personal blog of Jonathan Fretheim

Assignment 3 in my Mobile Application Development class was turned in last week. This assignment was to do something with a web service and use an IntentService/ResultReceiver combo to offload network tasks.

I made a cool little app that lets you pan and zoom around a map of your town, your state, or anywhere in the US, and get US Census Bureau ACS data for that area. A cool part is a list view of all the data you’ve accessed gets sorted by distance from your current GPS location (or the center of the last map you looked at, etc.).


Originally, I thought it would be cool to make custom transparent map overlays in the shape of each census tract. That way, you would end up with a neat visual patchwork of census tracts. That idea got shelved when I downloaded some shapefiles and realized “wow, I have no idea what this stuff means!”

Lots of fun. I’d love to spend more time on this one and get it polished to the point of publishing it on the Android Market. Census tract shapes, a refined user interface, maybe even scaled map annotations based on the value of a designated statistic? –I think this could be really nice.

I’m really loving this new universe of JSON-based web APIs. If you do this kind of stuff and you haven’t tried InfoChimps yet, you should–a very interesting company that serves as a kind of data API clearinghouse/bazaar where everything is nicely documented and clean. Some APIs are free and a lot of the ones I checked out are free for the first X requests per month, so you can play around prototyping without making a big investment.

Further implementation detail, code snippets, etc., are here: [UWEC CS491] Homework 3 –


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