Nav Canada builds portal to simplify document management

TORONTO – Nav Canada, the non-profit provider of civil air traffic control services, has started work on a portal project aimed at helping auditors and regulators steer their way through the various versions of its financial documents.

At a seminar on portal development hosted by BEA Systems Canada on Tuesday, Nav Canada’s manager of Web services information management Jacques Delisle said the project will involve a collaboration server application to help it comply with Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) rules. The OSC not only requires that all documents be properly secured, Delisle explained, but that they check for version control.

“We have a lot to show in terms of financial data,” Delisle said. “This is going to  let all the developers and the auditors find data in one place, and in what version (they’re looking for).”

Nav Canada is using BEA’s AquaLogic portal development software, elements of which came through its acquisition last year of Plumtree Software. Delisle said Nav Canada started using Plumtree tools about four years ago when it realized a need to offer its customers, such as airports and airlines, secure access to internal applications and a means of sharing human resource information to its employees online. 

“(Our intranet) was a mess,” Delisle said. “I don’t know how many pages of it there were. I don’t remember, and I don’t want to.”

Nav Canada is still working on self-serve capabilities for personnel, but in the meantime it has already created a number of HR applications and systems to improve relationships with its customers. A tool called Airport Performance Monitor, for example, tracks aircraft ground activities and provides an overview of which planes are waiting on the tarmac, among other things. Traffic Density Manager, meanwhile, collects specific North Atlantic oceanic-related data such as flight plans, position reports, weather data and schedule changes. These are used to address international travel issues, Delisle said.

The organization has also created Demand Monitor, a reporting system that gives airport authorities and airport dispatchers a quick look ahead at the workloads they will face. Delisle said Nav Canada is primarily a Microsoft shop, and has deployed the BEA products on the SQL Server database and .Net platform running on HP hardware.

Although BEA is best known for its WebLogic middleware and related products aimed at custom Java portal development, the AquaLogic line is platform-independent. So far, the company has said it has no plans to bring the two product sets together, and in some customer environments sees the two co-existing.

Nenad Momcilovic, technical sales consultant, BEA Canada, said AquaLogic is based on production, application and portal infrastructure services that can connect existing content management systems to bring disparate Web-based systems into one portal interface. It’s an approach he said will more easily match the technology with the business requirements of the users and speed up time-to-market.

“We built the Lego blocks for you so you can just re-use what’s out there,” he said. “You don’t have to recreate the same environments over and over again.

Nav Canada also recently said it will expand its multiprotocol-label switching network to an additional 20 remote offices across Canada to increase bandwidth and improve file-sharing capabilities.


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