xAPICohort – A Review on developing GeoLocation in xAPI

xapicohort xAPI downunder

The Fall 2020 xAPICohort has now come to an end and I wanted to share my experience, what I learnt and how the xAPICohort can help you gain a better understanding of xAPI.

I was part of the xAPI Team Downunder. We were the first dedicated team from Australia which meant we could participate in our own time zone. If you’re not familiar with the xAPICohort:

The xAPI Learning Cohort is a free, vendor-neutral, 12-week learning-by-doing project-based team learning experience about the Experience API. (Yep, you read that right – free!) It’s an opportunity for those who are brand new to xAPI and those who are looking to experiment with it to learn from each other and from the work itself.

https://xapicohort.com/

The beginning of the Journey

Our journey started with a brainstorming session as to what we can achieve in the 12 week period. I had been playing with an idea to capture latitude and longitude points with photos as attachments. I posed this idea to the group and after some concepts, we came up with the idea of accessing live fire incident data and mapping it against your current location.

Building on a Concept

I initially looked a feed from global heat map feed from NASA, but this was massive and really not viable. Then it was look at feeds from the different Australian Authorities. Whilst the data was there (for all but Northern Territory), it was not all the same format, so some data messaging had to be done.

Now with a radius set, if you were within the radius (now we have settings to send data to the LRS and API keys etc) it would send an xAPI statement – we’d done it!

Not so fast, we then got the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) to provide feedback and processes so we could actually come up with some viable. With the teams Instructional Designers, they developed a process. I needed to match this in the web app. There was a need to capture when someone said ‘Mayday Mayday Mayday’. Some research and I found how to listen and convert the speech to text and if the string matched ‘Mayday Mayday Mayday’, send an xAPI Statement. this work, albeit only in one browser, so it wasn’t ideal. We looked at holding a button for 2 seconds to send a manual ‘Mayday Mayday Mayday’, which was much easier.

With all this data, we really needed a simulation. Enter the right click on the map. This then allowed us capture WHERE the event is and with a few input fields, capture a simulation. This time ANYWHERE in the world!

A QR Code could then be generated that could be sent to a user (or a Crew) to login via the web app. If the user was within the radius of the simulation, an xAPI Statement would be sent.

What I learnt

This was a fantastic project for me. I learnt a lot both professionally and personally. I learn by doing, and this was very much the case in this project. I met some amazing people and developed some professional contacts that share my passion for xAPI and the specfication and where it can go.

I wrote a three part series on how to capture Latitude and Longitude in xAPI that you can checkout.

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Building the Framework

Part 3 – Building and sending xAPI Statement

All the code is available on GitHub in the xAPICohort repository

Where to next?

We are looking to take things further with the development of the app as it will be show cased at an Emergency services conference in the future, supported by the CFA.

I’ll also be looking to formalise the xAPI GeoLocation Profile to see if we can have some influence in making this a standard part of xAPI.

Below is the recording for our session at the xAPICohort Party. The Team Downunder were the catalyst for the xAPICohort party now going global over several time zones, which I believe was a massive success.

I HIGHLY recommend you get involved or just sit on the fringes of the cohort and see what others are doing in the world with xAPI. Who knows, you may just learn something new πŸ˜‰

I’d like to mention a few organisations and people that helped bring the xAPICohort together and highly recommend you head on over to the next xAPICohort starting on 4th February 2021 and register.

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