Major Outage, Seeking Major Financial Partner

Posted by AaronClausen

 23 Jan 2024

Hi everyone,

Yesterday our platform suffered an outage of approximately 11 hours.

We recently attempted to cost optimise the infrastructure that NatureMapr runs on to reduce our monthly infrastructure spend as the bills are becoming increasingly large.

This unfortunately resulted in the infrastructure not coping yesterday and shutting down due to a thing called port exhaustion.

This is what happens when your website or app becomes too successful and too busy for the underlying infrastructure to service its requests.

So we have had to revert and scale the infrastructure back up (and accordingly our monthly spend) to cope with the large user demand and load placed on the platform.

NatureMapr serves up millions of page views, millions of image views and provides a high quality expert verified data feed to multiple government organisations which again places load on our infrastructure.

Our service is now critical infrastructure - a pipeline of high quality, expert verified biodiversity and biosecurity information on a platter through to government.

When the outage occured, our technical team were unfortunately fully tied up with other (paid work) commitments and unable to respond to the outage within a timely manner.

I had people with me all day that I had a commitment to and I simply couldn't get to it.

Right now, we have funds to cover approximately 3 more months of infrastructure spend.

We will then likely exhaust our bank balance by April 2024 and need to subsidise the cost to run NatureMapr again out of own pocket, again.

We are in discussions with ACT Government, who have been an amazing and generous major financial supporter, to request increased support, which has now been escalated to the ACT Environment Minister who I am meeting with next week. These guys are the only reason we've made it this far.

We have now met with and/or presented to the following commonwealth agencies: Threatened Species Commissioner, DCCEEW Biodiversity Data Repository, Director of National Parks, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foresty, CSIRO. All parties are extremely impressed with what NatureMapr is achieving but are unable to contribute any funding to support the generation of the high quality biodiversity information that is being produced.

This is at a time when the commonwealth is simultaneously burning money at a rate of knots on failed IT projects that have delivered nothing.

Without a substantial change in our funding model and without increased support from government, you can unfortunately expect an increasing number of outages and the service no longer existing from 1 Jul onwards.

When Australian citizen science platform Bowerbird folded, it was largely due to their team being unable to properly design, build and maintain a complex technical platform.

Complexity is what killed them.

NatureMapr has the opposite problem.

We have nailed all the technical challenges - NatureMapr is engineered properly.

We have a world leading, sophisticated platform that is absolutely humming along.

I am super proud of what we've built together.

But we are sorely lacking in legimate financial support.

Even from the agencies that either currently consume our data and/or intend to ingest it.

Opportunity for a Major Financial Supporter/Partner

NatureMapr is seeking to partner with a second major financial supporter.

This is an awesome opportunity for the right partner to take the next step in the journey together with us and have their brand and identity closely associated with a super high impact community citizen science movement.

ACT Government have shown a level of leadership in backing and partnering with us from day dot that should be a blueprint exemplar for other agencies in how to support home grown and how to reap a massive number of benefits from doing so.

We should be teaming up and setting the standard - showing the world how biodiversity is valued in Australia and how we innovate to protect and monitor it.

Our new major financial supporter could be a government agency that we feed high quality information or biosecurity alerts to, it could be a large private sector organisation, or it could be a philanthropist like Dick Smith or Twiggy Forrest who want to support good work.

We are open to all kinds of creative ideas such as re-branding, co-branding and/or tailoring or customising the platform.

If you would like the service to be around beyond 30 June, we need your help to:

  • Get the word out and tap into your networks
  • Connect and/or introduce us to anyone you think might be a great fit

You can message me via NatureMapr messaging or via email aaron @ this domain name.

Thanks for support in advance.

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