Operation Wallacea – Open Source at the Core

Operation Wallacea – Open Source at the Core

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Presentation Slides

On Github judgej / SuperMondaysOpwall

Operation Wallacea

Open Source at the Core

by Jason Judge / @jasondjudge

Operation Wallacea

aka Opwall

“Operation Wallacea is an organisation...that runs a series of biological and conservation management research programmes in remote locations across the world.”

Research Assistant

  • University students or pre-university school groups.
  • Students attend an expedition for two or more weeks.
  • Surveys up trees, in forests, in the sea.
  • Record biodiversity, carbon capture, health of environment.


  • UK
  • Canada
  • USA
  • South Africa
  • China
  • Australia and South East Asia
  • Nordic
  • Central America
  • Mexico
  • UAE

Expeditions 2015

  • China
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Greece
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Indonesia
  • Madagascar
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • South Africa
  • Romania

Schools 2015

In addition to the research expedition countries:

  • Ecuador
  • France and Italy
  • Transylvania

The Problem

  • An MS Access database for UK university students.
  • An MS Access database for US university students.
  • Another for Canadian students.
  • Yet another for US students in states managed by Canada.
  • Schools and school students had their own databases.
  • As did the academics...

Data Migration

  • Decided to just migrate everything.
  • Many attributes migrated, but not needed.
  • Normalising across the databases is tricky.
  • No common keys in lookup data.
  • Everyone spells the same things differently.

Reference Data

Where can it be obtained?

Data Migration Tools

What was useful?

Some Learning Points

Don't underestimate data migration. It's all about integration. Outsource email handling. It's a fine balance: client's workflow vs standard business workflow vs default application behaviour vs custom code. Open source documentation is often somewhat lacking. Contributing to open source is easier than ever.

Thank You

Author: Jason Judge



Libraries published to github.com/academe

Support from Consilience Media

Thanks to Operation Wallacea