This is a rough list of the major tasks I've undertaken over the years at Laser-Scan.


Cartographic technologies (1980-1988)

GIS development (1988 onwards)

One of the original team of 3 programmers working full-time to develop Gothic, Laser-Scan's GIS (Geographic Information System).

Further work (1997 and onwards)

These notes are derived from those I wrote for my assessment in November 2002, and cover what I was doing since the previous assessment, in 1997 - i.e., a period of about 7 years.

Throughout 2002

Technical project manager and lead developer for "Java-in-Gothic", a project to embed Java within Gothic, initially for use writing Gothic database methods, but ultimately as a general programming language for use with Gothic. Oversaw one other programmer for about half of this time.


Continued a consultancy and programming role with the Java-in-Gothic project (now taken up enthusiastically by the company), but mainly worked on the a generalisation project for German customers:

  • Cooperating on the design of an XML Schema to define a parameter file to define some of the generalisation process.
  • Providing software to load the parameter file directly into Java, using Castor
  • Producing summary documentation of the process methods being written, for the customer.
  • Producing general test mechanisms for the processes.

Standards work

UK National Transfer Format

In the mid-1980s, the UK started a standardisation effort to produce a transfer format for geographic data. The format was initially called NTF, and the work was run by OS(GB).

As an interested party, Laser-Scan were sent draft documents as they were produced, and two of us attended the first open meeting, where the semi-final draft of NTF was presented. Subsequent to this, I submitted a lot of comments, both of a technical and proof-reading nature, and then continued to do the same through later versions of the document.

In 1988 I was invited onto the NTF Technical Working Group, which had taken over production of the NTF specification.

When it became necessary to take NTF to a British Standard (BS 7567), I was asked to be on the technical committee. The first drafts of the standard were assembled by myself in LaTeX, before being reformatted in Word by another member of the committee.

As part of my work on the committee, I worked with Dr A. A. Brooks to evaluate the utility of ISO 8211 (BS 6690) in future versions of NTF. I then chaired the working party that produced Part 3 of BS 7567, which provided the ISO 8211 "encoding" for BS 7567 (in fact, Part 3 was essentially written by me, with input from the working party).

I was also a member of the raster data working party.

ISO 8211

Every 10 years, ISO inspects each of its standards to see if it needs throwing away, updating, or just keeping as is. The decision was made that ISO 8211 needed updating, and the UK was one of the nations with requirements for change. After my work on NTF/BS 7567, it was natural for me to be the UK representative in this work, and in fact the new version of the standard (ISO/IEC 8211:1994) is essentially the work of Dr Brooks and myself.

My primary inputs were in the actual rewrite of the document (to make it easier to understand and use), and in the introduction of a simple textual language for describing the contents ("schema") of an ISO 8211 file.

CEN TC 287/WG 3

This was a project to produce GIS data transfer mechanisms for use between European countries.

I was invited onto Working Group 3 (dealing with the actual transfer layer) in 1992, because of my ISO 8211 knowledge, my experience with the BS 7567 work, and my general work in GIS. For much of that time I was the only vendor employee on WG 3, and there were not many vendor employees in the TC as a whole.

I was a member of Working Group 3 and also of sub-Working Group 3.1, the latter being particularly tasked with the actual physical part of data transfer.

I had to leave standards work as WG 3 produced a draft standard (not being able to travel as easily after the birth of our first child).

OpenGIS and GML

In the late 1990s, the Open GIS Consortium began to produce GML (Geographic Markup Language), an industry-led approach to geodata transfer. Laser-Scan provided technical input, particularly in the areas of topology and object-referencing.

My experience of transfer formats and standards work, and my interest in XML and related technologies, were used in the formation of Laser-Scan's positions.

Glasgow University

From 1991 through 1998, personal reasons required me to be in Glasgow, where I worked as a Research Assistant in the Topographic Science Department in Glasgow University, fully-funded by Laser-Scan. My primary responsibility was continuing with the development of Gothic, but I also:

Tony Ibbs, July 2003