Icon develops bespoke software for sophisticated processing and analysis of meteorological, oceanographic, and geospatial data. We employ rigorous software engineering practices, whilst exploiting our efficiency to deliver quickly and to readily adapt to changing client requirements.
One of our strengths is bridging the gap between academic research and user-friendly commercial implementation. We have experience in all current programming languages, in each case selecting the best tool to meet the needs of the project, for example integration with other systems or cross-platform compatibility.
Icon is based at the University of Nottingham’s Innovation Park (UNIP). As well as offering regular networking events between small businesses, UNIP also provides the possibility of collaboration with leading graduates and academics.
Ben founded Icon in 2009, after graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford with a first class Master of Computer Science degree. Ben received the university prize for the highest result in his year.
Ben has over 12 years' experience as a software consultant, having worked part time during his studies. He takes great pride in developing software that distinctly raises the bar in terms of performance, quality and ease-of-use.
Ben lives with his wife, Jess, in rural Leicestershire where they keep chickens. He enjoys skiing, climbing, scuba diving and flying. He was awarded his PPL in 2015.
Phil graduated from New College, Oxford with a first class degree in Physics. He received the university prize for his final year essay and placed ninth in his year overall. Phil spent six months software testing at BP, before joining Icon in 2012.
At Icon, Phil has taken a leading role in developing new software and web applications, as well as supporting existing products.
Phil lives in Nottingham, and enjoys off-road running, climbing, cycling, and watersports. Phil is a PADI qualified Divemaster.
If you would like to find out more about the work we do then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
|Icon Software Limited
Sir Colin Campbell Building
University of Nottingham Innovation Park
NG7 2TUPhone:+44(0)1163 800 370
Icon's blue200 web site distributes real-time data from over 10,000 weather stations globally. The revolutionary historical database spans over 13 years and occupies more than 300 gigabytes of storage.
Users may browse the world map to customise their own list of favourite stations, which are saved and tabulated for rapid comparison. Historical data for any parameter may also be charted and downloaded.
Blue200 is hosted on the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform. The code is written in PHP, employing a combination of SQL Azure and Table Storage to minimise costs, whilst retaining instant access to the vast bank of historical data. HTML5 is used to enhance the look and functionality when viewed using a compatible web browser.
Icon's flagship product, IconData, is used to acquire, process, display and record meteorological and oceanographic data from over 75 sites, approximately 60 of which are in the North Sea. Input channels range from visibility measured every minute, wave height measured 4 times per second to high-frequency vessel motion measured 32 times per second.
The software uses modern PC technology to provide intuitive graphical displays and efficient real-time processing of large quantities of 'raw' data. Each IconData deployment consists of a fully configurable set of modules structured around the core, which handles the rapid and reliable transfer of data between modules. This way, systems are assembled to match each client's exact requirements.
IconData is largely implemented in Java, enabling the use of real-time displays on a full range of devices. We provide an easy-to-implement interface for developing extension modules, requiring minimal 'boilerplate' code.
Within the oil and gas industry, IconData is branded as NIMOS and is licensed exclusively through RigNet. We are actively exploring applications for the software in other markets.
In order to optimise both industrial efficiency and economy, the use of robotic vehicles to carry out tasks, such as moving stock within factories, is becoming more commonplace. These robots require accurate knowledge of their position to navigate safely and effectively in these environments.
Icon have developed software for Guidance Navigation to support the deployment of their intelligent navigation systems. This software provides a platform for the design of optimal reflector layouts within sructures, and offers features such as the importing of CAD building layouts, automatic reflector positioning, and heat-map style visual indication of signal strength.
Icon built and maintains the web-based Meteorological Observer Refresher Course, which is offered by StormGeo through a variety of training centres. This course delivers a refresher qualification, which is a regulatory requirement for individuals providing weather information to pilots in the North Sea oil and gas industry.
The course consists of two elements:
The course is completed either within a training centre building, or remotely through the internet. It was designed to be intuitive for candidates who are not necessarily regular computer users. Navigation between questions and reading material is very straightforward and candidates have access to instructions on the user interface at any stage.
A powerful administration application allows independent training centres to manage their own candidates. Tests are scored automatically. After verification by StormGeo, certificates are generated on the server and sent via email.
The system is implemented in PHP, backed by a PostgreSQL database, and running on the Amazon EC2 cloud platform.
We are actively exploring other markets for online training applications.
Under contract through Muir Matheson, Icon developed and maintains Agip's Caspian WebMET web application. This combines a database and web site to distribute real-time and historical weather data from numerous locations in and around the northeast Caspian Sea.
The software tightly integrates a number of data views:
The web site also includes a fully integrated station database with sensor information and task logging. All features are fully configurable by Agip and the authentication system allows fine-grained control of user permissions. Caspian WebMET is used on a daily basis for weather forecasting and operational decision making. It may be viewed in either English or Russian languages.
The software is implemented in PHP, backed by a PostgreSQL database, and running on the Amazon EC2 cloud platform. In the backend this project involved development of configurable interfaces for receipt of data from a range of processing systems. One particular challenge was to ensure that the web site performed well despite high-latency internet connections in Kazakhstan. This was achieved by both careful control of caching, and the implementation of a novel feature fallback mechanism, automatically switching off certain interactive features when a high latency connection is detected.
Icon developed and maintains MET-REACH, a service offered by RigNet to their clients in the North Sea. MET-REACH receives real-time data from offshore weather stations. This is presented to authorized users in a variety of formats via a web site. In addition, historical data is retained for charting and downloading.
Most parameters are recorded once per minute whilst wind and wave data are recorded several times per second. In addition to the web portal, MET-REACH includes various components for transmitting data to third parties including FTP and email interfaces.
MET-REACH is implemented in PHP, backed by a PostgreSQL database, and running on multiple Nessco Group servers. To ensure the service remains available in the event of hardware failure, Icon designed a novel multi-master database replication mechanism for PostgreSQL. Any server may handle any request and, should one server fail, the others will take over automatically. Furthermore, any server will recover automatically as soon as it has been repaired.
OceanQC is an application for quality control of meteorological and oceanographic data. Users are able to define their own automatic quality control checks to highlight dubious measurements. Based on these, as well as a variety of chart types for visual inspection, bad data can be selected and removed.
A number of advanced features improve the speed and accuracy of the quality control process:
OceanQC is part of the OceanSuite toolbox, which Icon developed and maintains exclusively for PhysE Limited. The software is implemented in C# and embeds Python as a scripting language for users to specify their own quality control checks.
Expanding out into new fields - Icon has developed a business intelligence display platform, which can integrate seamlessly with a central ERP database, and provides a simple, user-friendly, and easily extensible tool for the display of buisness information data and key performance indicators.
This solution allows users to drill down from high level charts, right through to individual data records (orders, parts, etc), with just a few clicks of the mouse - thus providing the perfect tool for quickly accessing the data of interest, on the fly.
We were contracted to develop a package to assess the quality and timeliness of meteorological forecasts distributed electronically.
The software runs continuously, receiving new forecasts via email and from the web as soon as they are available. Subsequently, when actual observations are made, these are automatically compared with the values that were forecast. A variety of statistics are generated to describe the quality of each forecast as well as the timeliness of delivery. These are presented in monthly reports.
Helimet was conceived to improve the safety of helicopter operations serving the North Sea oil and gas industry. Its purpose is to standardise the format in which weather data is presented to pilots, and has been adopted by the major North Sea helicopter operators. Icon developed and maintains the software, which is hosted by RigNet under contract to Oil & Gas UK.
Real-time observations are uploaded every minute from more than 100 weather stations throughout the region. Data is displayed in a variety of formats including interactive maps, tables, single-site mimics and real-time charts. Where a parameter is not available at a site for any reason, it is drawn automatically from a nearby site as specified in CAA regulations.
Permitted offshore weather observers use this data to pre-populate a weather report form. They are able to modify the values if necessary prior to saving the report form to the Helimet database. The report may be retrieved via the web site, and may be printed or emailed as a PDF for distribution to pilots.
Helimet is implemented in PHP, backed by a PostgreSQL database, and running on multiple RigNet servers. It uses the multi-master database replication mechanism developed for MET-REACH to ensure consistent availability in case of hardware failure.
Icon has developed an Ice Analysis package for Shell, which allows users to carry out in-depth analysis of historical ice data, and displays the results in various graphical formats.
For example the output could be freeze-up/break-up plots over a desired period, ice season duration plot, or ice numerals which indicate how difficult it is for a vessel to move through the ice.
Alternatively, the software can be used to examine specific areas over chosen timeframes. This analysis can be used to display on a map: ice concentration and thickness, ice probability, and ice numerals.
OceanOps is an operation planning application, which uses historical data to predict the weather-related delays that can be expected during proposed operations. Complex multi-step processes may be defined, with different meteorological constraints for each stage, and different actions on failure.
Results are given probabilistically, enabling analysts to quote such results as 'there is a 90% chance that the operation will take less then X hours'. The rigorous simulation engine sits behind a straightforward GUI. Familiar concepts, such as Gantt charts, enable the user to retain an operational mindset whilst working with the software.
OceanOps is part of the OceanSuite toolbox, which Icon developed and maintains exclusively for PhysE Limited. It is used frequently with PhysE, and has been licensed to several major oil companies.
The software is implemented in Visual Basic 6.
OceanStats is the heart of the OceanSuite package, which Icon developed and maintains exclusively for PhysE Limited. It is used on a daily basis for PhysE's consultancy services and has also been sold to major oil industry clients.
The software provides advanced statistical analysis and charting of meteorological and oceanographic data. We frequently update the code to integrate the latest research in metocean data analysis.
One distinguishing feature of the OceanStats is its user-friendliness, allowing sophisticated analyses by users who are neither specialist statisticians nor computer programmers. Projects are built as a tree structure, enabling analysis steps to be combined in sequence. Batch mode processing is used to repeat the same steps on a large number of input data files, saving results and charts into convenient formats.
In 2010 and 2011, under contract to Shell Development Kazakhstan through PhysE Limited, we developed a sophisticated statistical model for predicting the level of the Caspian Sea throughout forthcoming decades.
In the last 100 years, the average level of the Caspian has fluctuated within a range of more than three metres. Since the Northern Caspian is presently only five metres deep, such fluctuations have a significant impact on the types of vessel that may be used to service the oil fields.
Icon carried out a thorough study, obtaining and analysing historical data on a variety of parameters that influence the sea level. These include the amount of rainfall over the Caspian drainage basin, the runoff from the rivers into sea, the extent of human water extraction from these rivers, and the amount of evaporation from the sea surface.
Using predictions from the leading academic climate models, we developed a Monte Carlo model for simulating possible sea level changes, and derived a probabilistic forecast for the forthcoming 50 years.
In addition to a thorough report and presentation, one deliverable from this work was a standalone tool for adjusting and re-running the Monte Carlo simulation. This was implemented in C# for use on any Windows PC. Users are able to update the model with the latest state of the Caspian Sea as well as the latest predictions on climate change and human effects. Modern computers allow the Monte Carlo simulation to be run in a matter of minutes!