Over the past few months I’ve spent much of my time developing the Project54PDA imaging applications. Finally, after some coding revisions and a small in-lab experiment, we’re just about ready for deployment. From the results, it seems as though tagging of images using handheld devices has a bright future, along with the note-taking and memo-recording capabilities the application provides.
Back in April we met with Lieutenant Mark Liebl of the NH State Police who gave his insight to the applications’ possible uses. Mark had stated that he occasionally comes across a driver who has forgotten to carry or had misplaced their driver’s license. In these circumstances information may be taken verbally from the subject and checked against the records database as normally would be done. However, this assumes that the driver was being truthful. This is where the imaging application comes into play. At the time of questioning an officer may take a photograph of the subject and pair it with tagging, note, and/or memo data that may be reviewed later if necessary, providing some physical data on the event. Along with this, Mark also believed that such data may be gathered at the scene of minor motor vehicle accidents.
Below are some screenshots of the imaging application in use. Since most people are fairly familiar with the operation of a digital camera, I tried to have the imaging GUI replicate that functionality as much as possible. Like all commands the application provides, images may be captured using the graphical buttons or through speech interaction and reviewed by using the scrolling features shown in the upper corners of the shot. In the adjacent figure, the tagging mode of the application is depicted with the tags “poster” and “project54 logo” already paired with image (lower text area). The upper text area displays previous tags the user has entered into the system, and allows the tagging process to be completed (through graphical or speech interaction) more rapidly. That’s right, speech tagging! Note-taking is performed using the text editor of the PDA, and the memo feature allows for a maximum 30 second audio recording.
With all of this data now stored on the PDA, I found it necessary to develop a set of applications which allow for extraction to and easy viewing on a desktop machine, because viewing data on a PDA is about as slow and painful as it gets. The transfer application (not shown) handles the extraction, and the management application offers a centralized interface for data review (see the figure below). All-in-all it was a lengthy process to get these applications working in harmony, but I think the data collection and organization methods they provide will prove to be quite valuable.