The categories won through an open tender process are Scanning Seismic Sections, Scanning Well Logs, and the digital conversion of PDF and Paper Logs to LAS format.
Sounds like a bit of a mouthful?
Thankfully, Dr. Unni Karumathil from the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade has dusted off his geological glossary to help make sense of it all.
4.543 billion years in the making
Plus or minus about 50 million years, the earth has been holding us up for a while now. As Dr Unni – who is leading the petroleum data management team in the Top End attests – “It has been a long time coming as this data has been around for such a long time”. He refers, of course, to the backlog of physical research materials in storage – most of which is paper.
Now, the sum of all geological findings in the Top End is in the process of being made available – publicly and for the very first time – through a single portal, thanks to a ground-breaking collaboration with the Northern Territory government.
The accessibility of such data is pay dirt for exploration companies in the area, who work with the government and local communities to prospect for oil and gas, opening the way for valuable mining initiatives and creating jobs.
“We are digitising all our hard copy data from petroleum exploration, which is done mostly through seismic surveys that help us identify oil and gas deposits or accumulations”, say Karumathil.
For a government department with a vast amount of irreplaceable legacy data dating back as far as the 1960’s, this initiative is innovative both for the Northern Territory Geological Survey (NTGS) – which forms part of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (DITT) – and for Dr Unni himself.
There is also a proportion of the geological log collection that is equally ‘trapped’ in PDF files. These files need data capture alongside the paper, to produce usable information for import into the software.
“This project is ground-breaking for me, too. I’m proud that I’ve been able to finally facilitate digitisation. It is certainly a personal goal for me”, says the Petroleum Data Manager.
Data capture service is just the beginning
Data collection and storage technology have changed dramatically over the last 60 years.
Some prospecting companies only used paper formats while older data was either in inaccessible formats, on old media requiring specialised hardware and knowledge to run, or at risk of deterioration through aging. Needless to say, some common ground was required.
As Dr Unni explains, “Prospective zones are identified through a method called logging – with various instruments lowered into wells as deep as 2000 metres, 3000 metres, and maybe even 5000 metres. The readings are plotted on paper as a graph or curve, called log curves. It is this exploration data that we are working with Avantix to transcribe from obsolete storage media to modern usable media.”
Down to earth data capture
Seismic and well log data in paper and sepia formats are kept in NTGS’ Darwin City office and in a temperature controlled archive storage room at NTGS Core Library in Darwin.
With approximately 15,000 kilometres of seismic data and around 2.5 million feet of geological log curves amounting to over 30,000 metres of paper and sepia sections, Australia’s leading Information Processing provider, Avantix was up for the challenge.
Says Dr Unni, “The digitisation of seismic data is called vectorisation. We selected Avantix for digitisation of well data as they came highly recommended in this field. Avantix have consultants and people with experience and expertise in geological data, so we feel confident in their ability to deliver a quality result.”
But what about holes in the data? “There are areas where the data is lacking or missing,”, Dr Unni admits. “We are now able to provide that digital data and incorporate it into platforms for exploration companies to make better decisions”.
Indeed, legacy or historical data, converted into new digital formats allows companies to compare their own results to existing data, leading to meaningful conclusions about where to explore for in particular areas.
Dr Karumathil asserts, “We are the custodians of our data. We supply data to our companies, individuals, researchers, universities, free of charge. It is free because we want more exploration to happen.”
Future proofing data capture
For the NTGS much like many other forward-thinking institutions, the plan is to eventually move away from paper data to create a more leaner office space – “Maybe by 2030”, alludes Dr Unni.
The only thing standing in the way is archaic media like paper records. And the hot and humid weather of Darwin. “If we get rid of all that old media, we’ll be saving money as well. Once we have this digital data, we’ll be confident we can back it up properly and preserve this valuable information”, informs Dr Karumathil.
Dr Karumathil’s office also receives rock core samples which are passed through a scanner that measures the reflectance of the mineralogy. Digitising this data will allow the core samples to be returned to the earth eventually – which means the process recycling is not just confined to old paper data.
Digitisation services Australia wide
To date, Avantix are progressed in the digitisation process, which means NTGS are well on their way to making the data more accessible for exploration. “That is the activity we are looking for”, exclaims Dr Unni. “To get the digital data and get it on portals so the public can access it for free on the internet. Previously, we only had access to paper or PDF image files for our data”.
Avantix CEO Duncan Lord adds, “Of ultimate importance is the goal of meeting customer needs regardless of the systems they use. As leaders in scanning, data capture and integration solutions, we promise fast, accurate and cost effective paper to data digitisation services.”
When the dust settles, it’s all about customer satisfaction. “Avantix have been very good. They have been responsive and responsible people. They do the job to our satisfaction and their work is excellent. Everything is going ahead as planned and we are looking forward to more work in the future”, concludes Dr Unni.
Avantix supports the Northern Territory Government in its exploration initiatives.
One of the traditional five senses, sound sits in the centre of the sensory experience, helping with equilibrium, balance and focus.
It’s a tiny space occupied by the tiniest of bones in the human body – much like the Ears To You audiology van – driven by Steve and Robyn Reinhardt of St Ives, Sydney.
And when they return to their tiny home office after a hard day’s hearing testing and just can’t focus, well, maybe it’s because something is causing a blockage. Much like a wax build-up in the ear canal.
Death by a thousand papercuts
For Robyn, that pesky oily cerumen was a stack of hardcopy paper files.
“I was just drowning in paperwork and couldn’t find a lot of my documents”, admits the Ears To You office manager. In fact, research shows that nearly 75% of time spent working with paper documents is wasted in searching and filing (Coopers & Lybrand).
“I just wanted to upload everything to my Google Drive, and then access it remotely, whenever I need it. It’s quite an important part of the process”, said Robyn. That process, she explains, is what lead Ears To You to digital records management specialists, Avantix.
It’s like Uber Ears
In a competitive market fuelled by an increasing need to meet customer expectations, Steve and Robyn innovated by removing the need for patients to travel for a consultation.
As an Australian owned and based mobile audiological provider, Ears To You visits homes and workplaces across Sydney, providing audiology services, hearing aids and ear protection. But mobility has its challenges – like having access to important business documents any time of the day, at any location – and therefore becomes a vital business life line.
“We offer advice by a qualified hearing professional at a location that is convenient for you”, says Robyn who, when looking for a document scanning service liked the Google reviews of Avantix and the fact that the costings were very competitive.
“The tipping point was when they gave me the quote”, she laughed. “We’re a very small business so we’ve got to be somewhat conservative on spending.” Also, having spoken to Jim Cohen from Avantix on the phone, seemed to have a profound effect.
“He sounded so lovely, so I had a really good feeling about it.”
Avantix is Australia’s leading information processing provider
Indeed, document scanning wherever it may be – Sydney or the CIA – is often shrouded in mystery. But Robyn maintains, “it was a no fuss process: send us your stuff, we’ll scan it, we’ll send back whatever originals you need, and then we’ll securely destroy the rest.”
Sounds easy enough. But is it safe? Guaranteed? 100%?
Robyn continues, “Everything needs to be confidential so I wanted to go with a company that seemed to understand that and would securely destroy everything uploaded and securely done, so that was the big thing”.
Ears To You approached Avantix to convert all their business documents into a digital format over a series of engagements. This gave the husband-and-wife team freedom to concentrate on the important aspects of the business in the full knowledge that their precious data would be right at their fingertips.
“Between the two of us, it just became a bit overwhelming to manage the digitisation side as well. During Covid-19, I was home-schooling my kids, so scanning was one more thing I just didn’t want to do”, Robyn recalled. “I wasn’t coping”.
Robyn says it was important to expand the digital expertise of Ears To You to remain competitive and to deliver the kind of solutions that has made the business so successful.
“Steve runs three different clinics. Between study, work, kids, we need to outsource some of the back end stuff we can’t manage ourselves, and it’s nice to find a good company that can support you to do that”.
Avantix empowers businesses to realise the benefits of digital information
Medical record scanning aside, Robyn’s motivation for digitisation came from an unlikely voice.
“We can do our bit for the environment by moving to a paperless office as much as possible. It is a goal and we’re hopeful to get there but I think we also need to be somewhat practical in the sense that, in order for us to go completely paperless we need to rely on our suppliers and our patients to also be able to be paperless”, whispered Robyn.
Legendary voice-overs aside, Robyn has quickly realised the benefits of another type of conservation: time.
“The amount of time I need to dedicate to documentation is like, one-quarter, based on what it was beforehand. I would say Avantix has been critical in freeing up my time to do things that are more effective for the business. I could be doing other stuff that’s more revenue raising than scanning things, which just chews up so much time”.
Avantix CEO Duncan Lord reiterates, “Our focus is to seamlessly integrate with your existing or planned business processes, without disrupting the way you work. So, transform your paper-based documents into readily accessible electronic images and data today, with Avantix’s document scanning service.”
Avantix specialises in converting traditional paper-based documentation into digital files and is a champion of Ears To You (and David Attenborough) and their journey towards full digitalisation.
Does a fully integrated Sign On Glass program mean the complete absence of paper?
“Not in the immediate future,” is the verdict of CSR’s Manager Transactional Accounting Services, John Denyer. “In 10 years time, we might have migrated fully, but it will be a long time before we are truly paperless.”
For CSR, the ASX-listed building materials company incorporating brands like Gyprock, Monier and Bradford, developing a Sign On Glass program is the next step in the success of their CSR Connect portal. This cloud portal is an SAP-driven set of tools builders use for orders, invoice tracking and payments, that is equally useable on a computer, phone or tablet.
“CSR aims to drive innovation by providing customers with state of the art online solutions,” says Denyer, of their Sign On Glass (SOG) project that will see end-to-end online service delivery, including real-time delivery tracking.
This is forward thinking for one of Australia’s oldest manufacturing companies working within an industry not traditionally known for its embrace of technology. “It’s not that the industry is not change oriented,” says Denyer. “It’s just that recent demand has been so high that there hasn’t been as strong a need to look beyond the status quo.”
CSR’s forward thinking includes understanding that even the latest technology will not fully replace the need for an occasional piece of paper.
It’s recognition that these processes are not an instant switch,” says Denyer. There will be circumstances when we need to print a piece of paper. Certain key customers still demand a scanned image of the traditional paper signed version as the trusted proof to a sign on glass delivery”
This dual paper and digital work environment is where the services of Avantix come into play. CSR relies on Avantix, one of Australia’s leading digital information process providers, to capture data from paper-based documents and ready it for seamless integration into the automated systems.
“The strategy is a blended SOG and paper digital solution for a single point of reference throughout all depots for each of our business units.” says Denyer. “SOG will be our primary system and we are striving towards a 100% uptake” Avantix is working with CSR to ensure their SOG goal is reached. The aim is for both electronic and paper proof to be equally accessible in SAP, regardless of how they originated.
“Putting a Proof Of Delivery (POD) document scanning solution in place is a vital step towards moving to Sign On Glass,” says Duncan Lord, Avantix CEO. “Without this robust solution in place beforehand, the transition would have been vastly more challenging and costly.”
“Internal processes are streamlined so that management, credit department and dispatch staff can access one system for all their needs. It will enable us to realise all the benefits of a digital system while the SOG solution is tested, perfected and incrementally rolled out across the organisation.” says Denyer
Avantix has supported CSR through the entire transition, from the days of dot-matrix printers to Sign On Glass. “Avantix work towards our strategic direction and, in the eight years we’ve been working together, they have been onside with whatever we’ve done,” says Denyer.
Of ultimate importance, is the goal of meeting customer needs regardless of the systems they choose to use. Says Denyer: “Avantix enables us to give full coverage for all our customers straight away.”
Avantix would like to celebrate CSR’s move to Sign On Glass.