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).


Mobile GIS System for Agriculture Monitoring – United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

The Client

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy

The Problem

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) wanted operators in remote locations to be able to collect field data using a Geographic Information System (GIS) installed on a portable computer. This would allow operators to have direct access to FAO data-stores and data-entry tools while on-site at agricultural facilities and testing centers which do not have widely accessible internet access. When internet access to the FAO network was next available, field-data would be up-loaded to a central server, at the same time data from the FAO server would also be synchronized onto the laptop so that each operator would have up-to-date information for their on-going site visits.

Refractions' Solution

Refractions was asked to create the client portion of this system for use on the operators' laptops. We worked closely with the server-side programmers to design a mutually acceptable data schema, that client and server components would use to communicate. The client GIS was created using Refractions' own User-friendly Desktop Internet GIS (uDig) – an open source GIS development framework, customized with data input and editing tools specific to FAO's requirements.

Refractions also contributed significant research in the many ways to effect the client-server synchronizations. We selected the best method to create a robust and efficient data transfer protocol, based on the Open Geospatial Consortium's WFS specification.

The Result

uDig FAO has met FAO's early acceptance criteria and is currently being reviewed and tested before it is launched into production operations. We expect the system to be fully deployed to numerous operators in the summer of 2006.