Difference between revisions of "Goodmix Final Wiki"

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Other than FYP milestones, there are biweekly sponsor meetings and client usability sessions where different deliverable for RIBA is expected. “Just keep going” attitude to deliver what is expected to our best. We will first meet our sponsor to show him what we have done before he organizes the usability study sessions with KOOPrime and National Parks. This is both a challenge and a benefit for GoodMix. With many milestones, we are able to keep our schedule on track regularly.
Other than FYP milestones, there are biweekly sponsor meetings and client usability sessions where different deliverable for RIBA is expected. “Just keep going” attitude to deliver what is expected to our best. We will first meet our sponsor to show him what we have done before he organizes the usability study sessions with KOOPrime and National Parks. This is both a challenge and a benefit for GoodMix. With many milestones, we are able to keep our schedule on track regularly.
===<font size=3 color=#0000FF>Project Achievements:</font>===
===<font size=3 color=#0000FF>Project Achievements:</font>===

Revision as of 16:44, 27 November 2010

Main Page: IS480 Team wiki: 2010T2 Good Mix

Project Progress Summary

Project Highlights:

RIBA is a highly interactive and robust geospatial application!!!

S/N Event Evaluation Action Result
1 User request customizing symbols by choosing from a list of images Impact: high as it affects many other functionality

Difficulty: high as no research about this is done before.

Team decided to implement this although it affects our schedule because it helps to bring user experience to another level by adding fun elements to RIBA. We would also like to stretch our abilities and push ourselves for this FYP.

Thus we communicated the possible outcomes to our sponsor and gave ourselves 1 full week to get it up:

a. Might have major bugs that cannot be solved and have to revert

b. Accomplished with slight delay to schedule

Team split into coding team (Bernard, Shazlee and George) and project management team (Naresh and Jess) to work concurrently.

Scenario (b) occurred.

2 New “find coordinates” function requested on 8th November to be up by 10th November for UAT Impact: low because it is a standalone function

Difficulty: low because similar techniques are used before

Went ahead with the request but deadline is tight although it did not affect our schedule. So, collaboration is critical. Bernard had to finish the coding and UI before passing it to Naresh to update Test Plan and Shazlee to update User Guide. Request completed and RIBA tested before UAT
3 Client failed the spatial error handling for the UAT conducted on 10 November 2010.

If this is not addressed, it means that our UAT failed.

Impact: low because it does not implicate other codes

Difficulty: medium as previous attempts to give specific errors had failed.

Team is offered 2 options from sponsor

1.Fix it 2.Not fix it and write a statement as explanations which will be submitted back to the client who graded fail for approval.

Jess thought of an idea and managed to accomplish the specific error handling.

Project Challenges:

1) Expectations of end users from different departments in biodiversity center

Even though our source of requirements is our sponsor, we attended all usability study sessions to get direct feedback from them. This means indirectly managing users’ expectations which can be different and sometimes contradictory. After each usability study sessions, we will discuss with our sponsor during the next meeting to prioritize the changes requested for the next deliverable. We also make use of our project metrics to help us evaluate the requests. This plan had worked well for us.

2) Managing many milestones and deliverables

Other than FYP milestones, there are biweekly sponsor meetings and client usability sessions where different deliverable for RIBA is expected. “Just keep going” attitude to deliver what is expected to our best. We will first meet our sponsor to show him what we have done before he organizes the usability study sessions with KOOPrime and National Parks. This is both a challenge and a benefit for GoodMix. With many milestones, we are able to keep our schedule on track regularly.

Project Achievements:

Scheduling the project is the most complex task for this project. Due to the nature of our development process, we design our own method to mitigate the disadvantage of adopting this process which we called it dynamic scheduling. This method was effective as it successfully helped us overcome many milestones to satisfy our stakeholders.

Although we make use of external libraries, we create methods to access them and logics to integrate them with functionalities. When the libraries cannot perform what we hope they will, we modify them or seek other alternatives such as using PostGIS functions.

To make RIBA interactive and getting the architecture right, it takes a lot of planning, research, learning, explorations and testing at the backend.

Project Management

Project Schedule (Plan vs. Actual):

Changes to project schedule were elaborated up to midterm. Therefore comparison will start at phase 6 where we face some of the most turbulent phases. However, even with many changes to the schedule, we are on track! This is probably because we decided to sacrifice our plan to freeze coding after phase 6 as mentioned during midterm to implement changes and make RIBA better.

Note: The difference between “new” and “for user experience” is that “new” refers to requests made by sponsor and the latter refers to team’s initiative.




You can download our detailed Gantt Chart here.

If you are interested to know more about how we plan our project schedule, dynamic scheduling, schedule evaluation for midterm or our special development process, visit the linkages :)

Project Metrics:

These are the 3 metrics that Goodmix use and here is the summary of the metrics collected:

Requirement Evaluation Metric


In lieu of tight schedule and high risk of requirement change, GoodMix created requirement evaluation metric to help us manage. Impact and difficulty scores are proposed by the person in-charge of the function and the team will discuss if scores are reasonable. Given many months of doing RIBA, it is safe to say that we are able to judge these measurements reasonably.

Risk Assessment


Comparison of the midterm and final risks:

(to be filled up)

(what does this comparison mean?)

Bug Tracking


Media:Final Bug Matrix.xlsx

Technical Complexity:

We ranked the technical complexity by functions and provided explanations for top 3 choices:

Rank Function
1 Symbol Customization

This is the most technical component for us because attempts to customize the symbols of the layers with color picker was made before but failed. This is why we modified it to become randomized color symbols and no prior research was done specific to this function. Furthermore, this feature affects most of the functionalities since they were built on top of the marker population algorithm. Achieving dynamic icon list where administrators just need to upload icons to the symbol folder is one of the most satisfying feeling.

2 Layer Control Manager

This function is considered a basic feature but it is one of the most difficult function particularly trying to implement this in the early stages. This means that if we don't get this feature out in time, it will be a critical bottleneck for the rest of RIBA development. This feature is also the one that morphed the most throughout the project - from changing UI to changing logic.

This function being one of the toughest is not just because our skills are not well developed then but also because it involves deep understanding of the concept of geometry in PostGIS. This concept is geospatial related and not many materials can be found online about the usage of it. Thus we have a hard time trying to figure this out which we also learned how to explode "the_geom" to load polygon layers using PHP. Item rendering using actionscript is also one of the proud creation which the logic is modified from our intense research.

3 Spatial Search

Spatial search is both difficult and special at the same time. Through our usability sessions, our end users seem to be most awed by this function. This is also another function that transformed a lot through the phases - from single point buffer to multiple point buffer to polygon buffers. A lot of hiccups were met during the development of this function. As this is a geospatial concept search, a lot of careful considerations and revisions are made for its UI.

Technical complexity includes the usage of PostGIS geospatial functions such as ST_Buffer, ST_UNION, ST_DWITHIN, etc which are very new to the team. Deeper understanding of geometry in PostGIS is also required here. For example, geometry column for polygon does not accept geometry of point type, transformation to the correct SRID affects the accuracy of your result, etc. On top of this, flex coding logic such as placing markers when user double clicks on the map, drawing buffers from the parameters passed in by PHP in the form of XML, etc are created by us.

4 Attribute Search
5 Highlight
6 Heatmap
7 Data Loading
8 Dynamic Legend
9 Area Calculation
10 User Interface
11 Map Export to Images (Snapshot)
12 Distance Calculation
13 Find Coordinates
14 Map Navigation
15 Map Scale
16 Map Provider

Quality of Product

Project Deliverable:

Stage Specification Modules
Project Management 1) Minutes

2) Metrics

Client, Sponsor, Supervisor & Internal


Requirements 1) Storyboard

2) Specifications


Scope Requirements, Technical Requirements

Analysis Use Case & Description Use Case Materials
Design 1) System Architecture

2) UI Design Changes

3) Database Schema



Media:DataSchema.pdf of NParks_DB

Testing UAT Test Plan & UAT Details
Handover 1) Guides

2) Code

3) Deployment

Media:User Guide.pdf for National Parks, Deployment Guide for KOOPrime

On Test Server

Deployment Materials


We've built RIBA that strives to be dynamic not just for usage but also for deployment and ease of maintenance. For example, clients request for icon customisation for different data layers. Instead of asking them to add codes, all the administrator has to do is drop the icons into the icon folder.

In terms of user interface, it is being revised from time to time as we created them from scratch. It can be as trivial as setting transparency to background or as tedious as presenting the function such that it is idiot-proof and a handy tool at the same time e.g. spatial function.

For coding wise, external libraries are clearly separated from our codes which are modularized into different classes. This is also applied to PHP which can be as seemingly trivial as having a configuration file so that password change is only required once. Comments are done in details for all methods that we built.

We've also designed the database architecture which our administrators must use it for RIBA to function and for them to maintain geospatial layers.


Deployment was done on a test server instead of the client server. We tried our best to get RIBA deployed on our client’s server but they could not confirm this possibility by week 11. However, as RIBA is a flash enabled application, a successful deployment to test server meant that it is possible on client server.

For this FYP, GoodMix tries to model the project such that it is as dynamic and close to the will-be live project as possible. In the upcoming demonstration during presentation, we will be accessing a URL that contains the IP address of the test server remotely. A step-by-step deployment guide is created just for our client to build, deploy and maintain RIBA. It comes together with an installation guide pack containing all the codes and installers.

Navigate to this page for deployment materials: Deployment Details


Bug reporting was significantly improved after our midterm feedback that we might be under reporting the bugs. As we get more alert, members took turn to do debugging to test and report RIBA bugs to bug tracking document immediately.

On top of bug tracking, we've also done UAT. We achieved all passed for the UAT except a section from an end user on the spatial error handling. He felt that the error is not helpful enough for the users. Our team has rectified this and sent him the end product for his approval. Once he approves, we will achieve 100% UAT pass :)


Team Reflection

Benjamin Gan Reflection


As project manager, in terms of schedule, I am lucky to have our developers helping out in managing the deliverables, particularly in the project development aspect. On top of this, FYP is probably the longest project, about 6 months, for SMU undergraduates so sometimes, the team does get tired or less motivated. However, I truly experienced the spirit of “keep moving on” from this team which enabled us to deliver what we were set out to. To me, this is a journey of stamina, management and motivation.

Personally, I try to help out as much as I can in project development too. This is because I have been through GIS course and I wanted to learn more about Flex and Geospatial functions. Having done user interface works for GIS project, I focused more on database connection and PostGIS functions for FYP project to diversify my learning. It was a great sense of achievement as I grow to be better skilled in these aspects.

All in all, this FYP allows me to take a peak of how the real world project is like since we are working with real clients. With multiple stakeholders, requirements can be a real headache because some are contradictory, some are tedious and others can be too difficult. We are lucky to have our sponsor, Dr Kam, as our requirement source which filtered most of the requirements and get us to do those that are critical, impressive and/or manageable ones.


This FYP has been a remarkable journey. 6 months thru good and bad times and finally we came thru. During this period, I have learnt how it is to embark on a IS project dealing with real people who are your clients and inevitable changes that will keep bouncing to and fro. Change is the only constant in Life. As such so is our project, though I recognized much changes was needed in our project to give the client, the "user experience". Working on a project that looks into HCI, User Experience is very important and viral. How many clicks, does the name make sense, where the function is placed at, the buttons used..etc As much as possible, we should make it easy and intiutive for end users to use at their comfort.

Apart from User Experience, I have also learnt to understand Business Problems that clients faced and providing IS solutions with the right technologies incorporated into the project. Managing the expectations of various stakeholders is also one thing I have learnt. We had multiple tiers of clients and with that sponsor, vendor and client. It is important to establish a good working relationship and understand each other expectations and objectives of the project so that you will be able to deliver what has been required.

I have enjoyed working these 6 months with awesome team mates who make things happen thru thick and thin!


Initially in our team, only Jess and George are exposed to Flex coding while the rest (Bernard, Naresh and Shazlee) do not have any background knowledge about it. Therefore, the initial learning curve is extremely steep for me but with the help of reference books and examples from the web, and slowly I come to terms with Flex coding. Then for the rest of the coding of the project, it would be basically more of reading what each APIs can do and applying programming logic into it. Besides Flex coding, I also has to understand PHP programming as well as using APIs from our PostGreSQL database in order to achieve some of the spatial functions (spatial query, area calculation and etc) in our project. All in all, through this project, I have been exposed to several programming languages and also the interaction between each phase of our architecture.

As the team has adopted a new development framework, more usability tests were conducted before the final UAT as our application is more user-centric and therefore we would constantly need to get feedbacks from our users with regards to our application. In this way, we were able to cater to their needs and wants with the notion that the basic user requirements were still intact. Therefore when the final UAT was conducted, we achieved good results and expectations from the users. Through the numerous usability tests conducted with the users, I understood what they really want and we try our best to give them what they want but sometimes, some of the stuffs we are not able to comply due to the time constraints we have.


After a grueling 6 months, the FYP is finally coming to an end. It has been a long and tough journey, especially having to juggle other modules, external classes and work. Personally, I feel that the challenge in this project is the new programming language of which made it hard to search the Web for information on it. That aside, having to handle the client’s request proved to be a challenge as well. Due to the various constant changes requested, it was hard having to keep up with it. Something which I loved about this project was coming up with some of the algorithms to make it work. I felt a sense of completion seeing some of the things work in the project such as the randomization of color for the markers, which unfortunately was removed after one of the usability session with the end user.

Due to the nature of our project, we had lots of usability tests with our users. This was an eye-opener as we had to constantly tweak our user interface to meet their demands. But this was beneficial as the users would be able to own something that they would actually be comfortable in using.


I personally think that IS480 is a good educational channel for me to experience a real project life cycle, from gathering requirements to project management and to completion. As an educational environment, I have a chance to learn from my mistakes and amend from it, so that I am more prepared when I enter the business world. Apart from the technicality aspect of our application, the takeaways from this project are mostly the soft-skills that I learnt; managing stakeholders’ opinions, addressing internal conflicts, and how we can convey our ideas more effectively. I have also learnt how to advice stakeholders by presenting different outcomes from various implementations and our recommendations, balance tough decisions and strive for a win-win situation. I would like to thank our project sponsor and supervisor for giving me keen insights in project development and management.

Disclaimer: All images and content on this page are done by Good Mix and should not be published without their permission.

Main Page: IS480 Team wiki: 2010T2 Good Mix