Trip Collaboration

The basic planOfile concept is to share time-based location information, i.e. a trip. This is generally useful for anyone travelling and they want others to know where the are, where they've been and where they're going. It is quite easy to enter trip data using the planOfile interface directly or combined with Google Earth or Google Maps and save the data on the server. The link to the data can then be emailed to friends or put on a web page so that others can view the trip information in 2D or 3D earth browsers (like Google Earth).

While that functionality is pretty useful, it is really just trip sharing.

The trip collaboration aspect works more like an online calendar. You can create an event (location and time) and other people interested in attending the event can create and add their trips to that event. Then by viewing the event URL, it is easy to see who (how many) is attending the event, when they are planning to arrive, when they are planning to leave. Even simple events, like Christmas, where we have a dozen different vehicles arrive and leave over the period of a week, becomes easy to organise. No need to remember who is coming or leaving when, just look at the event map and see their latest information. Scroll through the time and see their plans. This also has the added value of other attendees being able to share rides because it is easy to see other's trips that match your plans and get a ride with them instead of driving yourself.

Collaboration is achieved by grouping trips in a tree structure with permissions at each node so the creator of the node can allow/deny others permission to edit or add trips below his node. This simple structure is very flexible and allows for complex structures to be created, for example, allowing one group to see some trip data and another group to see more trip data. Or granting different access for different groups to add to or update event information.

This type of collaboration system makes it easy for a person/company to answer questions like "where are my resources (employees, trucks etc...)?" by clicking on an event link where the resources have added their trip information. By adding trip information hierarchically, more specific information can be requested "where are my Sydney resources?" or "where are my global resources". Since this is trip collaboration (not just resource tracking), other questions can be answered "where will my resources be tomorrow (next week etc...)?" or "where were my resources last week (month)?".

This general structure also allows for trip planning using existing trip information generated by others. A good example of this is what I call "passenger (parcel) mode". If airlines, like QANTAS, were to publish their aircraft trips then a passenger could do their flight planning just by creating a trip node and adding (below that node) all the flights they plan to take. The passenger doesn't type in any trip data, they just include data already generated by the airline (train, bus, tour etc...). Then they can save their trip on the server and send the URL to family/friends to see where they are planning to go, where they are now, or where they've been. This also has the advantage that if QANTAS changes the time for their flight, they update their data and the passenger will see the latest information without having to manually update their trip data. Of course, the passenger is still able to create another trip leg and add it below their trip if he so desires, for example, at one travel destination the passenger may hire a car; this trip could be added.

Along with trip sharing, this system works well for waypoint sharing. The hierarchical structure with permissions at each node makes it easy to add waypoints and delegate the management of waypoint data to others. So waypoints like POI (points of interest), airfields etc... would be easily maintained and shared by a large group of people. Anyone with management responsibility for one node of waypoints (or trips) can easily delegate responsibility to others or grant permission to create child nodes and allow others to manage those nodes. This is hierarchical management, if the higher node doesn't like what the child nodes are doing, it can remove them from it's tree (not from the system though).

The planOfile system is an independent system that treats Earth browsing programs (Google Earth, GMaps, planOfile Earth, NASA World Wind etc...) like web browsers and just provides data for them to display. It does not use any data from these programs. planOfile acts similar to a web server to these earth browsers and allows you to add/update data on the planOfile server.

The planOfile programs and server are free to use. The other programs, like Google Earth and Google Maps have their own licenses (which you need to understand and obey) and are not affiliated with planOfile.