Since the first submarine cable was laid in the 1840s, telegraph and later telecommunications equipment companies have been planning, surveying, and installing submarine cable routes worldwide.
Water depths, sea bed composition, accurate positioning data, potential cable burial depths and sea bed temperatures are just some of data that need to be collected in order to plan a submarine cable route.
The places where the cable will cross other submerged equipment such as oil and gas pipelines, or maritime boundaries and economic zones, are all important, and all feed into the planning, costing and build process of submarine cable installations.
One of LeoTel Software’s longstanding customers has a significant investment in marine route planning and cost estimation. When the marine survey takes place, specialist route planning software is used to capture the raw survey data.
In the past, the resulting survey data was manipulated using script-based technologies in order to produce the documentation needed for a cable bid or installation.
We were tasked to consolidate the calculations and data manipulation into a single desktop application, in order to help bridge the gap between the raw survey data and a finished cable bid – and, ultimately, the documentation of a manufactured cable installation.
We met with the engineers who were directly involved in the marine survey, route planning and cost estimation processes, in order to understand the existing processes and how the cable route planning and costing scripts fitted into them.
We documented the system requirements and design at the outset.
We designed and developed a single application which combined the client’s internal route planning and cost estimation processes, and improved upon the original script-based algorithms.
The user interface was designed to be simple and intuitive, preserving what already worked well for the customer, in order to reduce disruption during the change-over period.
We released the functionality of the new integrated application in managed stages, allowing for a smoother transition period and minimal impact on the production workflow.
We developed the marine data application using C#/.NET Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) technologies, and integrated a third-party Microsoft Excel workbook viewer to support the export of Microsoft Excel workbook files and the import of earlier calculations.
The application we developed was very well received by the route planning engineers from the first delivery onwards, and the client has benefited from:
- significantly faster calculation and data manipulation times, e.g. at least 100X for some operations;
- greater productivity, as a result of the new combined calculation operations;
- a substantial reduction in the number of places where manual intervention is needed, and fewer data errors now that users input less data manually; and
- the ease of adding further calculations and features in the future, now that the core framework of the application is in place.