Maemo N’ Marble

Categories: KDE, Maemo
Tags: No Tags
Comments: 20 Comments
Published on: April 6, 2010

After looking for a new phone for some years, I recently bought a Nokia N900. The combination of decent hardware (a fast CPU, built-in GPS, hardware keyboard and sane size)  and the open software stack convinced me to spend the money. Today I’m pretty satisfied with that decision. One of the great things about it is that it runs Linux and is extensible.

Marble’s properties — fast, visually appealing, easy to use, minimal hard- and software requirements, offline usable, free software and open standards — make it appealing for a Maemo port. Working on the base of earlier ports, we’re polishing things up for the N900 for some time now. Some parts of the user interface clearly need more work, but we do have a functional and reactive version running already.

In the spirit of “release early, release often” I’d go for a first release soon. We set up a Marble Garage Project for that. Give us some weeks for final polishing and we’ll have packages ready.

The internal GPS device and routing via openrouteservice.org are supported as well. Does that make it a navigation device? Kind of.

You can use Marble on the N900 to plan a route and track your current position. But there is no guidance yet and other features one expects from a real navigation device are lacking as well. Call that a chance: Until Friday, students can file an application for Google Summer of Code “Marble to Go (Navigation Mode)“. I’m happy to hear from you :-)

20 Comments
  1. Keith says:

    Wow excellent job on the n900 for the Marble team. I want an n900 now :(

  2. DaveQB says:

    Thank you! Thank you!!

  3. maniacmusician says:

    Looks good for an initial step . Are there any plans to give some TLC to the UI of the non-mobile version? By TLC, I mean some usability improvements focusing on user interaction, especially the location and visual appearance of certain tools. For instance, the zoom slider and navigational arrows take up a lot of space and are separated from the map. They’d be more functional and better looking if they were overlayed somehow onto the map. Same with some of the other things in that sidebar.

    An interesting way to do it could be to borrow the sidebar-hiding overlay that Gwenview now uses. Instead of it having just an arrow, it could say, for example, “Legend.” Overlaying onto the map gives you more space to work with and more ways of distributing/presenting information to the user.

  4. [...] Nienhueser has just announced on his blog the upcoming release of Marble for [...]

  5. Alexis Menard says:

    Really nice….How is the speed? Memory consumption?

  6. quoted on uberVU - social comments says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by marxistvegan: This is awesome openstreetmaps in use with the #n900 built in GPS http://nienhueser.de/blog/?p=95

  7. maninalift says:

    Wow. This looks fantastic. And zooming/scrolling is smooth enough to be usable – great.

    My assumption would be that on a device like n900 openGL would be much faster, are the team considering openGL for the near future?

  8. Torsten Rahn says:

    maninalift: We are considering openGL. However we also need to take into account that Marble is a library and that we already have a unified render pipeline in Marble.
    The plan is to create a GeoGraphicsView (similar to the QGraphicsView) with several possible graphics systems supported:

    http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/Marble/GeoGraphicsViewOverview

    Now with the current pipeline we can use Qt’s OpenGL graphics backend in Marble already. But it doesn’t give an advantage on the N900 in terms of speed.
    Note also that on the N900 OviMaps (which is using OpenGL) isn’t any faster in 3D mode than Marble when showing the same amount of detail (in terms of vectors and textures) — rather the opposite.

  9. Torsten Rahn says:

    maniacmusician: Ease of use and good looks have always been important to the Marble Development Team. So I definetely agree that we still need to improve the UI and I agree with your suggestions. :-)

  10. Simone says:

    Wow
    … video?? :-)

  11. David says:

    Any chances this get backported to a less capable symbian device, like the 5800XM?

  12. maniacmusician says:

    @Torsten Rahn

    I know that these things are important for the Marble team; I’ve been following its development, and it’s amazing what’s been done so far. You guys deserve a few serious rounds of beers for it.

    I was just specifically asking if there were any near-future plans to do some sort of usability/UI sprint or something.

    Didn’t mean to imply that usability wasn’t important to you guys :)

  13. [...] Maemo, um atlas mundial, uma resenha em vídeo do Raemote, a série 0.6 do fMMS (afinal, tem gente que sente falta de MMS [...]

  14. Torsten Rahn says:

    @David: Basically for Symbian devices it should be just a matter of adding detection for the profile (which should be trivial) and adding a position provider plugin that either uses the existing Symbian framework or Qt Mobility.

    @maniacmusician: Ok, got that :-)

  15. The Ffejery says:

    Hey – awesome work. I was actually looking into Marble for use with a university research project using the N900, as a replacement for QMapControl, which leaves something to be desired. We don’t need much more than some position markers on a (2D) map, with the capability of showing orientation – is Marble overkill for that on a phone?

  16. Dennis Nienhüser says:

    Sounds like a perfect fit to me. Then again I’m probably biased ;-)

    Would you use development packages for armel if we provide them? I could extend the packaging to include them.

  17. The Ffejery says:

    @Dennis: Right now I’m debating the relative merits of sticking with what we have to save time v.s. rewriting a bunch of stuff for long-term benefit (e.g. Marble)); I would like to try out Marble, but I have no idea when I’ll get around to it. In any case, yes, if you could provide development packages, and, ideally, packages for the Marble Qt widget itself, that would be great. If/once you do, would you mind firing me an e-mail?
    Thanks!

  18. Dennis Nienhüser says:

    Sure, I’ll drop you an email then.

  19. The Ffejery says:

    @Dennis:
    We’ll be using the widget from QtMobility/Maps, so don’t worry about it. In any case, I follow PlanetKDE, so I heard about the initial ones anyway.
    Thanks

  20. Dennis Nienhüser says:

    Sorry, totally forgot to inform you. I tried to compile QtMobility/Maps 1.1 some time ago, but it failed with a bunch of linker errors. Same for todays git version. Does it work for you? Got a screenshot maybe? The only information I found about it is http://developer.qt.nokia.com/wiki/MapsNavigationAPI.

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