In the last term of my undergraduate studies in University of Piraeus, I had one class for learning systems and one for Geospatial Information Systems. My tutors agreed they would both accept the same project which is a combination of these two areas. So I built Gclass, a geography tutoring system using Microsoft Silverlight and Live Maps (now Bing Maps) API. Thankfully, my working prototype got 10/10 in both classes as well as a very good recommendation letter for my MA studies written by my GIS tutor.

The screen was divided in two main parts, on the lefthand side a Silverlight application and on the righthand side a Live Maps control. The first feature of Gclass let the user navigate through lessons paragraph by paragraph and each time he/she moved on to the next one, the map on the righthand side would change position and angle (the user was prompted to turn the map to 3D view) showing a relevant to the paragraph place on earth. The indicative lesson displayed on the prototype was about rivers, so at the paragraph which explained the delta of rivers the earth would turn on and zoom to Nile’s delta. Furthermore, at the paragraph about Amazon river a polygon at its shape would be overlayed on the map highlighting Amazon’s position and size on the map. The appropriate caption for each view appeared on the bottom of the Silverlight application.

The second main feature of Gclass turned the Live Map control to a 2D world map and on the Silverlight application promted the user to draw an area on the world map that he/she would like to discover. Afterwards, the countries included or intersected by the polygon the user drew, were listed on the Silverlight application along with a link to their Wikipedia page. When the user selected a country in the Siverlight application, the Live Maps control would zoom and focus on it. On that part of Gclass I would like to add many more features GIS-wise, but the only data I found available online for free, after hours and hours of searching, were the polygons of the countries of the world.

Regarding technology the Silverlight application communicated with the Live Maps control via javascript. The polygons of the rivers and the countries of the world were stored in a Microsoft SQL database, as the whole website was an ASP.NET website. The Silverlight application would call a SOAP service hosted by the ASP.NET website and the website would then retrieve the appropriate data from the SQL database and return them to the Silverlight application. The GIS functionality e.g. the intersection between the user-drawn polygon and the stored coutries’ polygons in the database was implemented in SQL procedures.

I would be glad to share the source code of Gclass to anyone interested; just send me an e-mail.

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