Other Case Studies

SMART Conservation Software

The SMART partnership supports improved law enforcement and biological monitoring in protected areas around the world. They came to Refractions to build a software tool to help meet their needs.


Hectares BC – Biodiversity BC on behalf of a broad partnership

Biodiversity BC and its government and non-government partners were looking for regional-level environmental statistics. Refractions proposed a new approach to generating GIS summaries, using the power of a relational database and web tools to provide GIS analysis to users who previously had no access to it.


Automated Route Planning for Meter Reading – City of Vancouver

The City of Vancouver collects water readings from thousands of residences and businesses, but has never optimized the pedestrian routes the readers take. Refractions developed algorithms to create the most efficient routes of the correct length for readers.


Digital Road Atlas – BC Integrated Land Management Bureau

Refractions provides full-service support for the British Columbia Digital Roads Atlas – systems design, maintenance, data conflation, client service, and rapid response.


Caribou Habitat Assessment and Supply Estimator – Wildlife Infometrics Inc.

Refractions converted a legacy habitat modelling system based on ArcView 3.X to ArcGIS 9.2, and automated the workflow to provide faster turnaround time for model runs.


Line Cleaner – BC Ministry of Forests

The British Columbia Ministry of Forests needed a tool to conflate multiple roads databases into a single working layer. Refractions delivered the algorithms and a user interface based on the uDig platform.


Interest Reports – BC Ministry of Agriculture & Lands

Refractions developed an ArcMap extension to automate the calculation of standard reports joining a massive shape-file archive with a large Oracle database.


Mobile GIS – UN Food & Agriculture Organization

UN FAO needed a data collection tool that could run disconnected and didn't have a per-seat licensing cost. Refractions delivered a simple tool using the uDig desktop platform.


Open Web Services, Phase 3 – Open Geospatial Consortium

The Open Geospatial Consortium runs regular “testbed” projects to field-test new concepts in geospatial interoperability. Refractions was a part of the OWS-3 initiative, and built a uDig-based “GeoDSS” client to provide access to several other OGC standard services, including a prototype GeoVideo service.


Natural Language Spatial Search Engine for Rental Places-Rento

Rento is a free web service that makes it easy to find a place to rent in Greece. Powered by PostgreSQL and PostGIS, it provides ad listings with photographs displayed on a map. Searching is accomplished through map navigation and natural language processing, with the search engine being capable of answering complex (spatial) questions such as "flat near the University of Athens" or "loft up to 800 euros near a metro station" (in greek).


Data Integration Tool in ArcView – Geographic Data BC

The Client

Geographic Data BC (GDBC) is responsible for assembling and maintaining GIS base mapping data for the entire province of British Columbia. Their primary planimetric dataset is the Terrain Resource Inventory Management (TRIM) product, which includes all planimetry (rivers, roads, swamps, contours, etc) and digital elevation data for the province in over 7000 map tiles.

The Problem

In order to keep the extensive TRIM mapping of the province up-to-date, GDBC has implemented an “exchange” partnership program with local governments, industry, and other agencies that gather land-use data. Updates to the TRIM base-map are gathered from the exchange partners, integrated into the official TRIM base map, and redistributed to the partners. However, the management of this flow of information, required new tools for quality control, GIS format conversion, coordinate reprojection, and integration.

The Solution

Refractions created a suite of data management, conversion and editing tools, by customizing ESRI's ArcView data viewer/editor and Safe Software's FME data translator. Refractions also designed a new metadata schema for storing information about data sources, dates, and quality alongside the GIS features. GDBC now processes exchange data through this system:

  • Exchange data arrives from the exchange partner in the partners chosen export format (Design, Shape, E00) and is converted into the GDBC format (SAIF). The exchange data are stored in a processing area.
  • The exchange data are checked out by operators using the ArcView interface to an Oracle check-in/check-out system. The operators review the new exchange data, and make any changes they require.
  • The data is run through quality control checks (topological noding, flow direction, proper intersection rules, and 3D integrity) to ensure that all features cleanly join into the existing TRIM product.
  • The data is checked back into the archive and readied for distribution.

The Result

GDBC is using the data management tools in a production environment, processing data from exchange partners around the province. The first exchange data sets have entered the provincial TRIM archive and are being distributed around the province.