Software tools to access science

Scion's software engineering team can now refocus on developing software to support internal research projects

Scion's software engineering team can now refocus on developing software to support internal research projects.

The sale of Scion’s commercial software brand, ATLAS Technology, to local company Integral Limited will allow our software engineering team to refocus on what they do best – finding innovative ways to deliver science to industry through software. Integral Ltd assumes ownership of ATLAS Technology from 1 January 2014.

As Chief Executive Dr Warren Parker explains, the time was right for a new owner to lead the vision and direction of the ATLAS brand.

“We looked for the right company to expand and grow functionality and usability of the ATLAS products while being committed to the New Zealand forest industry. The sale will increase our capacity, through Integral, to provide high quality innovative decision support tools to increase forest productivity, health and profit.”

The software engineering arm of Scion goes back nearly 30 years. It stemmed from an industry need for comprehensive forest management and analysis tools at a time when no such technology existed. A group of dedicated people at Scion (or what was then, the Forest Research Institute) pooled their expertise to build a suite of products to meet that need.

One such tool was GeoMaster which was released in 1992 and still remains a leading industry standard forest estate management and land information system. Today, GeoMaster is utilised by about 60 per cent of the country’s commercial forest companies. Since its release, the team has continued to produce and maintain a suite of forest management, harvesting, quality assurance, inventory information and yield analysis software.

ATLAS Technology was formally established by Scion in 2002 to accelerate further development and to make the expanding suite of forest management software commercially available to industry. GeoMaster, along with the majority of ATLAS products will now be taken care of by Integral, however Scion will retain ownership of its cable harvest planning software and FFR Forecaster, which was produced in partnership with Future Forests Research.

The sale of ATLAS means Scion’s software engineering division, part of the Forest Industry Informatics team, is now able to re-focus on its roots - building solutions to support internal research projects, as well as the technology transfer of science through software to industry.

“Commercial software requires considerable support and ongoing reinvestment to maintain its operational acuity,” says Research Leader Bryan Graham. “Integral is the right company to move GeoMaster and the other systems forward and to take good care of our clients. They are committed to New Zealand forestry.

“Our team can now focus on developing software to support internal research projects, for example, decision-making software, stand metrics and performance platforms, and mobile platforms for devices such as smartphones and tablets.

“We are looking at innovative ways to put the latest science at the fingertips of our users.

“The sale of ATLAS frees the team up to be more creative and positions us as a neutral entity to work with commercial companies to get the software out to a wider audience.”

Integral Limited

Integral is a long serving provider of software and solutions to the forest industry. Established in 1991 specifically to service the timber and forest industries, Integral provides services for major forestry companies including Carter Holt Harvey, PF Olsen, Timberlands Limited and many other large and small organisations.

Integral Ltd is New Zealand owned and is located in the Te Tipu Innovation Park adjacent to Scion.