NZ Forest Research is continually using new technologies to enable new features in their software programs (for better or worse?). ALTAS Cruiser is the latest software release to the industry (June 2002) and this was no exception to this rule. Many of us will not need to worry about PC end of this analysis software as this is kept within the office, but one question that is on the tips of people’s minds (Inventory Cruising Contractors in particular) is what effect is it going to make. If the industry takes this software tool on, what are we going to have think about in terms of hardware to collect this information.
Where’s DOS gone….WindowsCE seems the answer!
ATLAS Cruiser data collection software has been created for the WindowsCE v3.0 operating system (OS), this is a cut-down “embedded” operating system released by Microsoft for the handheld and pocket PC market. There is a wide range of rugged computers on the market that have this OS (see article WCE-0202) and seeing the success of the PC windows that we all use now, it seems a logical choice. Something to note is the word “embedded OS”, this means the OS software is loaded during manufacture, often this cannot be upgraded once the hardware is purchased by the user – not such an important consideration when purchasing a IPAQ-PocketPC due to its price, but if we are looking the more rugged units at $3K+ it maybe something you should ask about. Some of the makers are altering how the software is stored on the computer to allow upgrades to be loaded on after manufacture, some are NOT! With technology always changing it will be something to think about.
Cruiser ADI (XML file) replaces the Marvl MDI format !
With the new style of data capture allowing overlapping features and more, Forest Research have opted for one of the new standards in data transport, this being XML (Extensible Markup Language (XML) is the universal format for structured documents and data on the Web). Again this is new technology and only WindowCE OS v3.0 (2002) will have the correct XML DOM feature that allow Cruiser software to access and manipulate XML data files. Without this feature on your new hardware you won’t be able to run the new software. Again as this has only been released this year (~Dec 2001 ?), many of the hardware manufactures are only starting to catch-up. As an example the ALLEGRO Dual Boot Machine cannot run the XML DOM, but the newly released ALLEGRO CE machine will. So in summary this is something else to ask when buying hardware.
This article is just some helpful notes from Interpine Staff. You should always consult software manufactures for more technical advice.