Knowledge Integration

The Arches team reflects on a productive 2023

With 2023 coming to an end, the Arches team here at Knowledge Integration are looking to reflect on another rewarding year.

We have certainly been busy; from deploying several new Arches instances and performing data migrations, to attending community events and contributing to the core Arches codebase, and not to forget kickstarting the development of an Arches plugin for the QGIS software to wrap up the year. We’d like to thank all we have worked with over the last year, and recount some of the moments we were most proud of.

In March, we were pleased to announce that the City of Lincoln went live with Arcade using Arches version 6 and the new Arches for HER project with all of its custom features. Knowledge Integration first worked with the City of Lincoln back in 2018, and with the collaboration of Farallon Geographics and Historic England, were able to launch Arcade, which at the time was the first implementation of Arches in the UK. This project used a very early version of resource models that would later go on to form the advanced, stable models that we see in the Arches for HER project today. Our work consisted of the re-mapping and migration of data from the previous models onto a hosted Arches deployment that included all of the custom features that Arches for HER has to offer. The project comprises 17 models, of which the highlight is the consultations module. Five custom built workflows allows HER and planning officers to create an application area and the consultation that is contained within. Using the other workflows; site visits, communications and correspondence data can be added to the existing consultation resource. Other features include custom tabbed report templates, the integration of British National Grid references and the comprehensive thesauri of controlled vocabularies.

A screenshot showing the Arcade search page with all publicly accessible resources and their spatial data.

From one HER to another, in June we launched the updated Jersey Heritage Historic Environment Record on version 6 of Arches, an instance that, like Arcade, was previously on version 4. Aside from performing a database migration, we faced many new challenges during this project including the storage and use of raster geotiff overlays from Amazon’s S3 storage, a procedure that is not well documented, and the migration of the old server’s image to our hosting environment so we could begin hosting the Jersey HER.

A screenshot of the Jersey HER Arches search page. The map markers show the resources from the current page.


Heading away from HER’s and into central Europe, our work helped to launch the Suhozid project in March, an Arches project on dry stone objects, sites, actors and activities within Croatia and some surrounding countries. Knowledge Integration hosted the Suhozid Arches instance for a year before it came to its natural conclusion. We have since continued contact and helped any queries the team had regarding Arches, and hope in the future we can work on the project once again.

Alongside our work with customers, remaining an active member of the Arches user and development communities is one of our continuous aims. This year saw the release of 3 major Arches versions and 10 patches, ending the year with the release of version 7.5. Whilst the major piece of work last year involved the implementation of internationalisation, this year Farallon Geographics worked closely with Historic England to bring web accessibility to Arches. Web applications must adhere to WCAG and achieve a minimum level of AA as a requirement by the UK law, applying appropriate colours and contrasts, and allowing for the use of screen readers and keyboard shortcuts. Although Knowledge Integration was not directly involved with the accessibility efforts, we contributed by developing a feature that allowed users to use a keyboard shortcut to save resource data and resource model changes. Additionally, we contributed core Arches features throughout the year including: a button in the resource model tree that copies the node ID to clipboard and a “report view” button in the resource view, as well as numerous bug fixes that include implementing further validation to the map layer configuration inputs, allowing graph names to include punctuation when creating a package and a fix for import multiprocessing.

From the Arches team and all of Knowledge Integration we wish everyone a Happy Christmas and Happy New Year. We hope 2024 will be just as good, if not better!

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