Atticode GmbH developed the LK-Journal as a specialized application for the administration of surveying orders of the Canton of Basel-Stadt. By using design thinking during the concept phase and agile methods during the implementation, an efficient and user-friendly application was created that is both robust and versatile.

LK-Journal stands for Leitungskataster Journal and represents the workflow of the cantonal survey for the receipt, registration, surveying and feedback of orders as a specialist application. The orders to be surveyed are lines or cables that supply the residents of Basel-Stadt with water, gas, cable television, electricity, district heating, sewage, etc. The orders are processed by the cantonal cadastral survey.


Our development process began with a kickoff meeting at which we discussed the planning and milestones of the digitalization project and defined the roles and responsibilities. By breaking down the existing work process of the LK Journal into its individual parts and thanks to a comprehensive requirements analysis in advance, we were ideally positioned for the workshop to optimize the new process.

For this purpose, we used design thinking to identify and elaborate both the problem and possible solution areas of the surveying process. Design thinking is a creative approach to solving complex problems that focuses on user needs and an iterative as well as team-based approach. We analyzed the current state of the LK Journal and asked ourselves the following questions: what are its capabilities, how does the data flow, which statuses are used, which essential calculations are performed, and which work steps can be simplified. We also identified strengths and weaknesses of the system and worked out optimization possibilities.

Afterwards, we worked out an improved work process for the LK Journal in another workshop. We drew the process on brown paper and optimized it by removing superfluous elements or adding abbreviations to the flow chart. During the process, there was a lot of deliberation and debate among the team, and everyone pitched in to help shaping the new process. It was also important to gradually reduce to the minimum selection of possible statuses in order to be able to map the process of surveying jobs.

Impressions of the workshops: Cantonal IT staff and surveyors at creative work.

Finally, we went through screenshots of the application and each employee could write down their impressions and ideas. Especially in terms of usability, we discussed pain points and comfort points and identified ideas for improvement. All these findings were incorporated into the development of the new LK Journal.

After the comprehensive analysis of the current state and the requirements of the customer, the creation of wireframes followed. Wireframes are schematic representations or simplified drafts of digital products. They are used to show the basic structure and functionality of the application without going into too much visual detail. They are often referred to as sketches or blueprints because they typically consist of simple shapes, lines, and placeholders. They allow for clients, designers and developers to identify and resolve any issues early on, before design or implementation is far advanced. For the creation of the wireframes, special emphasis was placed on prior feedback and the specific wishes of the customer.


After the wireframes were approved by the customer, the technical implementation could begin. For the server-side implementation in the backend, Laravel, a modern and powerful PHP framework specifically designed for web application development, was used. It features a clear and elegant syntax that allows developers to quickly create scalable and robust applications.

To ensure reliable data processing, the included Eloquent ORM was used, which enables optimal SQL queries. In addition, dependencies were integrated in the frontend with NPM (Node Package Manager) and in the backend with Composer to ensure that all required dependencies are present and the application runs smoothly.

Tech stack: Some of the libraries, frameworks, programming languages and tools used at LK-Journal for technical implementation.

Special attention was also paid to the design. The LK Journal was designed with Google's Material Design and implemented with CSS3, HTML5 and SASS. In addition, Javascript libraries such as jQuery and D3.js were used to enable interactive graphics and statistics. For the automated build process to compile SASS and bundle JavaScript, Gulp was used as a build tool.

Another focus of the project was the database schema design, its normalization, and the data migration to the new database. In the process, not only was the old data adapted to the new schema and imported by means of an individually created import script, but also a thorough data cleansing was carried out to remove duplicates, correct erroneous data and ensure standardization according to the data types of the Microsoft SQL database used.

The project was implemented according to agile methodology and planned with weekly sprints. At the end of each sprint, progress was discussed and questions clarified. Thanks to the Kanboard and regular meetings between the customer and the development team, the project could be planned pragmatically and implemented in an agile way with enough leeway. Testing cycles and feedback loops ensured that the LK Journal was continuously improved and constantly further adapted to the customer's needs. Thanks to continuous partial deliveries through autodeployment, updates were applied quickly and easily without having to interrupt development or testing.

Status overview on the large display in the surveying office: A glance at the dashboard is enough to see the current order situation.

The LK-Journal uses the canton's LDAP ActiveDirectory (AD) for authentication and is thus connected to the established and secure standard solutions from Microsoft. With the help of AD, user groups with specific rights can be assigned to users, which simplifies user management for the system administrator. This allows authorizations to be quickly and easily adjusted, which is advantageous particularly in larger organizations.

The specialized application generates documents in Excel or PDF format for filing or forwarding, such as the mutation documents for surveying orders or automatically generated e-mails with closing information to the ordering customer.

Whether in the office or in the field, the LK-Journal is optimized for mobile use and adapted to surveyors' tablets. This allows information to be viewed and edited anytime, anywhere.

A surveyor with his tablet at work: The LK Journal is always at hand, even on the construction site.

Following the successful implementation of the LK Journal in 2017, training sessions were held for users to communicate the new functions and processes. In the process, a support concept was also created in order to be able to provide help quickly when problems arise. User feedback was very positive, with particular praise for the optimized display on mobile platforms and the improved user interface

The LK Journal was not only a successful digitalization project, but also an example of how agile project implementation and close collaboration with the customer can achieve an optimal result. The use of open source software and containerization on a Kubernetes cluster contributed to the flexibility and scalability of the solution.

Thanks to the LK Journal, the Cantonal Survey has been able to optimize its workflows, save time and costs, and achieve greater efficiency. The project was a complete success and will continue to be developed in the future to meet the ever-changing needs of users.

Don't hesitate and contact us today to learn more about how LK Journal can revolutionize your surveying work.

Back to overview