Improving On A Global Online Success Story

PIRSA LogoWhen Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA) decided that it was time to upgrade their highly awarded SARIG website, SRA had a problem…. How do you improve on one of the great online success stories ? 

SARIG was developed as a key deliverable within South Australia’s Plan for Accelerated Exploration (PACE) to promote resource exploration in South Australia.  SARIG had dramatically exceeded all expectations during the past few years and PACE had driven investment in exploration from under $50 million dollars in 2004 to over $300 million dollars per annum. 

Meeting The Challenge >>

After years of incremental change, SARIG had evolved into a highly sophisticated amalgam of data, spatial tools, shopping facilities, exploration data and much more.   The growing technical complexity was beginning to make a significant upgrade difficult and the sheer number of options available had begun to make the user interface look cluttered compared to newer spatial systems.

Other regions had begun to implement similar programs to PACE and it was time to reinvest, to ensure that SARIG regained its pre-eminent position.  PIRSA sought professional advice before deciding to do more than just give it a make-over. The PACE team wanted to make SARIG faster, easier to use and they wanted even higher levels of integration with data sources and related systems, like tenement applications.    

SARIG had grown to become the primary source of Minerals data in South Australia and although each component was well defined, the application as a whole had become difficult to describe in any detail.  This presented an immediate risk for a project which needed to modernise the architecture, redesign the interface and add still more functionality within an aggressive delivery schedule on a tight budget. SARIG had become a highly visible and highly valued contributor to South Australia’s growth. The solution would require both discipline and creativity.   

SRA decided early to tailor the development life-cycle for this project.   Although SRA’s experts were very familiar with SARIG this was still going to be a daunting task. 

The software architecture and user interface design required to support such broad functionality risked significant delays given the scale and the number of stakeholders. 

Outstanding Features >>

There were critical technical decisions needed early in the project that could not be allowed to delay progress.  The SRA team adopted an aggressive “Timeboxed” software evaluation to make sure all technology options were evaluated but that only the most applicable were fully assessed. Recommendations that followed sought progressive acceptance of assumptions and priorities and PIRSA was tasked with providing binding guidance where necessary. 

The development team was handpicked to include a mix of experienced SARIG technicians, technical specialists and a Project Manager supported by the PIRSA SARIG Manager throughout.  The team adopted an aggressive “Spiral Development” model which developed the solution in layers in accordance with perceived risk.  Each weekly iteration delivered a new release dealing with either technical or presentation issues and stakeholders were able to make informed decisions and provide feedback.  This evolutionary model allowed the developers to progressively adjust the software to incorporate changes without major productivity loss. 

The SARIG stakeholders were able to see the solution growing, confident in the knowledge that they were in control of the process throughout.  The Spiral model strictly managed risks and prioritized to ensure optimal outcomes.  

Comprehensive Benefits >>

SARIG’s newest release was delivered for testing on time and within budget. In fact significant functionality was brought forward and the overall project in trial beta form was available from May 2011.

The new SARIG interface is drawing attention throughout the Spatial community in South Australia and beyond as it delivers a clean and familiar style without sacrificing any of the power of the previous solution.

There are high hopes that SARIG will, once again, lead the world in online minerals exploration facilities.

Leading Edge Technology >>

  • ArcGIS Server
  • Geocortex Essentials REST Elements
  • .NET 3.5
  • ASP .NET MVC 2

Further Information >>

Visit the website at http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/minerals/sarig.

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