The End of the TRaCK?

In September 2010, I started a software development contract with the Australian Rivers Institute. That first contract, being an integration sub-project of the TRaCK program, is well and truly finished from my end, except for an outstanding journal manuscript. Part of the reviewer feedback quite rightly argued that the submission would have been much stronger with supporting publications that currently haven’t been submitted.

I’ve been naval gazing over whether to keep pushing for a publication of the manuscript or to let it slide. I realised at the end of the PhD that I’m just not that driven to step onto the ‘publish or perish‘ treadmill. That our key users ended up getting value out of the software we built scratches my professional itch sufficiently. Still, the manuscript is written, and It would be nice to have something in a journal to do the research and modelling we conducted on the Daly River in the Northern Territory some justice.

The MSE Data Viewer showing the Daly River

The MSE Data Viewer showing the Daly River

This morning I got feedback from my old boss on the state of the other unpublished papers. It’ll be a while yet, as he’s currently still recovering from the project by sailing around the world. I’m pleased for him and and glad he’s taking all the time he needs to get over the last few months of the project, where he was devoting every waking moment to it.

So, now I’m left in a zone where I’d like to at least wrap things up, and a leave a Web-based paper-trail for anyone interested in my own contribution to TRaCK and the Management Strategy Evaluation software (MSE for short) in particular.

Rich Graphing via the MSE

Rich Graphing via the MSE

Firstly, I had an interview on my role in TRaCK about mid-way through the project to describe the MSE to other researchers within the institute. Jon the interverwier and I spent quite some time ironing out technical jargon from two very different fields of expertise. For any software engineers reading the interview, be warned that I eventually called good enough knowing that it still sounded a little odd, but that the primary audience wouldn’t appreciate any further corrections to appease my pedantry.

The Layered Architecture of the MSE

The Layered Architecture of the MSE

Secondly, here is a thorough final report detailing the MSE software and how it was used in the Daly River catchment in the Northern Territory. It was produced for a target audience of researchers and natural resource managers. As proof that I’m capable of more than just developing software, chapters 2, 3 and Appendix A are my contributions to the report.

Finally, the boss wanted me to cook up an ‘under the hood’ document, describing the software in sufficient detail that a software developer could read the report, pick up the software source, and begin again as quickly as possible. For those wondering what kind of document I’d write on the architecture and design of software when given free reign, this is it.

So there you have it. A few artefacts I can point to after the completion of the project to establish some street-cred with respect to my time on the TRaCK project and the MSE application.


2 responses to “The End of the TRaCK?

  1. Nice technical document. So far into my career, and I’ve managed to avoid having to write technical documents on a routine basis.

    Delete this comment when corrected. Page 7 of the technical document, at the start of the “Where Possible” paragraph. Minor spelling mistake.


  2. Thanks for that Reubs! Much appreciated.


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