Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Database Firm's Work to Probe Whale Beachings

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Database Firm's Work to Probe Whale Beachings

Article excerpt


ANEWCASTLE company is playing a leading role into an investigation into a spate of whale strandings around the UK.

Data Architects, which is based in Hoults Yard, has been enlisted by the Zoological Society of London and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to create a database collating information about whales and other mammals that have become stranded around the UK coastline.

The firm - who are experts in bespoke software and web applications often involving complex databases - said the work has been fascinating, and that strandings are more common than many people realise.

The UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) is paid for by Defra and the Welsh and Scottish governments and documents every stranding - information that would include the five sperm whales found washed up near Skegness in January and the sperm whale found on Hunstanton beach in Norfolk in February.

Information collected provides insight into diseases, health status and threats to whales, dolphins, turtles and other sea creatures.

Data Architects' director Paul Fletcher explained: "The long-term and detailed monitoring programme charts trends in diseases and also enables the ongoing assessment of particular threats.

"It's been a fascinating project for us to work on - they needed a complex database with multiple points of entry, but which was easy to interrogate and extract information from.

"The strandings or beachings are more common than you realise, and the information collated can look at why - or if - they're happening more frequently."

Data Architects was established in 2007 and recently moved to Hoults Yard in Ouseburn, where the company is now expanding. …

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