The University of Southampton

ECS students visualise OS MasterMap to win Java internship

Published: 25 April 2012

A summer internship with local company Snowflake Software was the prize in a novel Code-Off event held in the ECS computer lab last Saturday (21 April).

The hotly contested event involved first and second-year Computer Science students, and saw many innovative approaches to the task, which was to visualize some OS MasterMap GML data from Ordnance Survey. The winner at the end of the day was first-year undergraduate Computer Scientist, Hendrik (Henco) Appel.

Ian Painter, Managing Director of Snowflake Software, comments: "OS MasterMap from Ordnance Survey is the most detailed map in the world – we’re talking hundreds of millions of map features. So firstly scalability in reading the data is very important. Henco’s selection of the SAX parser was a really good choice (especially given that he’d never used one before). Next up was displaying the data - to render OS MasterMap is no mean feat, so seeing some extensive use of Graphics2D was again a good choice. Finally, and what stood out the most for me, was Henco’s use of the attributes on OS MasterMap to enable the switching of the data themes. All in all Henco’s coding covered the three key areas: importing, displaying and interacting."

Henco says: “I quite enjoyed the Code Off - at first the task seemed insurmountable, but working up slowly I managed to create my program.

“First I started by trying to understand the structure of the GML data that I was given and to understand how the coordinate system worked. I then found the basis of a SAX parser which I modified to collect the coordinates and other information, such as the themes, to create a List of Objects from. Then using the coordinates in the List, I drew polygons using Java Graphics2D. I also enjoyed the pizza and chocolate!”

Henco will now spend his summer working for Snowflake Software in their Southampton offices on the 3D AIXM Viewer project that Snowflake jointly developed with the University of Southampton using NASA WorldWind.

ECS and Snowflake Software have built a strong relationship over the last year, including sponsorship of a Group Design Project, sponsorship of events, and involvement in the ECS employability activities. ECS encourages all its students to undertake summer placements during their degree programme and has a very active programme of engagement with high-quality employers to ensure our students have many opportunities to find excellent companies which will greatly enhance their experience and understanding of business and industry.

Read more about the Snowflake Code-Off on their website.

To find out more about how your company can work with ECS or for more information on this story contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.

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