Kalin’s UCOSP POSIT Update


A look into my experience with POSIT by Kalin Ash-Elliott, a Computing Science student from the University of Alberta.

I worked on POSIT as part of the UCOSP program for the Fall 2011 Semester. Mobile software development is a fascinating area and I knew I wanted to work with it. Working with POSIT was a great opportunity to further my interest in developing Android software. The tremendous flexibility in choice of projects that the UCOSP program offered, allowed me to gain valuable experience in the areas I am interested in and passionate about.

I worked with POSIT’s Tracker Activity: a function plug-in that tracks the phone’s location by collecting its altitude, latitude and longitude, displays the current expedition on a Google map in Tracker Activity’s UI, saves the points on the phone’s database and synchronizes the points with POSIT’s server. My project for the semester was to reincorporate Tracker Activity into POSIT’s new plug-in architecture.

The ability to share expeditions demonstrates Tracker Activity’s important applicable functionality. Improving efficiency via storing and coordinating expeditions amongst individuals in a team for such things as search and rescue missions is an example of how Tracker Activity may be used.

Identifying issues and fixing bugs made up the beginning of the semester which allowed me to become familiar with POSIT and my project. The underlying result was a deeper understanding of the Android and POSIT environments which built the foundation for my work on Tracker Activity.

Challenges included learning the infrastructure of POSIT and Tracker Activity. Another challenge was figuring out how to alter Tracker Activity’s code to fit POSIT’s new infrastructure without losing the intended and existing functionality of Tracker Activity. Working with the code and debugging it as well as Tracker Activity’s documentation allowed me to eventually get comfortable with its implementation and work productively on the project. My project mentor, Ralph Morelli provided valuable guidance and support throughout this project.

This was a tremendous learning experience. By working with this project I learned a great deal about working in a distributed team as well as Android software development. From working with an open-source project such as POSIT I now appreciate how a wide range of viewpoints can create unique features which differentiate a product from others in its market. POSIT, which serves a valuable and important purpose to society, such as aiding in search and rescue missions, has furthered my insights into the ways that mobile technology can serve society beyond the most recognized means of socializing and entertainment.
Furthermore, I have enhanced my understanding of how to manage and organize a project’s code-base and the people in a distributed team. I have enjoyed the opportunity of working with the talented individuals on my team and I have learned from them the value of creative thinking in coming up with new ideas and solutions to problems.

This project was a worthwhile experience and has greatly enhanced my understanding of mobile development and its potential uses in society.

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