DoC uses .Net to manage mud, frogs

From monitoring lahars to managing frog species, the New Zealand Department of Conservation is engaged in a raft of projects using Microsoft's .Net development framework.

Projects under way include a pest management system, a herpetofauna management system based around frog species, and an audio-visual database. One system, for monitoring lahars — mud flows — on Mount Ruapehu, has gone live. Sensors around the mountain send data via microwave links to a centre in Tokaanu, which forwards the information via a frame relay link to Wellington. There it is put into graphical form and served up via DoC's extranet, where it is regularly visited by about a dozen scientists.

DoC CIO Channa Jayasinha says the government department's development team of 12 began using C# as the language and .Net Visual Studio and Interdev as the development environment a year ago. The upgrade from Visual Studio has reduced development time by 10% to 40% in some instances, he says. All applications are web-enabled.

Jayasinha says currently the lahar monitoring system is supported inhouse but that will be outsourced to Fujitsu. It will also set up a disaster recovery system for the monitoring project.

DoC is also assessing the feasibility of replacing several paper- and computer-based booking systems for some of the huts and campsites on the land it administers, with a national online system.

It is envisaged that any replacement system would be accessed through the DoC website, allowing members of the public to get the relevant information, check availability, confirm a booking and make an electronic payment.

"We want to see if there is anything already out there that would meet our requirements. Otherwise, we will build inhouse," Jayasinha says.

DoC has140 sites, running Windows 2000 Server and Windows XP on those with more than 15 users. Smaller sites run Citrix thin clients, served from Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

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Andrea Malcolm

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