A list of the steps required to be taken to obtain a quote from a programming team to create a new web-enabled database fully integrated with the NT Spatial Data Infrastructure.
NTLIS is responsible for maintaining various online services including ILIS and the NT spatial data infrastructure, and promotes the 'dissemination database' model for storing and delivering spatial data in the NT. The model recommends that data be made available by publishing it to a single reliable and accessible location, typically Oracle Spatial.
This document will outline the steps that data custodians should take in order to obtain a quote from a programming group to create an application / database suitable for managing data and contributing it to the NT Spatial Data Infrastructure. This document is relevant whether converting an existing database (for example from Microsoft Access), or creating a new one.
Ideally, the data management application should be web based to remove the need for specific software to be installed on users machine to maintain the data. The data itself in the database should be highly accessible to authorised clients, allowing enquiry or map production to be done live against the database as appropriate.
The following diagram outlines the ideal situation, with the proposed database Management Application depicted in yellow.
Figure 1: Web -enabled database architecture, including integration with the NT SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure)
The dissemination database model does not recommend a particular data maintenance tool or technique. However, the process is most effective when data is being maintained directly in the Oracle database, as this affords live access between the data custodians and end users, and reduces the complexity of the system as a whole.
To achieve this for simple database projects NTLIS recommends the use of Oracle Application Express. Oracle Application Express is a free extension to Oracle Database 10g, and provides the standard searching, editing, reporting and validation logic that enables the rapid development of online database applications. Importantly, it stores its data in a transparent way directly to Oracle tables, including storing geometries as proper Oracle SDO geometries, making 3rd party access to the information very easy, assuming authentication is granted.
This makes accessing to the data via well known applications such as MapInfo, FME, ArcGIS, NRETA Maps, NT Atlas, Google Earth, ILIS and ILISMaps very easy, and without the need for 'double handling' or human intervention and preparation.
Other programming groups may recommend an alternate environment to Oracle Application Express, the important thing is that the suggested environment integrates into the NT Spatial Data Infrastructure appropriately.
When building a new database it is important to recognise the separation of the data management application with the end user enquiry system. This document focusses primarily on the management application, if public enquiry is required then this should be stated and treated separately.
Items to include in a request for quotation
In order to receive a quote a programming group will require a document split into the following discrete sections. Remember the programmers will not understand your field or data as well as you do, so please bear that in mind when outlining data relationships and processes.
Application / Database Background
- the purpose of the database
- system owners: which group makes the decisions and takes responsibliity for the database design
- audience: who are the end users of the information, how will they see the information in the database
Classes of Users
- list the classes of users and what they can and cannot do: For example:
- administrators create and delete users and create, edit and delete all records
- editors can create and edit all records belonging to them (how is that defined?)
- viewers can view in the database application all records
- machine users: external applications can make enquiries of the database
- decide on the source of authentication:
- PROD domain (windows logon password), limited to NTG users only
- EPass, limited to NTG users only
- ILIS (Integrated Land Information System)
This is potentially the most important step in the process, and NTLIS can help you define this if you have any problems.
- include a complete list of objects (what this database is storing) and attributes
- parent / child relationships of objects within the data: for example, to add a 'bird sighting' object you must first add a parent 'Site' object
- list all validation rules, mandatory attributes, and any forced data types: e.g. " 'Bird name' must be completed in a 'Bird Sighting' record"
- lookup tables:
- where an attribute is to be populated from a lookup table advise on the total list of values for these and how this list is to be maintained
- if any field is to have a default value then advise, the default may alternatively be null or blank
- describe the logic behind any derived values.. for example if the "bird growth form" attribute is a product of its length and weight then describe this algorithm
- if your data follows workflow patterns such as: " user1 creates a draft record -> user2 approves -> record is made 'official' " then this will need to be described here and included in the "classes of users" section above also
- can be hand-drawn or computer generated
- to include all fields on every screen, including the default value for each field if appropriate
- to include all buttons on each screen, including their function / behaviour.
- remember to include all screens.. for example:
- login screen
- records search
- record view
- record edit
- popup / upload screens
- lookup table and user administration screens
- methods for defining geometries in records, for example:
- digitising using GIS software
- street address
- latitude / longitude
- list of coordinate systems to allow users to input
- any requirements for integration with GIS software for viewing / enquiry
- provide a complete list of reports required, including formatting and fields to be included for each; possible formats include:
- tabular data (e.g. extraction to Microsoft Excel)
- charts / graphs
- PDF and Microsoft Word proformas (human-readable templates); and
- thematic maps, including Google Earth KML exports
- calculation logic required to produce them if any
- schema of any machine-readable output if required (e.g. XML output)
Existing Application / Database
Providing and referring to existing screen designs, functionality and data relationships is very useful in the requirement defining process. However, when referring to existing applications please maintain the separation of the above categories and refer to these individually.
Once the programming group has received the above information they should be able to return a quote within 7 days. The quote should include a time frame estimate for the total job, minus the testing component which relies on the availability of testers.
Contacts for Further Information:
Phillip Rudd - 08 899 55302 or Phillip.Rudd@nt.gov.au
Shanta Vadeveer - 08 899 55304 or Shanta.Vadeveer@nt.gov.au