Sunday, October 20, 2019

TCP and Google Maps: Integrating my workflow with the Maps API

For the past three years my career in OSP engineering has revolved around Permitting. Essentially the main deliverable to our clients is a permit. Most of the permit application requires Traffic Control Plans (TCP) in California. The approval of work to encroach in the public Right-of-Way (ROW) cannot happen without a TCP.

My job as a drafter/designer of Traffic control Plans (TCPs) requires a fair amount of research for utility companies. TCP design requires knowledge of existing utilities, great attention to detail, and requires skills needed to use aerial imagery and CAD systems. TCPs include identifying existing utilities, street conditions (striping, lane widths etc), and even speed limits. The later can require a fair amount of guessing if desk-topping (aka browsing Google Maps) cannot locate speed limit signs. The job can be a major time sink from the tedious amount of searching in Google Street view. I can't tell you enough how much distress this gives me. It might be hard to visualize, but I'd compare it to medieval cartography.

However, to their credit, Google has made their Speed limit data available through their Google Maps API. While it might not be easy for the novice to access it, the information still exists.  So one of my goals for the coming year is to learn to develop my own android app (it will be a side hobby). My plan is to pursue a project that will streamline my personal workflow. From time to time I want to post updates to the progress I've made. I don't plan to make this a regular post. It is a simple concept, so I'm setting my sights high, but taking my time to get it right. I hope to possibly prove myself right, as this doesn't feel like rocket science. Win or lose, this is the beginning of my venture into becoming a Computer Developer Hobbyist. This is my attempt toward developing the solution to my TCP troubles. The Maps API is there, I just need to learn how to build this app.

Here are some of the obstacles:

Learn Java/Kotlin
Learn HTML/CSS

(I have android SDK and a Google Maps API key, and a domain).

Onwards.

Thanks for reading.