Building Limits

I just spent the weekend building a deck.  As far as decks go it isn’t all that much – a simple “ground level” 10’ x 24’ deck on some concrete deck pier blocks.

Deck Foundation Block

Click for larger image

The foundation isn’t all that much – just those concrete blocks sitting on the ground, but then the deck is for a summer cabin that’s only going to be used on random weekends, so I don’t expect a whole lot of performance from it.  But, as I was building the deck I did think about how foundations really do define the limits to what you can do.


Consider a residential building vs. a commercial building.
A residential building can be a detached house, or a duplex (or fourplex) or an apartment block.  In Calgary, if that apartment block is less than 5 floors it can be wood framed, but if it’s over that you are moving into something that falls into the same requirements as a commercial building.  Now, it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyways) that if you start with a foundation suitable for a house that foundation will not be made to support an apartment building, never mind an office tower or a warehouse, because it was never designed for that task.  By the same token, a foundation for a “big box” retail outlet will not be appropriate for a duplex or a summer cabin at the lake.  And when you know what is expected of your building, then you can ensure that you design the proper foundation for that building.
The fact of the matter is that in building anything, you need to have a clear idea of what the item you are building will be required to do before you begin planning how you are going to construct it.  And this brings us to geoSCOUT.


The first release of geoSCOUT was in late 1993, but the initial concept designs were first sketched out in the mid ‘80’s with the then brand new Macintosh as the expected platform.  As the PC platform became the defacto business standard, and MS-DOS and Windows became the defacto PC operating system standards, our foundation was modified to reflect the prevailing (and potential) standards.  What this meant was that, on release, geoSCOUT was a fully Microsoft Windows-based application suite.  It also meant that as Microsoft continued to evolve Windows, geoSCOUT was able to keep up, so when Windows became able to support long filenames, geoSCOUT was in a position to do the same immediately.  When new printers became available with Windows drivers, geoSCOUT was able to use them as soon as they were installed at a client site.
Since geoLOGIC had made the commitment to Microsoft Windows, we went all in.  To accommodate the sophisticated mapping functions that geoSCOUT is well known for, we knew that the requirement would be for high performance code.  geoSCOUT was developed initially in Microsoft Visual C 6, and over time upgraded through several versions of c and c++ to today’s Visual Studio 2010 c++ environment.
Since we were already using the Microsoft toolset it only made sense that geoLOGIC sign up with Microsoft’s Partner Program, and over time we were able to attain Gold Certification as an ISV (Independent Software Vendor), a status that we have held for over 4 years.


It’s like I said at the beginning of this post.  If you intend to build a commercial property, you need a strong foundation that will support that development.  With geoSCOUT, the product has evolved – A LOT – over the past 18 years, but the original foundation is still there and it is still strong enough to support the commercial development that our user community expects (demands?) of us.  We still release 3 versions per year.  And each of the versions contains a mix of around 300 new features, enhancements, and fixes.  Of course, our user community submits about 3000 feature requests per year, so we have no shortage of things to develop 🙂  But we have a strong foundation to work from.

About Sean Udell

Sean does not like to write about himself in the 3rd-person. He’s been with geoLOGIC longer than almost everyone else in the company, and some of the new hires weren’t even a gleam in their parent’s eyes when he started.
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