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).



Our Client

SMART Partnership

Project Background

The SMART partnership required a desktop application to collect, store and analyse data related to law enforcement management and biological monitoring for protected areas around the world. They required this tool to be free for all conservation groups to use, internationalized so people of all languages could use it and flexible to provide configurable options for almost all aspects of the tool allowing it to be configured for many different scenarios, environments and purposes. The tool also needed to be cross-platform, work well in off-line or partially connected communications situations and support mobile data collection from both GPS devices and android and windows-based phones & tablets.

Refractions' Solution

After analyzing the details of the business and researching various strategies, Refractions built this tool using existing mapping components from uDig, and built it all on the Eclipse framework to help provide many of the needs the clients were looking for. Through this modular approach Refractions was able to build a completely custom application that met all of the user's needs at a fraction of the cost of developing an application from scratch.

The Result

With constant back and forth communication throughout the project with the client and user groups, Refractions iterated through a number of software version releases that were tested at various sites around the world. We continue to work with this client to improve and expand the capabilities of SMART.

Client Benefits

SMART has been rolled out and is being used in over 100 protected areas in the world. The SMART partnership is growing and succeeding at promoting this software tool and their conservation approach. They are constantly providing support and SMART training to new protected areas and parks and are making meaningful progress in the fight against poaching and illegal resource use.