CA Service

Database Design

Engineering projects generate masses of data. Organising, presenting and maintaining the integrity of this data as useful information cries out for the disciplined structure of a database system. We often identify this need early in our consulting assignments. So where we may have been initially tasked with writing manual procedures for systems engineering processes, we often determine that the efficiency of the target process can be substantially improved with support from an automated system. This is particularly true with many aspects of the configuration management discipline where the identification and control of very large multiple version, multiple release systems becomes a nightmare without automated tool support. We therefore routinely make use of relational database technology to capture, manage, analyse, organise and present information to our clients.


Our database development strategies can be either monolithic or agile. Where many functions must be created before a system can be useful, we apply the classical waterfall requirements-design-code-test-deploy life cycle. Where simple functionality can be useful immediately we adopt a more agile approach progressively adding features over time. The services we provide include:

  • Business/engineering process design
  • Software requirements specification
  • Logical and physical relational database design
  • Development of user and system support manuals
  • Database system development
  • System deployment.

Case Studies

(Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Configuration Management)
CA developed the Configuration Register System for the $70 million Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Environmental Control System. The MTR system configuration comprised triply redundant central computers communicating, via a fibre optic wide area network, with 230 remote terminal units (RTUs) installed in 37 stations. The RTUs performed local direct digital control of traction power and air-conditioning plant monitoring and controlling more than 30,000 field sensors and final cntrol elements. The system tracked the current configuration status and release history of all software, firmware, hardware and data components that comprised the MTR configuration. The register also tracked the operational hours for each component in support of component reliability qualification testing.
Main Roads Queensland
(Traffic Signalling Controller Hazard Analysis)
CA developed a database system to manage the preliminary hazard analysis information for traffic signalling controllers. The system tracked hazards, hazard causes and effects and risk reduction strategies. It also generated the Preliminary Hazard Analysis Report.