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Slice of Silicon Valley at Christchurch’s Hagley Park

What does a hotel carved into the bedrock of Shanghai, a tunnel between Finland and Estonia and a hydropower station in Western China all have in common?

The answer? Christchurch-based tech company Seequent and their ground-breaking geo science software.

Daniel Wallace, General Manager Civil and Environmental Industries at Seequent’s Christchurch office on the edge of Hagley Park, said he couldn’t imagine the company being based anywhere else.

Aside from lifestyle for staff, Wallace said Christchurch’s world-class tertiaries provided a reliable pipeline for future talent.

Looking out to the lush greens of Hagley Park, he explained more about what the business does.

“Put simply, we give data a voice. We visualise complex data to help our clients make better decisions,” he said.

Primarily focused, but not limited to, underground information, Seequent’s technology models the composition of the earth to enable decision making.

It might be the location of water, mineral deposits, geothermal activity, or ancient artifacts – if it’s underground, Seequent are the global go-to for data and insights.

From United Nations projects locating underground water sources for a refugee camp in Bangladesh, to guarding against saltwater intrusion in California, to analysing retreating Antarctica ice sheets as a predictor for global sea level rise – it’s Seequent technology being used to explore innovative solutions.

A holistic, social responsibility angle runs through many of Seequent’s projects. Wallace explained this is no fluke.

“We help organisations who engage in the ground to do so in a sustainable and responsible way,” he said.

“At every aspect of the development process we encourage staff to consider how the end customer will use the technology. Take our software developers working on code, we encourage them to not think of it as just code, but how it fits into the bigger picture.”

And it’s not just what’s underground that Seequent are paving the way on.

The business was recently named the New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019 Grand Prize Winner. The company jumped at the opportunity to apply their innovative technology above ground in an area with huge potential to positively impact sustainability, by developing a satellite-based remote sensing solution to monitor the water quality of lakes.

“Water quality and the health of our lakes sustains our way of life. It’s not economical to visit all lakes to monitor adverse environmental impacts, but with satellite remote sensing every lake can be monitored virtually,”

Daniel Wallace - General Manager Civil and Environmental Industries at Seequent

“Water quality and the health of our lakes sustains our way of life. It’s not economical to visit all lakes to monitor adverse environmental impacts, but with satellite remote sensing every lake can be monitored virtually,” Wallace said.

Having spent much of his career in Silicon Valley, Wallace didn’t take for granted the ability in Christchurch to have both a fulfilling and challenging career, and a safe and outdoors-focused lifestyle.

“You could lift up Seequent and drop it into the middle of Silicon Valley and we’d fit right in, but we wouldn’t have the balance that we enjoy here. We all work hard and doesn’t take us two hours to get home,” he said.

“I seldom have to get in my car to do any recreational sport. Within ten minutes of my house are two swimming pools, I can cycle or run over the hill, take in the views of the Southern Alps and go for a swim in the ocean. I don’t know many places where you can do all that and still have a meaningful job.”