The Rangeland Administration System (RAS) issues approximately 18,000 applications and 25,000 grazing bills per year. The application is a module of the Use Authorization System (UAS) and transfers the billing data to the BLMCollections and Billing System (CBS) for tracking, collection, and distribution of grazing receipts. Aa transaction and reporting system used internally and externally, RAS maintains information about authorizations, allotments, operators, and reports on grazing resources and grazing bill history.
RAS replaced the Grazing and Billing System (GABS) and was released into operation in 2001. One of the main purposes of RAS was to move from a microcomputer-based system to a web-based application. Another purpose of RAS was to migrated from an outdated PC/DOS system that GABS was using to a more modern system. RAS was designed to be an interim application and was initially meant to operate for a period of three years.
In support of its goal to deliver high-quality information systems and services to its customer, BLM began an initiative to
modernize RAS in 2012. This initiative included migrating to a new technological foundation that uses jBPM workflow engine, JBOSS application server, and Java while maintaining the operations of the existing production system. Until the redesigned RAS system is deployed and operational, BLM needed continued operations and maintenance (O&M) support for the existing RAS application.
As a legacy application, RAS has been in steady-state operation for nearly a decade. To bring the system up to date and make it more user-friendly, the objective of this project was to develop and deploy the technical refreshed/architected/upgraded system to support the BLM Rangeland program, based on the requirements that had been captured and documented over the course of a year.
NexGen was contracted to perform this Technical Refresh of the UAS/RAS application and provide: project planning and management support, requirements validation, detailed system design and development, and support for BLM acceptance testing and final system implementation.
The project team redesigned the entire RAS user interface (UI). As a result, the application now has a modern look and feel with a streamlined, enhanced user experience.
RAS was enhanced when Congress recently amended the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976. NexGen made the necessary application and report changes within a week to ensure RAS was compliant with this amended law.
RAS has unique O&M considerations with regard to billing periods and its integration with CBS. NexGen worked with the BLM to minimize disruption of service during these peak usage periods and adapt to changes as required to maintain connectivity to CBS.
The quality of deliverables met or exceeded expectation for nearly every iteration. Requirements gathering was very detail oriented and slow but in the end paid off with the quality and acceptance of the product.
Management was very good at ensuring oversight to this project. At times, key resource turnovers hampered the project. But management dedication did not allow that to delay progress in any way.
NexGen demonstrated consistent improvement in quality throughout the project. Our leadership onsite and daily participation in the project demonstrated its full commitment to the overall success of the project and the BLM mission.