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Alastair Aitchison

Alastair Aitchison is an independent developer, trainer, author and consultant specialising in spatial data reporting and analysis. His work has been used by the House of Lords, the police, political parties and various media agencies.
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So you heard about the new spatial functionality in SQL Server 2008, rushed back to your database and added geography and geometry columns to all your tables, eager to create the next Google Earth-beating application. You then click the Execute button and wait. And wait. And wait some more. (You get the idea). Spatial data is a rather unique beast, and designing efficient spatial queries requires specific techniques when compared to other, more traditional types of data. In this session, we look at how the SQL Server database engine satisfies spatial queries, the theory behind spatial indexes, demonstrate the effects of altering the bounding box, use the spatial system DMVs and stored procedures to your spatial database
SQL Server spatial features have not yet made it into mainstream usage and many developers still ask "But *why* would I use them?". In this session, I hope to answer that question by replicating the functionality of Google Maps using only SQL Server.

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Spacescape 28 Oct 2014
Everyone likes a good space game, right? Then you’ll need some way of creating spacey backdrops. You could go for an 8bit parallax pixel starfield, or, at the other extreme, you might use authentic NASA imagery of the night sky. … Continue reading →

Grabbing and Converting Adobe Streaming Video Fragments 18 Oct 2014
I was recently interviewed by Mustard TV for a feature on the Norwich Sound & Vision festival, in which I’ve been involved. The feature was broadcast on Freeview cable TV but I can’t pick up the channel where I live, … Continue reading →

Underwater Effects 07 Oct 2014
There’s lots of resources that describe techniques for realistic rendering of water surfaces. Unity comes supplied with several standard water assets, and there are some excellent descriptions of more advanced water effects at scrawkblog to generate spectacular ocean surfaces such … Continue ...

The Hunt for Napoleon 26 Aug 2014
I was commissioned to create a game for the “Nelson’s Norfolk” exhibition that has been running in The Forum, Norwich throughout August. “The Hunt for Napoleon” is a first-person adventure set during the Battle of the Nile, in which players … Continue reading →

Batch Conversion of BVH to FBX Motion Capture files 25 Apr 2014
Continuing my foray into the world of motion capture, I’ve been building up my own collection of mocap data files from various sources I find on the ‘net, with the hope of ultimately using them to animate a Mecanim rig … Continue reading →