TADPOLE TECHNOLOGY PLC, GEOSPATIAL SOLUTIONS DIVISION (formerly Systems Synthesis), Bristol, March 1994 - November 2007: During the months prior to the acquisition of the business by ESRI UK, my focus was mainly involved with the development of a large geographical data management system, known as the Phoenix programme, for Ordnance Survey, the United Kingdom's national mapping agency.
The aim of the programme is to replace Ordnance Survey's existing 'tile-based' system with one that allows seamless editing by surveyors of arbitrary portions of the UK digital map database. The new system is based around ESRI's ArcGIS coupled with XML web services and has been developed entirely in C#, using ArcObjects APIs and Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET. I have been responsible for much of the design and implementation of the job management system, which co-ordinates the activities of over 500 surveyors and other users.
During 2001 I was involved in the full roll-out of the Tadpole-Cartesia mobile Field Information System (FIS) to over 300 users at Three Valleys Water PLC (TVW), a UK water distribution company supplying over 1.5 million customers headquartered in Hatfield, Hertfordshire UK. Since then the system has been extensively adapted to fulfill new business needs and is still in full use today.
The Tadpole-Cartesia FIS enables TVW's field workers to view, edit and update map data held in Smallworld GIS, using low-cost handheld devices, running a Java virtual machine, that communicate with the back-end Smallworld data repository over wireless or modem data links.
I have been responsible for the design, coding and customer support for all the Smallworld-specific components of the implementation. This includes coding of a Magik-based Internet map server (a fore-runner of Smallworld's SIAS) as well as a Magik server component that delivers Smallworld GIS data in vector format to web clients for subsequent manipulation. The system also includes a Magik GUI application for returning GIS data changes made by field users back to the Smallworld repository.
I also wrote all those parts of the mobile client Java software that are concerned with GIS. The software made use of a 3rd party component (Ilog Jviews) for the display and manipulation of vector graphics.
Part of the work involved developing a spatially indexed database system for rapidly retrieving small area extracts from potentially huge collections of digital map data, using a self-devised adaptive indexing algorithm. This forms one of the server-side components of Cartesia and is written in Java.
I was also responsible for the design and implementation of MANWEB's Intranet access to their corporate Smallworld GIS. (MANWEB is a UK electricity supply company covering the north west of England.) This allows maps of MANWEB's underground cables and other assets to be made available to users with standard web browsers, both internally within MANWEB and externally to other utilities in their operational area. The system is installed in MANWEB's corporate headquarters at Birkenhead and has become the preferred means of access to their geographical information.
I have also been involved in the design and specification of a Java-based system for the planning and management of NORWEB Communications' PowerLine Telecommunications (PLT) technology. This technology allows high-frequency (>5 MHz) digital signals to be propagated down ordinary mains power cables. The software comprises a network planning module, based around Smallworld GIS, and a customer care module based around ObjectStore from Object Design. The two systems are integrated with CORBA, using IONA's Orbix and OrbixWeb products.
I have also implemented a system for visualizing maps and other spatial data on the WWW and for enabling complex spatial queries to be carried out. The system uses Smallworld GIS as the spatial data engine and has been written using Smallworld Magik, C, Perl and Java.
Prior to the acquisition of Systems Synthesis by Tadpole Technology, I was responsible for managing the company's role in the EC RACE project BRITEUR, which was concerned with the provision of advanced broadband services to small businesses in rural areas, through an ATM network based in Sligo, Ireland and in a number of other twinned regions. The work involved the design and prototyping of a set of services which aimed to fulfill real business needs and take advantage of the broadband nature of ATM. These services included videoconferencing, remote database access, multimedia email, X.500 directory access and document search and retrieval. The work has centred on providing these services by enhancing the functionality of Internet World-Wide Web (WWW) server technology. This involved writing gateways between WWW and SYBASE System 10 SQL server, Verity's TOPIC information agent and the X.500 QUIPU implementation from ISODE consortium. The software was developed using C, C++ as well as PERL (a shell programming language) on Sun SparcStations running Solaris 2.4.
BRITISH AEROSPACE (Systems & Equipment) Ltd., Filton, Bristol, July 1990 - March 1994: I was employed as a Principal Engineer in the Security Systems Department, which manufactured large scale X-ray and sniffer systems for use by Customs for the detection of contraband (e.g. bombs, drugs etc.) in trucks and cargo containers. My job included the design and implementation of software for the gathering of digital X-ray images in real time, image display and enhancement. I was responsible for the design and specification of the overall system and the detector array that forms the X-ray image, which was based around solid state scintillators and photodiodes. I participated in equipment trials and demonstrations and was responsible for the computer analysis of test data and the interpretation of results. I also carried out research into X-ray imaging systems and novel methods of explosive detection using physics-based techniques.
I was responsible for coding part of the production software for a large vehicle X-ray system constructed in Shenzhen, People's Republic of China. The software provided X-ray image visualisation and enhancement for use by the image inspector, and ran on a network of Sun SparcStation II clones under the UNIX operating system. The application was coded in C for X-Windows using Xlib and the Sun XView toolkit, and made use of many of UNIX's interprocess communication and networking facilities (signals, shared memory, sockets, RPC servers/clients, XDR etc). The software was developed using configuration control procedures which ensured that all aspects of the design process, including design proving and testing, were adequately addressed (BASE Ltd is an ISO 9000 registered company).
I have also worked for British Aerospace (Systems & Equipment) Ltd. at Plymouth on the design of systems for tracking objects in a video sequence. I have been involved in the development of new correlation tracking algorithms and their simulation in software using a proprietry image processing package for Sun workstations (WIT). The algorithms are to be implemented in hardware based around custom ASICs and DSPs.
BRISTOL UNIVERSITY, HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS GROUP, January - July 1990: I was employed as a Research Associate for Dr J. Malos to provide software for part of the data acquisition system of the Central Tracking Detector of the ZEUS experiment at DESY, Hamburg. The software provided equipment diagnosis and test facilities and was coded in OCCAM and VAX FORTRAN. The work involved liaison with other research groups from Oxford University Physics Department and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
ORANGE BOX DESIGNS LTD, USK, GWENT: Between mid-1988 and early 1990 I was joint author of the firmware for a commercial touch-sensitive display terminal. This work, which was carried out on a contract basis, involved the coding of a large (32K) operating system in 6809 assembler which included ANSI X3.64 terminal window emulation, intelligent touch-key detection, serial and other device drivers, built-in diagnosis functions, as well as PC-based utility programs (in QuickBasic) and associated manuals and documentation.
BRISTOL UNIVERSITY PHYSICS DEPARTMENT, July 1986 - January 1990: Research Assistant for Professor P.H. Fowler, F.R.S. I was involved in the development of a novel technique for temperature imaging using epithermal neutrons. The work, which was funded partly by the Royal Society and partly by Rolls-Royce, involved the design, construction and testing of three prototype multi-pixel neutron detectors for use in neutron beam lines at the spallation neutron source (ISIS) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The technique has been proven to be capable of measuring temperature fields inside moving metal structures to accuracies around 1 C. I was involved in all aspects of the research, and was especially responsible for the design and construction of the analogue electronics, the data analysis and the provision of the analysis software (VAX FORTRAN).
During part of 1989 I carried out research into a practical method of detecting explosives concealed in aircraft baggage. The technique, which is known as thermal neutron activation analysis, or TNA, centres around detecting the gamma-rays emitted following thermal neutron capture on nitrogen-14. A prototype system was successfully tested using neutrons from an accelerator source at Birmingham University. The research was eventually suspended due to lack of funding from Rolls-Royce.
BRISTOL UNIVERSITY, October 1981 - July 1986: I was awarded a studentship by the SERC to carry out research for a Ph.D. in the Cosmic Ray Physics group at Bristol University under the supervision of Professor Fowler. I began with experimental work on the design of a low energy particle detector which was intended to be flown on the Space Shuttle to measure the anomalous component of the cosmic rays, but due to lack of funding this was never actually completed. The remainder of the time during my Ph.D. was spent completing the computer analysis of cosmic ray data from the Ariel-VI satellite. My thesis presents a full account of the Ariel-VI mission, including results for the abundance spectrum of the ultra-heavy cosmic rays. I have also contributed to a number of joint papers in which these results are summarised.
IBM (UK) LTD, Bristol and Welwyn Garden City, July-Sept 1979 & Jan- Sept 1978: I was employed by IBM as a trainee systems engineer and my duties included software development, sales team support (e.g. evaluation of performance of proposed installations) and customer support. I was author of an APL package supplied to Westland Helicopters, Yeovil, for generating JCL code to automate batch entry under MVS. I left IBM to start university.