At Astun we are passionate about geography and passionate about open (source, standards and data) and to be honest we are a bit geeky.
We believe that the power of geography can enable our clients to manage assets more efficiently, inform better decisions, improve services and drive down costs. We want to help you to realise those benefits via an open and transparent business model that does not penalise clients when their demand increases or needs change and which allows us to run a successful and sustainable business.
We believe that open source is a game changer within our industry that delivers robust, scalable technology and market leading value through a collaborative model that matches the way we and our clients want to work. We are committed to supporting open source projects and using them wherever they represent the best solution for our clients but we will not hesitate to recommend commercial alternatives if we believe they better fulfil your needs.
We believe that our customers should not be locked into any technology choices. Wherever possible we design our solutions to be modular and interoperable via open standards.
Because we love the way that new technology and location are continuously enabling new possibilities for how we and our clients work, we are committed to pushing the boundaries and testing new ideas in partnership with innovators amongst our clients.
Astun Technology was formed by Mike Saunt in 2005. Mike set out on his own with the fledgling iShare Maps application and a vision focused on web services and Open Source. Astun rode the eGovernment wave and within five years had notched up over thirty local authority customers, delivering innovative enhancements to iShare along the way.
In recent years shrewd recruitment has extended development talent, flair and capability turning Astun into the UK market leader for Open Source geospatial solutions. Astun’s iShare and bespoke solutions are now in use with over 50 organisations including Local Authorities, Government Agencies, Blue Light Services and Social Housing.
Astun is a corporate member of the AGI, an Ordnance Survey Partner and an associate sponsor of OSGeo and an EFQM member.
You can view our timeline here.
Meet the team
Astun staff are Open Source Geo experts and enthusiasts with over 100 years experience in the geospatial industry. If you would like to join our team send us a mail (we do not recruit through agencies).
Mike Saunt - Managing Director
Mike has a background in GI, having worked for MapInfo among others, his interests are; in the web and what can be done with data mashups. An advocate of Open Data and Open Source Mike is primarily involved with the running of the business which means he dips in to all areas whether general management, sales, development, project delivery or support.
Mike Smith - Head of Sales
Mike joined Astun in August 2010 to develop our commercial offerings. A Chartered Surveyor by profession, Mike became GIS Manager and subsequently Business Services Manager at Reading Borough Council in the mid nineties. He then moved into the private sector with GIS Specialists GDC until their acquisition by MapInfo and subsequently Pitney Bowes. Before joining Astun, he was Sales & Marketing Manager for Aligned Assets, where he was responsible for most of their prestigious contract wins. He believes in working in partnership with our customers to help them meet their goals. In what are very difficult financial circumstances his experience within the public sector and his understanding of their requirements makes him particularly suited to this role. Mike is also a Chartered Geographer and a former Director of the AGI.
Peter Goulborn - Technical Architect
At the age of 15 Peter swore he would never work in (a) accountancy and (b) IT. Naturally this meant that he worked first in an accounts office and then in software support. Since then he has worked in web development and hopes to bring his experience from both sides of the technical divide to bear in helping Astun continue to create high-quality and innovative applications.
A native of South London, Peter has many interests but is most likely to bore you about his two young children who he thinks are already more interesting than he's ever been.
Steven Feldman - Strategic Adviser to the Board
Steven trained as an economist but spent the first 20 years of his working life in building materials before stumbling upon GIS. As General Manager of GDC he led a management buy out with investment support from employees. 4 years later GDC had grown into one of the leading suppliers of e-Government solutions and corporate GI to Local Government with a strong reputation for innovation and customer service. The business was later sold to MapInfo where Steven continued as UK MD and Director of Product and Industry Strategy, EMEA. In 2010 Steven branched out on his own and holds a number of positions working as a non-executive director, strategic consultant, investor, advisor and mentor to technology startups.
Dan Ormsby - Head of Operations
Dan has worked in the GIS industry since the mid 1990's, his first GIS job being based for 18 months in a field station in the rainforest of Borneo. Since then he has worked for software suppliers including Laser-Scan (now 1-Spatial), Innogistic and Civica, in a variety of technical and commercial roles up to Director level. He strongly believes the most exciting and innovative working cultures are found in SME's (Small to Medium Enterprises), and when combined with a view that Open Source is the future of GIS, Astun is the obvious place for him to work!
Matt Walker - Geospatial Architect
Matt is responsible for enterprise deployment of Astun’s web GIS, data integration and publishing solutions and is the technical lead on Logger and Publisher. Since the early 2000's Matt has had technical and leadership roles with expertise in PostGIS, Oracle, GeoServer and all things web. He's passionate about open software, standards and data and plays an active role in OSGeo:UK promoting the use of open geospatial software. Matt is based in the Midlands just south of Birmingham, his interests outside of work include time with his young family, weekends away in his camper van and occasional (and sometimes hazardous) mountain biking.
Jonathan Lake-Thomas - Server-side Developer
Jonathan is responsible for the maintenance and development of the database and server side components of iShare. He has 15 years experience as a developer and has previously worked in the financial and telecommunications sectors. His main areas of specialist knowledge are in the .NET framework and relational database systems. In addition to having an interest in technology, he is also a keen skier and enjoys live music.
Jo Cook - Metadata Lead / GIS Consultant
Jo Cook has been working with GIS for over a decade, mostly within the archaeological and heritage sector. She spent 9 years working for Oxford Archaeology, where she was responsible for managing small and large-scale GI-based projects. She has been working with web based GIS since 2005, including Mapserver, GeoServer, PostgreSQL, PostGIS and OpenLayers.
Jo is a Charter Member of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo), and founded the UK local chapter in 2006.
Jo works as part of the consultancy team at Astun, working on software deployment and data integration.
Andrew Bailey - GIS Consultant
Andrew started out in surveying but quickly got involved in photogrammetry and then moved in to GIS analysis and system development. More recently Andrew worked on the delivery of data.gov.uk as part of the UK Location Programme. At QinetiQ he was responsible for building the navigation software for the Zephyr UAV. Andrew has wide experience of all major GIS software and is a keen advocate of Open Source GIS.
In his spare time Andrew is involved in local hospital radio, plays a guitar meanly and ponders the significance of community led design in urban modelling.
Simon Chapman - Product Support Specialist
Prior to joining Astun, Simon spent 11 years with the ROMANSE (ROad MANagement Systems for Europe) office at Southampton City Council, working with Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). These included traffic management and public transport tracking systems with time spent supporting control room operations and undertaking website maintenance. Simon recently graduated with an MSc from Portsmouth University, attaining a distinction in Information Systems. His final project focused on web based GIS and Web 2.0 within the context of ITS.
Simon enjoys camping and bike riding with his young family.
Aileen Heal - Geospatial Consultant
Aileen has a degree in Engineering Mathematics and has been working in the geospatial industry for almost 20 years. She has passion for building systems and geospatial problem solving using her extensive knowledge and expertise in spatial databases. Prior to this Aileen developed engineering software including a mathematical modelling tool for predicting radar signatures at Thorn EMI and specialist CAD tools for designing integrated circuits at Philips.
Paul Porthouse - Web Developer
Paul has owned a computer since he was 11 starting with Sinclairs and eventually graduating to PCs. Since 2000 he has had his head firmly in the clouds of web development. For the six years prior to joining Astun, he was part of the team behind the multi-award winning South Tyneside Council website; whilst there he also produced a number of accessible and usable applications that enabled users to do more for themselves. As a developer for Astun he has a key advantage of being a former customer so he can see things from both sides of the fence which will be invaluable moving forwards.
In his spare time Paul is a Civilian Instructor for the Air Training Corps.
Kim Stimpson - Commercial / Technical Writer
Kim started off her working life as a developer in RPG for IBM System 34 writing applications for the communication market and still tinkers one day a week with the new RPGLE for IBM System i. She branched into technical writing having created various "User Guides" and "Workshops" during her time employed in software development and as a Product Manager. Her main role at Astun is as a freelance Technical Author helping to document the ever-growing iShare platform. In her spare time Kim enjoys hacking over the North Downs on her trusty steed!
Ant Scott - GIS Consultant
Antony joined Astun from Sustain Ltd in Bristol, where he worked on domestic housing energy efficiency analysis and web mapping for Housing Association clients. He spent a number of years working with structured data and publishing systems in the automotive, health and energy sectors, after beginning his career as a housing manager for Housing Associations.
Alongside his work for Astun, Antony volunteers for MapAction, which provides emergency mapping in humanitarian disasters, as well as training and capacity building for disaster management. Antony has a Masters degree in GIS from Cranfield University.
Ian Turton - Geospatial Architect
Since graduating from Edinburgh University Ian has spent 25 years working in academia and the commercial world developing spatial programs to solve interesting problems. During that period he has worked with a variety of open source and proprietary programs including GeoServer, MapServer, PostGIS and OpenLayers. He has also developed and delivered courses for Masters degree students at the University of Leeds & Pennsylvania State University. In 1992 he and James Macgil started development of the GeoTools java library. GeoTools provides the underpinning spatial base for GeoServer. Ian is a founding charter member of the OSGeo foundation.
In his spare time he can be found either tending his vegetable garden or baking cakes, depending on the weather.
William Allbrook - Marketing
William is an enthusiastic marketeer who has been on board almost since day one. He has many years experience helping small technology companies to get their messages out. He looks after the Astun brand, writes our customer newsletters and case studies and helps maintain this website.
Away from work William is a School Governor, likes to keep fit, take photographs and walk in the wild outdoors. He'll occasionally sling a leg over a motorcycle too.
Louise Watts - Sales Consultant
Louise Watts is a Sales Consultant and works on a part- time basis, to help manage and develop our northerly client base and reports to Mike Smith. Louise has many years experience of both GIS and Local Government working for a number of GIS suppliers including a spell with Mike at GDC.
Marco Finnberg - System Administrator / Dev Ops
Marco has joined Astun in a System Administrator / Dev Ops role. An experienced systems engineer and fan of Open Source he prefers to have control of the tech rather than the other way around. Marco says he gets a strange pleasure from working on the boring bits, which nobody else likes, such as monitoring and automation. He’s always on the lookout for ways to improve the status quo and come up with his own workarounds and solutions... except when it comes to encryption! Marco is from Finland and lives in Bilbao.
Moira Livesey - Local Government Ambassador
Moira joined Astun in May as Local Government Ambassador. She is responsible for maintaining contact with Astun customers, conducting reviews and generally ensuring that everyone is happy. Moira worked in Local Government for over 30 years with roles in land charges, gazetteer management and GIS. Latterly she was Spatial Data Manager for Bolton Council responsible for GIS, the LLPG and the Local Land Charge Service. During this time she was also on secondment as a Local Authority Advocate to the Land Registry on a project to centralise the Local Land Charges Register.
Andrew Bell - Training and Projects
Andrew has been working with GIS academically and professionally for a decade, mostly within local government. From 2006-2011 he worked for the then newly established New Forest National Park Authority where he setup a GIS infrastructure and implemented a spatial data warehouse using PostgreSQL/PostGIS. He continues to develop the corporate use of open source GIS technology using the iShare platform. Andrew began working for Astun Technology in 2011, designing and developing their Open Source training courses.
David Aitken - Finance Manager
David Aitken, is a management accountant who has extensive experience in financial and management accounting, having worked in a variety of industries and organisations over the last 20 years. From a practice background (Top 20 UK accountancy firms) David moved into industry, initially spending time within the finance departments of a number of large UK plcs. In more recent years, David has focused on Finance Management roles within SME/owner managed businesses.
Tracy Reilly - Finance Assistant
Tracy has been working in Finance Administration for over 15 years and has a wealth of experience. Roles cover credit control, payroll and invoicing as well as general business administration. Away from work Tracy likes to spend time with her family, enjoys reading and music.
Here are some of our affiliations
We are a corporate member of the AGI (Association for Geographic Information) and Mike Saunt is a member of the AGI Council.
Astun Technology is an Ordnance Survey Partner.
We continue to sponsor the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to support the collaborative development of open source geospatial software, and promote its widespread use. The foundation provides financial, organisational and legal support to the broader open source geospatial community.
Astun Technology is a member of the European Foundation for Quality Management.
As a current supplier to the Public Sector we are aware of our obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and the specific equality contract conditions relating to each customer. Better equality and diversity practices are becoming more important and buyers want to know more about what we do and our approach to equality. Being a member of the Equality Register is the best way to demonstrate this.
The Equality Register is managed through the Association of Equality Scheme Providers (AESP).
Working at Astun
Astun Technology is a people oriented business with a professional rather than corporate focus:
- We employ the best people, across the length and breadth of country operating as a business with a distributed workforce from our head office in Epsom, and home working employees from Southampton to South Tyneside ... London to Lancaster ... Bristol to Birmingham … to name a few
- We employ both full and part time members of staff
- Our team is highly experienced, averaging 15 years GIS / ICT experience per person
- Every day is dress-down Friday...unless visiting a customer!
- Astun is a great place to work. Our quarterly ‘BIG’ meetings and ‘hackathons’ in Epsom are stimulating, fun and help keep the team focused
- We even have regular office table tennis tournaments
- Our Christmas parties have involved fencing, archery and of course there’s always lots to celebrate!
- High quality professional products and services
- Good work-life balance!
- Giving something back - we consciously support the Open Source geospatial community and projects
Qualities we value
- Self motivated and well organised
- Ability, potential and experience
- Customer focused
We publish a newsletter at regular intervals. It is sent out as a hard copy in the post, but is also available here to view or download as a PDF.
At first our newsletter was known as iShare News but this has since become Astun News.
If you would like to receive a regular hard copy of Astun News by post please contact us. Alternatively click on the links below to view them.
Allen Freiesleben - Cartoonist
Astun marketing in newsletters and at events has benefitted over the last few years from some simple humour courtesy of artist and cartoonist Allen Freiesleben, whose work also appears in such august publications as 'The Oldie.' Allen, now eighty, has had an interesting career which included twelve years in teaching and two stints as a meter reader in the days when the meters were still inside people's homes. Whilst 'Meter reader to the stars' is not that far from the truth, as he reels off a list of celebrities whose meters he has read, Allen's real passion has always been art. These days drawing cartoons is a happy sideline but he's most at home behind an easel with paints and brushes and the walls of his home in Dorchester are adorned with many wonderful and varied examples of his work, a testament to that passion.