Pilots with the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) team at Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) historically used the traditional pen and paper approach to logging mid-air events—such as the waterbombing of fires, and ground-based events—such as refuelling the aircraft.
AFFES sought to modernise this approach and improve its reliability. Cantan Group was commissioned to build an app to help automate data collection and make it more accessible to MNRF pilots by capturing real-time and post-flight data to generate an electronic Daily Flight Report (eDFR).
Our answer emerged through collaboration between the MNRF and Cantan Group in strategy sessions—examining previous assumptions about the outcome and technology.
A key to the successful outcome of this project was to model all events – as varied as they were – as descendants of a singular event class. At the very get-go, we were able to simplify existing conceptions, and the most elegant solution to the problem emerged.
We created a Flutter-based app as a cross-platform solution to accurately capture the variations in aircraft capabilities, missions and the natural workflow of pilots.
The eDFR app was designed at its heart to be accessible by pilots both in the day and at night, strategically using shortcuts for common tasks, and an intuitive layout that empowers single-handed operation.
A key takeaway from this project was the importance of modelling the system to mirror the real-world at the outset. Taking the time to get this right, results in time-savings throughout the rest of a project.
An Agile approach in software development really shines when the loop-backs are shorter, allowing for iterations across narrower and narrower feature-sets. By getting the model right at the get-go, we were able to watch the product come together in a smooth and all-around enjoyable process.
Collaborating with the client—for whom the real-world model is intrinsic—and teasing it out to inform the software architecture, lets us build the most elegant solution resulting in a delightful experience for users.
Strategy—empowered by experienced principals—is a critical part of Cantan Group’s development cycle and it resulted in an extremely well-received solution by the team at the MNRF.