A Bangladeshi company named Streams Tech Ltd, which has an office in Fairfax, Virginia, in the US, has been working on some ground-breaking software over the past couple of years with its local developing team, working at its office in Dhaka’s Banani.
Some of the software designed by the company is already being used by three state government offices in the US. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also uses one of the software plug-ins developed by Streams Tech.
Maeenul Islam, project manager of the company, told The Independent that all their products are enterprise-level large software. “We are developing customized plug-ins and spin-off software for the Geographic Information System (GIS). No other software company in Bangladesh is doing such a thing.”
Explaining the company’s products, Maeenul Islam said the software they design and create are not for everyone’s use. “These are for professionals who work in the fields of engineering, urban planning, geology and surveying.”
Shahnewaz Russel, senior software engineer with the company and a member of the team who won the NASA space apps challenge of 2015, said the GIS software they design will aid anyone to produce maps and other graphic displays of geographic information for analysis and presentation.
Russel said their software stores data on geographical features and their characteristics. The features are typically classified as points, lines, or areas, or as raster images. On a map, city data can be stored as points, road data as lines, and boundaries as areas, while aerial photos or scanned maps can be stored as raster images.
“Through these types of storage of data on the map, it possible to identify the features located in any arbitrary region of a map. For example, a GIS can quickly identify and map all of the locations within a specified radius of a point, or all of the streets that run through a district.”
These could be useful for government organisations like the public works department (PWD), the department of architecture, the Directorate of Surveying as well as private organisations like oil and gas explorers and telecom operators, which frequently need to map a region with data storage capacity in a systematic manner.
The managing director of the company, Dr Sayeedul H Chowdhury, who works for the Virginia state government, wrote in a mail to The Independent that the idea of
forming a company to produce such software came to his mind while working towards the construction of a dam in Virginia.
Chowdury, a former student of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), is a civil engineer by training. He has been working as an US government engineer for the last two decades. “In the US, software is heavily used in pre-construction design processes. As environmental monitoring is very stringent in the US, the regulators in the government don’t approve any construction plan without a complete and appropriate simulation modelling.”
He said the idea for several kinds of GIS software came to his mind through his practical activities. “I needed these software to make my work easy but these did not exist. So I thought of forming a company to develop the software. As the cost of developers is relatively cheap in Bangladesh, I formed Streams Tech there.”