Sunday, 27 May 2012


What is the most important piece of technology being used?

The most important piece of technology being used is the oceanographic model (SHOC), together with particle tracking techniques. The model runs simulations with observational input data to generate data-sets which can be further used and interpreted in MARVLIS. More information about the techniques and models can be found in

What will require the most development effort and why?

The most development effort will be in the SHOC model. The current software only supports archived data and therefore further development is required to make the model accept real-time data.

What features are the most important to gain customer satisfaction and buy-in?

First of all, MARVLIS provides researchers with the infrastructure of MARVL for regional integrated marine studies and embedded tools to aid in environmental assessment. Secondly, the local community will benefit from having a tool to aid management and assessment of the Derwent Estuary, and the national community will benefit from the extensions to MARVL that this project will add. Lastly, the institutions involved will benefit from having tools and products it can use in future projects.

Non-functional requirements

MARVLIS will be built on standards (e.g. Open Geospatial Consortium) and is an open-source project.  All data-sets will be interoperable and metadata will be published to Research Data Australia. There will be different levels of data availability for different groups of users, with the security policy determined by the governing body. Source code will be available through Google Code

Architectural Diagram

Architectural Diagram

MARVLIS will be built from components using a service-oriented architecture. All model outputs will be stored in a THREDDS server and can be accessed through the OPENDAP protocol, with metadata  harvested in GeoNetwork. Map layers will be served via the WMS protocol using GeoServer, from a PostgreSql database. The web server component uses Python and the Django web framework with a PostgreSql/PostGIS database, while the front end is built using Javascript with the OpenLayers mapping framework.

Links for technologies that will be used:


How the development team works together?

The project will use Agile approach to develop the final product. The project manager will act as scrum master for the development team. Weekly or fortnightly sprint will be used and regularly face to face or video conference meetings will be setup accordingly. Regularly peer to peer code view will be used to ensure all programming codes match the coding standard. Because it is very difficult to get final product users to participate in the development process, the steering committee will act on behalf of end users and is the voice of customers. The steering committee will guide the development process and to ensure the final product is up to the requirements.

Sunday, 20 May 2012


What are we building?

The main outputs from the MARVLIS project will be:
  • A Library of software routines to compute products from underlying observations and model outputs, as standalone software and as a library integrated into MARVL 
  • Products developed will be tailored to support the management and assessment in the marine environment of a) public health (beach safety and shellfish toxicity) and b) ecosystem health (long-term environmental assessment and consequences of aquaculture management options. 
All software will be documented, and the following documentation will be provided:
  • Descriptions of routines
  • In-line documentation
  • A sample test case
Support? Training?

MARVLIS will have continuous involvement from the Environmental Protection Agency to fine tune products, with the ongoing support from IMOS / CSIRO to ensure that the software evolves and becomes more effective and fit for purpose.

Information about MARVLIS will be disseminated at events to aquaculture operators in the region; and we will be strongly pushing to promote MARVLIS at major conferences locally, nationally and internationally.

Re-use into the future?

Since the foundation of MARVLIS will be a software library built to enhance the MARVL software it will be supported well into at least 2014. The software will be built as a library using standards widely used in the marine and modelling space, so we also expect that the library would also be very transportable for other uses.

How are we going to involve the RDA discovery service?

As well as the software we will also be describing the data and processes in the RDA discovery service. This will also this information to be discoverable, including all the input datasets, the software process, and the derived output datasets.


How is MARVLIS going to be considered successful? & What will MARVLIS's customers be looking for? After some discussion with stake holders in the project, we have determined that the following point need considerable attention to ensure that project will be successful:

  • Customers will need to have the ability to use and download the data products in a user-friendly format. It will be important that the process of data synthesis and reporting are streamlined as much as possible to assist in the user friendliness.
  • Customers will need to ability to compare observational and modelled data with WQO's
  • Customers will expect the observational data to be enhanced with additional contour plots added for a higher resolution output in presentation.
  • Customers should be able to separate and individually select data sources.
  • Customers must be able to interpret any scenario tests, and be able to use then in management options / decision making, and based on the primary focus of the software the customers will expect software derived indicators to assist in monitor the estuary for public health and ecosystem health.

Because the product or software being developed will be designed to be transportable with MARVL it is also expected that it will be easily configured to work in new domains if and when MARVL is used in other estuaries around Australia.

We are also adding some local Derwent data sets as well as output derived data from MARVLIS to the RDA, so we expect that another successful outcome of this project will be that the data and data products will be easily discoverable.

Is it Better?

MARVLIS outcomes are not designed to replace any existing processes, but to enhance, or in some cases streamline what is a manual process. MARVLIS will be seen as an additional tool to better inform policy and decision makers.

Quality and precision?

Because of the nature of the MARVLIS software not all points will be easy to access for quality and precision. It is expected that there will have to be a period of time for the software to prove itself and historical data will have to show a strong trend with the derived data. A proven track record.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


If you have read my earlier post about the project, you would have understood that MARVLIS is a project primarily designed to enhance the MARVL project that has been funded through NeCTAR. The Primary outcomes from MARVLIS will be to:

  • generate a data collection for the Derwent publishable in the ANDS Data Commons (Note this is not a data mining exercise, the data are routinely used in environmental assessments, this is more about automatic collation and aggregation utilising MARVL infrastructure).
  • investigate two scenarios which are likely to arise in the management of aquaculture and environmental assessment. These scenarios consider aspects pertinent to both the aquaculture operations and environmental assessment, namely 1) public health, and 2) ecosystem health.
  • create a software library, compatible with MARVL, containing modules to generate data products of value to the scenarios.

So, aside from MARVLIS assisting MARVL by delivering a transportable library of 'functions', MARVLIS will be directly benefiting local business, organisations and community, who use and have a vested interest in the Derwent estuary.

Local shellfish and fish farmers will have access to current water quality and projects future trends, allowing them to be more productive and prepared for changes in the local eco-system. Local government and councils will also have access to additional information, allowing them to be more pro-active and informed, allowing them to better manage the Derwent estuary.

This new data provided by MARVLIS will help in the management of risks in regards to public health, and will lead to quicker closure and opening of farming and swimming beaches. It will also assist in building the local fishing industry through enhanced modelling and 'what-if' scenarios. Allowing new farms and infrastructure to be added for a sustainable future to the local Derwent eco-system.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


"So we know what the product is about, but who will be working on this project?"

Brendan Davey,
Project Manager

Brendan has worked in the IT space for 17 years, having experience in IT service delivery, IT administration and management as well as software development in both the private and public sector. Brendan is currently involved in delivering projects funded via ANDS and NeCTAR and is the software development manager for TPAC.

Scott Condie,
Lead Software Engineer (CSIRO)

Scott Condie leads a research group that specialises in ecosystem modelling and integrated marine management. His research interests include modelling physical-ecological interactions in marine and coastal environments and development of decision support tools. Scott has been extensively involved with the development of CONNIE2.

Mark Hepburn,
Software Engineer (CSIRO)

Mark is a generalist software engineer who has worked in the CSIRO for 5 years.  He has been involved in robust data delivery and processing frameworks, bioinformatics, model coupling, visualisation, and tool development.  Most recently he has developed a number of rich web applications for visualising complex scientific information in an intuitive and explorable manner.  He holds a Bachelor degree in Electronic Engineering and a PhD in Computer Science, both from the University of Tasmania.

Ming Fu,
Software Engineer (TPAC)

Ming Fu holds a Bachelor and Master degree in Computing, and has worked in web-based application development for over 5 years. He has developed more than 10 commercially deployed web applications with experience ranges through online gaming, financial services, human resource management, education and tourism. He has web development experience from both front-end and back-end using various web technologies. Technologies familiar with are Java, html, css, javascript, jpa, hibernate, jquery, struts2, spring, mysql, postgresql, ant, maven and tomcat.

Since 2010, he has been employed as a software engineer at the Australian Research Collaboration Service and Tasmanian Partnership for Advanced Computing, working on various web application projects in e-research area and has been involved in several ANDS funded projects. He has a strong interest in software development and is keen to provide software solutions in e-research area.

In his spare time, he enjoys learning new technologies and writing software for fun.