Occasionally I need a break from sitting at the desk in front of the computer. One of the ways I stay in touch with the real world is to get out there in it. My family and I enjoy taking bike rides on a regular basis. We load up the bikes and head off in search of parks, beaches, trails, or scenic areas. We unload and then enjoy a spontaneous, exploratory bike ride.
Recently, during one of these trips, we found ourselves riding for miles down the beach. We suddenly realized we eventually would have to turn around and pedal back. On the way back, we had a breakdown, and ended up having to walk part of the way back until we found a store where we could pick up the tools to fix the bike. When we got home I decided to go online to see if I could figure out exactly how far we actually traveled.
That’s when I came across the very cool website Daft Logic. Daft Logic bills itself as
a collection of resources, tools and information with no overall theme except to see what can be done with modern web API’s (application programming interface) tools and programming languages. The usefulness or originality is a bit hit and miss but that’s not a bad thing.
Daft Logic is a little odd and quirky but I kind of like that. The website has a clean, simple, and straightforward design. The site is divided into seven primary sections, the three coolest of which are the Projects section, the Sandbox section and the Information section.
The Google Maps Distance Calculator is the reason I stumbled upon the website, and I have bookmarked this page for future use. This is found on their Projects page. If you are a biker, hiker, runner, jogger, or walker, this simple tool can help you plan a route or simply see how far you’ve gone with a few clicks. Mapping my family’s adventurous marathon, I realized we had biked over 11 miles! Pretty good for casual riders.
I like the segment-by-segment function, in that you can click around turns and angles and get a more accurate distance calculation, or you can simply click a beginning and ending point and get an “as the crow flies” distance. The map is simple to use and offers a km, mile, feet, meter or nautical mile distance selection.
Out of curiosity, I mapped out our neighborhood to see how many miles riding each street adds up to and compared this to the estimate I made with my vehicle’s odometer. The result was very accurate. My car showed 2.3 miles and the distance calculator showed 2.341 miles.
There are several other Google Map mashups listed on their Project page, including a Google Maps Guestbook where visitors to a site can click their location and add comments. There is also a Send A Position Map where you click a location and Daft Logic provides a url that you can email to a friend that will link back to the map with the position displayed.
There is also an advanced version of the distance calculator that allows you to save a route on a map. They may not be reinventing the wheel, but having all of these map features on one site is certainly cool. The site authors have provided some code and downloads for you to use some of these tools on your own site.
There are some useful PHP projects to be found here as well. One is a tool that converts an email to a jpg file and there is one that converts text to a png file. These are handy if you want to display an email address, but don’t want the email to be picked up by spammers. Also under the PHP category are a “What is My IP?“, and a “What is My Browser?“ tool.
Included on the Projects page are several Macromedia Flash projects, including a few neat little games like Towers of Hanoi and Tic Tac Toe.
On the Sandbox page are all the projects where ideas are being developed and demonstrated. Users can play around with the projects, provide feedback, and the developers consider whether to continue with the development of the tool.
Many of these are built around Google Maps. One tool will find the nearest Flickr photo from a clicked point on a map, and another tool will reverse look up the nearest address to a point clicked on the map.
Finally, the Information section includes some articles the site authors have penned regarding programming tricks and tips and various KMZ files for finding neat stuff on Google Earth.
Daft Logic seems to be a website done by a bunch of folks sitting around playing with simple programming and ideas, with an extreme interest in maps, time, Google Maps and Google Earth. Yes, some of it is a bit daft but it’s still cool, quirky, geeky and fun!
Now, since I rode the tires off my bike yesterday, I’ll be playing around on Daft Logic when I need a break!