OpenEarth are a small consultancy formed in 1998 in Sydney Australia and now based in and working from Christchurch, New Zealand. We have been involved with spatial information from the very start and can draw on experience in the US, UK and Europe as well as extensively throughout Australia. We are particularly enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Open Source Spatial Systems and Data as we think they greatly extends the possibilities for making effective use of the world's ever-increasing spatial information.
We can provide spatial consultancy services including
Much of our work can be and often is undertaken remotely but we can also travel in Australia / New Zealand to undertake agreed tasks and commissions.
OpenEarth has quietly been ahead of the curve when it comes to Open Source Spatial Innovation. From a Google Maps-like web mapping solution, SPLASH, (Spatial Planning Linkup Around Sydney Harbour) implemented in NSW's Planning Department years before Google Maps itself, to early adoption and adaption of many Open Source tools such as PostGIS/PostgreSQL, MapServer, SVG and WebGL.
OpenEarth can "add space" to your existing alphanumeric solutions or "add openness" to your existing spatial solutions. We can provide Open Source functions to access your existing local or remote data, improve its usefullness by adding location information and spatial context such as addressing and administrative area (suburbs, postcodes) and present the enhanced information in many ways including the results of spatial analysis (How close...?, how many...?, where...?) interactive 2D and 3D maps, business graphics or high resolution spatial images suitable for printing. We can also take data from your existing GIS and present it cheaply and efficiently to a wide audience of users without the need for user and licensing management.
OpenEarth can review your existing spatial systems without a vendor's bias. While we obviously charge for our time, the products we propose are free and ubiquitous with excellent, world-wide support through an active user and development base.
Everything we develop for you is yours so you can continue to modify and improve it yourself or hand it on to others with the same skills. Open Source means you're not tied to specific, vendor-approved help.
Some of the skills OpenEarth can offer in evaluating your current spatial systems include:
While Open Source spatial tools are some of the most powerful and flexible available and are constantly improving, there are cases where an existing proprietary system "just works" and is the best solution for a specific task. OpenEarth can determine how well your current solution meets the requirements of staff, customers and other users. We can suggest specific areas where an alternative technology could improve things in terms of performance, flexibility, scaleability, usability etc.
OpenEarth have many years experience in designing and implementing spatial solutions in a wide range of markets, especially for Telecoms.
We can consult, design, build and host a solution to meet your exact requirements using an agreed set of components.
We can also integrate new functionality into or beside existing systems and replace old functions with faster, more efficient and open alternatives.
The volume, quality and availability of Spatial Data is growing by the day. Every satellite, every geographically-distributed network, creates large volumes of valuable and interesting data. OpenEarth can help search, discover, evaluate and utilise the right datasets to suit your specific needs.
We can determine the best options for data access based on issues such as currency, accuracy and precision, volatility and likely network impact and then implement the best local or remote, static or dynamic, file, database or API-based methods of data storage and access.
Dynamic Design is an international company, with headquarters in Switzerland, providing a range of solutions for managing networks, especially in the telecoms market.
Their products are based totally on proprietary tools; database, middleware, spatial tools (GIS) and user interface. While these tools were appropriate in 1993 when the company was founded, and have supported development through the years, the ever-growing issues of licensing costs and management requirements; version managment of multiple products; a lack of control over changes or improvements to these essential components and a growing international customer base meant that easier, simpler alternatives were being actively canvassed.
OpenEarth provided consultancy into Dynamic Design in its Melbourne offices to establish just what could be accomplished with Open Source alternatives to their existing proprietary tools. After some initial familiarisation, OpenEarth was able to show how the Spatial Database, Spatial Server, User Interface and Data Import and Export tools could all be replaced or supplemented with Open Sources equivalents. OpenEarth was also able to provide browser-based proof-of-concept vector graphics using Open Source graphics libraries essentially equivalent to, and as functional as, those of the existing Dynamic Design desktop solution.
The consultancy proved conclusively, that Open Source Spatial solutions could replace most if not all their existing proprietary tools and remove entirely, issues of licensing on customer systems. Customer Support would also benefit as full control was available over all components of their solution, along with the active, vibrant world-wide support community that characterises the best Open Source solutions.
It showed that by adopting Open Source alternatives for some or all of its external tools, Dynamic Design would be able to provide its solutions without external and third-party licensing requirements, making the setting up of new clients considerably easier and cheaper. In addition, by changing to a browser-based User Interface using Open Source graphics libraries, it became realistic to consider providing it products as Services delivered over the web. Because Open Source Spatial solutions provided Dynamic Design developers full access to source, they could also optimise the tools themselves, enabling better control and so a better experience for their users.
OpenEarth was approached by an Australian Mobile Telecoms company, Virgin Mobile, with a spatial problem. Virgin wished to sell a home broadband solution Virgin Broadband At Home which utilised their existing 4G network and included a home phone with an allocated land-line number.
Australia's Emergency Services conventions required that every Land-Line number (+61 x xxx xxxx) be spatially located and provided to a centralised database, the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) from which emergency operators throughout the country could automatically identify a location simply from the telephone number from which a call was being made. This meant that the At Home devices needed to remain at the location provided when the devices were purchased and that an subsequent changes of address were noted and the new address provided to the IPND. The problem was that the At Home devices were small and portable and would work anywhere. The challenge was to identify when devices moved outside their approved location and communicate, as automatically as possible, with the device owners.
OpenEarth designed, built, tested and hosted a service which provided the exact service required to fulfil IPND requirements. The system
The system was successfully implemented and hosted by OpenEarth. It ran for approximately five years until the At Home product was replaced with new technologies that allowed handsets to become WiFi Points of Presence and use of landline numbers was no longer required.
Based on previous, successful services provided to Virgin Mobile, OpenEarth developed a similar device location and reporting service for Optus Networks. The system provided comprehensive monitoring and reporting facilities customised to the Optus Customer model.
The Optus system performed a function similar to that developed for Virgin which was monitor, control and report on devices that were contractually required to remain in designated "Home Areas".
Based on previous, successful services provided to Virgin Mobile, and Optus, OpenEarth was further asked to develop and host a customisable device location and reporting service for Optus Networks Resellers. This allowed the service to be customised to meet the various needs of each of the Optus Resellers.
The system provided comprehensive monitoring and reporting facilities customised to each Optus Reseller's model. The system performed a function similar to that developed for other products which was to monitor and control devices that were contractually required to remain in designated "Home Areas".
Nangi ("to see" or "to look" in the language of the Ngunnawal people of Canberrra) was developed for the peak Aboriginal Health body, NACCHO to bring together a wide range of information on the Aboriginal peoples of Australia; to understand where they were physically placed and to identify the Health resources available to them.
OpenEarth consulted, designed, developed and hosted the Nangi Site allowing NACCHO member organisations an integrated, map-centric view of the state of the State of Australian Aboriginal Health.
QMAX represents a key factor in ensuring good health outcomes - ensuring a regime of proper and timely medication. QUMAX helps patients with complex medications using a number of simple measures along with careful monitoring and measurement.
A significant upgrade to the QUMAX system was designed and implemented by OpenEarth for NACCHO, the National body responsible for QUMAX Administration. It supports the development of Workplans covering the seven key QUMAX areas along with two Progress Reports each year which ensure the workpans are being effected.
OpenEarth consulted with Virgin Mobile, an Australian Cell Phone operator, to design, build, operate and provide reporting on the locations of some of its cellular devices. OpenEarth provided the service with daily movement reports and customer SMS messaging for 5 years until changes in the cell technology made the service no longer necessary
The OpenEarth Server regularly accessed Virgin's GMS cells to locate specific devices and analyse their location relative to allowed "Home Areas".
OpenEarth provided consultancy to the Australia New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC) to review all aspects of addressing in Australia, interview key participants and provide three deliverables:
OpenEarth researched and conducted interviews for all three deliverables but was most involved in designing, implementing and documenting the Web Services Interface which provided API access to NAMF-compliant Address Services.
There are approximately 150 ACCHS across Australia providing Primary Healthcare to Indigenous Australians. OpenEarth developed a custom tool to allow the gathering, analysis and reporting of information on these organisations and on the communities within which their services were offered. The ACCHS site locations themselves as well as the locations of outstations and clinics were mapped so that their potential population catchments could be estimated and reported on as an aid in planning future requirements.
The ACCHS Tool collated a large amount of previously-scattered data and so helped the organisations better understand their areas of responsibility (local, regional, state and national) and so imporove the coordination of their efforts, resulting in significant savings in both time and resources.
While the creation and analysis of spatial data is usually a specialist task, the results of those activities need to be easily available to a wide range of users with the ability for them to further use the results in their own ways. Typically a small number of analytical processes generate data that many more users want access to.
OpenEarth can provide customised services that "publish" the results using Open Source tools that require no licensing and can be freely scaled to meet user demands.
Images are a great way to convey information and are in use throughout the web. But they are just pictures - arrays of coloured dots. So providing further information about what the image represents requires considerable extra work.
But what if the image itself could supply that other information? This is the problem Smart Images solves. Smart Images are ordinary images in every way but have extra content that can be used to make the image interactive and Smart
To better understand how Smart Images can be used, please select from these short video presentations that illustrate some uses of SmartImages.