Local authorities and utilities are major users of local maps – they need to know where the cables and pipes are laid – and as a major supplier of computers to both, ICL has an interest in being able to provide electronic aids to facilitate retrieval and manipulation of maps. It has teamed up with Alper Systems Ltd of Cambridge, which has developed two Unix applications, Records and Scan, and is offering the systems on the Sun Microsystems workstations it now markets. Records is a system that enables an organisation to capture and maintain records of geographically dispersed assets in map form, and Scan is a map digitising program, created to fill the breach while the Ordnance Survey completes its 10-year programme to digitise the local maps of the entire UK. First customer announced for the new system is the South Wales Electricity Board, taking 17 Sun workstations on six Open Systems Local Area Networks in a contract worth UKP1m.
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