The nascent RitchViewer Pty Ltd was founded and registered by Colin Ritchie in 2011. But it wasn’t until May 2015 that his pivotal product RitchViewer© moved from idea to execution to commercial availability with a United States patent application. This reflects the dynamic RitchViewer© product as it now exists.
The company’s innovative work with computer-based animation and visualisation has, like many software advances, had a long incubation as the following potted history dating back to the early 1980s explains.
Pre-1983 –Engineering Drawings to Printers
For civil engineers on-screen visualisation was limited. Yet for those able to write computer programs a new frontier was emerging. Engineering designs and drawings could be programmatically sent to a printer for analysis, thereby providing a competitive advantage on job tendering.
1983 – Animation and Visualisation for Mine Planning and Evaluation
‘Big data’ visualisation of mining ore bodies consisted of storing and extracting data from an Oracle database to build 3-D graphical interpretations of potential orebodies. While specialist graphical hardware existed and programmers could create some visualisation on mute terminals, most 3-D graphical presentations of orebodies were executed by sending ‘pen-up and pen-down’ instructions to large, flat-bed printers.
1988 – Interactive Graphs for Research and Trading Systems
Interactive graphs – pre-dating Windows 3.0 by several years – were developed for a Unix-based Research & Trading System, interfacing real-time feeds, and Oracle databases. As well as animating info-graphical representations on 19-inch cathode ray tube displays, graphical output was also sent to printers by creating encapsulated postscript files.
1993 – Moving Animation and Visualisation to Microsoft Excel
With the advent in 1993 of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Microsoft Excel was added to the list of technologies for incorporating animated and visualised products. VBA enabled extensive work with visual representations outside the standard Microsoft charting and graphing suite, and much of the work based on forerunner software was transferred to this platform.
Colin Ritchie created and developed a proprietary series of software products featuring the latest animation and visualisation techniques and which have been sold around the world. The earliest examples of this work can be found via Investment Edge (1996-98) and GPQS Eclipse (2001-06).