Space-Time Research Pty Ltd of Melbourne, Australia has produced software which makes large numerical databases on compact disk available to Personal Computer users. The system cuts down on the time and cost normally involved in accessing data from mainframes by using the company’s Supermap software, which is designed to allow an unskilled user easy retrieval of information. Space-Time claims to lead the world in the development and commercialisation of Compact Disk-Read Only Memory. Its first experimental product comprises a disk carrying the 1981 Australian census and, using the Supermap software, information can be manipulated and displayed graphically. A first batch of 200 disks have been pressed, and 25 have been sold. Takers include Coles Myer, the large Australian department store chain, local governments and secondary schools. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd, the Cambridge-based information publisher, is to market the package – including the compact disk which stores 540Mb, five floppy disks and manual costing $Aus1,500 – for Space-Time outside Australasia. Space-Time hopes to encourage others to take up the development of CD-ROM applications and intend to work with Chadwyck-Healey on putting new databases onto compact disk. By October of this year the 1980 US census will be available and in February 1987 the 1986 Australian census will be on sale. Over the next two to three years it expects to sell between 5,000 and 10,000 1986 census packages in Australia. Founded in 1973, Chadwyck-Healey has a lot of experience in selling products abroad and won the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1987.
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