In early 2009 I was approached by Genwest Systems in Edmonds, Washington regarding a calculator that they needed to build that would simulate an oil spill cleanup. The project lasted 8+ months. We started with a month and a half of creating mockups and working through use-cases and usability for the simulator. Once the design was finalized we moved onto the development phase and the project was completed in late 2009.
Essentially the application allows oil spill responders and researchers to simulate a spill by providing scenario information, oil data and the cleanup systems they’d like to employ. The project was built upon years and years of research conducted by my client.
The application was built in Adobe Flex because the project had three unique requirements:
- The application could NOT be an executable (the government approval processes for executables takes a considerable about of time)
- The application had to be able to run as a stand-alone (no Internet)
- The user of the application needed to be able to save their file for later use
These challenges we’re huge as they restricted us from creating a web-server application or a simple desktop application. I got a tip from another developer that Flash had the capability of saving files and after creating a proof of concept we elected to use Adobe Flex for the application framework.
I love Flex and I hate Flex. There are things that are great and others that make you want to pull out your hair. Either way we’ve become pretty proficient with the framework.
The rest of this post will showcase screen shots from the application. Click on any of the images to see a bigger, full-size image.
When a user first opens the application they’re greeted with the welcome screen that gives them a bit of instructions for use of the program.
Next the user can click on the “Scenario” button on the top of the screen to provide information about the spill. We ask them for a Scenario name, description of the spill, default units, timezone information, lat/long, start and end dates and default operational times.
This next screenshot shows a dialog where the user can choose the oil that was spilled (optionally the user can enter a custom oil for the spill).
I’m not going to put up screenshot of how a user would add a reponse system (a system that would help cleanup the oil) but at this point the user would provide just that. Basically they attempt to cleanup the oil with ships (mechanical skimming systems), aircrafts (dispersant systems) or burn systems (also ships). Once they’ve added all of their response systems they get a myriad of charts and data that help tell the story. Those charts and data are shown below:
The final name that was decided on was ROC- the Response Options Calculator. The project was incredibly rewarding and we learned a ton about the industry and the science behind oil spills. It required a large amount of detail as the formulas were very specific and there were a plethora of edge cases.
You can download the application here.
Our company provides both small to medium business website design as well as larger, complicated applications like ROC. Contact me if your company is looking for a larger scale solution. We enjoy working with prime contractors as sub contractors and have experience with government contracts.
Here are our NAICS and SIC codes for your reference:
- 541511 – Custom Computer Programming Services
- 541512 – Computer Systems Design Services
- 541430 – Graphic Design Services
- 518210 – Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services
- 7371 – Computer Programming Services
- 7373 – Computer Integrated Systems Design
- 7336 – Commercial Art and Graphic Design
- 7374 – Computer Processing and Data Preparation and Processing Services
We look forward to working with you!