Sharing Spatial Data

Computer Aided Development Corporation Ltd (Cadcorp)

Cadcorp is a British software development company focused on geographic information systems (GIS) and web mapping software. From its headquarters in Stevenage, UK, Cadcorp is growing both its direct and indirect sales into the hydrographic market – particularly with port and harbour authorities.

Cadcorp was originally founded in 1989 to develop a CAD product. Cadcorp sold the product outright in 1994, and started the development of a family of Microsoft Windows-based GIS products. The first release of the Cadcorp Spatial Information System (Cadcorp SIS) was in 1995.
Mike O’Neil, CEO and founder of Cadcorp, recalls the early years. ”We were able to take our expertise in building CAD products and apply this to GIS. The underlying technologies are undoubtedly different, but we were able to transfer the attention to detail and the powerful geometric functionality that is mandatory for a CAD product into a family of GIS products.”

Current Profile

The Cadcorp website describes the company’s mission as being ‘to help organisations in the public and private sectors maximise their return on investment in geographic information by making it easier to share and distribute spatial data between people and between systems.’ To this end, the company has a track record of promotion, implementation and support for open standards in the GIS industry.

International and Global Scope, Current Situation 

Cadcorp targets five markets with its GIS and web mapping products. These are: government, emergency services, land and property, finance, and energy and infrastructure. In the UK, Cadcorp sells via its own direct sales team and through partners. Outside of the UK, sales are 

handled through Cadcorp’s international partner network.
In the UK, Cadcorp customers include local authorities, fire brigades, police services and many commercial organisations. In The Netherlands, over 180 municipalities rely on Cadcorp software for property registration. Through its Tokyo-based partner Informatix Inc., Cadcorp is a now major player in the Japanese market.

Cadcorp’s hydro business falls within ‘Energy and Infrastructure’ which is also home to utilities, engineering, transport, logistics and renewables.
“What these diverse industries have in common”, notes Mike O’Neil, “is a focus on the design, planning and management of infrastructure. They all need to use CAD and GIS software interchangeably. We try to make sure that our GIS and web mapping software can exchange data easily with CAD systems.”

Within the hydrographic sector, Cadcorp is particularly strong in port and harbour management. The Port of London Authority (PLA) acquired its first desktop Cadcorp system in 1995, as a digital mapping product to produce paper-based maps and charts. Cadcorp software is still being used to help PLA meet its legal requirement to keep its maps and charts up to date and to share current information with its customers, but today this is achieved through a combination of desktop and web mapping products.

View on the Future

Cadcorp remains a specialist developer of GIS and web mapping software, and has no plans to deviate from its mission to facilitate greater sharing of spatial data. Mike O’Neil notes “We expect our marine and coastal environments to serve us in many ways: as sources of energy, minerals and food; as transportation networks; and as tourist destinations. Even without climate change, the need for cooperation is clear. That’s why we see a continued demand for information systems such as Cadcorp SIS: systems which can promote the sharing of data, information and knowledge.”
Cadcorp continues to develop and enhance its GIS and web mapping products, and earlier this summer unveiled its latest release – Cadcorp SIS 8.0. The new release includes a new free-to-use desktop GIS product - Map Express, multiple performance improvements and both new and enhanced core functionality.

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