Interview with Richard Oates, Director of Spatial Days
IPP CommonSensing is an innovative international project based on a partnership between Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and a consortium of international partners, working together to support and build climate resilience and enhance decision making through the use of satellite remote sensing technology.
Spatial Days Ltd is a project partner on CommonSensing and has provided solution architecture design and documentation, day-to-day technical management using Agile SCRUM, ongoing technical input, geographic information system (GIS) consultancy, support services, training and research & development as needed. Spatial Days is a vendor-neutral GIS company providing remote sensing consultancy and services to both private and public sector clients in the UK and internationally.
Interview with Richard Oates
Richard Oates is a director at Spatial Days Ltd and acting as the technical architect, is an integral part of the CommonSensing Project design team. Richard is the Solution Architect and Technical Manager for the CommonSensing Project. He provides solution architecture input and day-to-day technical management using Agile SCRUM as well as providing technical input, consultancy and support services as needed.
The CommonSensing Project has illustrated that the “Oceania Islands are not separated by oceans but joined by them”. What technical aspect of your work has been the most insightful when bringing together these island groups?
Without question, the willingness of these island states to work together and share resources has been the most impressive. A fantastic example of this was learning and working with the University of the South Pacific’s virtual campus sites. Situated in various island states, the steps these sites have taken to provide resilient internet connectivity to enable learning to continue, in spite of distance and disasters, is truly remarkable.
In your opinion and given the resources, what is the next natural technical development to happen when the CommonSensing Project is ultimately concluded?
In my opinion, the next logical development would be to ensure that the trained in-country partners remain active using the tools and data we have provided as part of their day-to-day processes. This development would include creating and managing their own data, developing their own apps and generally keeping up with technical developments in the GIS/remote sensing arena.
Given the remote locations and risks to infrastructure associated with ongoing disasters, the technical requirements to maintain and protect the dissemination and interpretation of data received, as accurately and quickly as possible, will also have much significance.
The CommonSensing Project is a wonderful example of how collaboration using satellite technology, can connect, build climate resilience and enhance decision making for remote international communities. What are you most proud of about this project?
Given the impact that the pandemic made during this project, I am most proud of the team. With our inability to travel to meet the users face-to-face or test new ideas, I remain extremely proud of the team’s achievements through all this adversity and the team’s ability to remain focused on ensuring that all channels remain open, and as seamlessly as possible. It has not been without huge sacrifice and commitment, but we have worked tirelessly with in-country representatives and had to create templates and new testing methodologies to reach out to our end-users or to host workshops. Our team had to constantly adapt and find new ways to solve problems. Internally also, the team’s own ability to keep working remotely as a user-centred team throughout the Covid pandemic, and our resilience to all these unique challenges.