracy. And who wouldn’t want that.

Bring in different layers of information, manipulate big data sets, share it within your organization and out so that you can easily understand what goes on in watersheds, what processes affect them and what decisions need to be made to preserve them. Because after all, no matter where we live, we live in a watershed.

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