Norwich based geotechnical consultant AF Howland Associates, developer of the popular geotechnical database system Geodasy, has released a new version of the program for Windows.
It has been designed to maintain the simple to use approach of the former DOS system.
Its designer, Dr Al Howland, says: 'At the end of the day, Geodasy is a business tool aimed at improving productivity and output.
'A necessary feature of any package directed at business support is that it offers a simple yet effective means of achieving the purpose for which it is designed. Too many software packages overpower the user with options and features which are unnecessary for everyday use.'
This viewpoint explains why Howland has supported the continued use of a DOS operating system until now. 'DOS provided all the functionally necessary to do the job at a ratio of system speed to hardware requirement that could not be matched by a Windows equivalent.'
However, the increasing available power in office computers and the desire to include a networking capability for Geodasy meant the time was right for the transfer to Windows.
Being both geotechnical practitioners and software developer has been a distinct advantage throughout Geodasy's development, Howland believes. 'We know how the package is used and what features are necessary.' And if imitation is a form a flattery Howland should be pleased as many features developed for Geodasy have been copied by competitors.
According to Howland, Geodasy is equally suited to the differing needs of consultants, contractors and laboratories, and the ease with which data can be transferred between the three has been used to great advantage, not least for the extensive site investigation programme carried out in Docklands by the London Docklands Development Corporation and by WS Atkins for the second Severn crossing.
Howland believes this flexibility of use is even more evident in Geodasy for Windows. It is released in modular form, allowing users to take only those elements suited to their needs. A light version offers cable percussive and rotary borehole record, trial pit logs and records for dynamic probes together with an array of summary output sheets. The full system includes laboratory record sheets and further summary and statistical manipulation of the data.
Any module can import or export data from other versions of the system. It is also backwardly compatible so data generated by the DOS version will not be lost. This allows a practical and easy upgrade for existing users and ensures that the archiving and retrieval of historic data is maintained.
Like the DOS version, the Windows system meets British Standards recommendations - yet it can still be modified with output style and options of the former system to allow for individual company preferences.
In fact only the entry screens and system management features have been changed to take advantage of the Windows environment. This gives such benefits as point and click, cut and pasting, the extensive use of pop up menus for easier selection of multi-choice options , and on-line help. Despite its power, the system will run equally well as a standalone facility or across a network under Windows 98, Windows NT and Novell etc. For power users, client server facilities include record locking which will allow multi-user access but also ensure the integrity of the data is maintained.
AF Howland Associates is offering an upgrade route for existing users and has evaluation copies freely available to potential purchasers.