by Donna Douglas
Martin, Barrie Advance
(first Canadian rights)
Right here in Barrie, Ralph Bouwmeester is
delivering unique information that's in demand
all over the world.
Ralph is a civil engineer whose business is built
on providing services to architects, developers,
municipal departments, land-use planners
etc. It's pretty standard stuff and Ralph
has been meticulous in his approach to starting
and building his business.
That's his core business.
But, this fellow is a splendid example of what
can happen when enthusiasm meets brains and
creates opportunity. Ralph has a lifelong
love of the sun, moon, stars, planets and their
movements in their environment as the days
progress and the seasons change. He also
has a longtime interest in computer technology.
He combined these two loves of astronomy and
computers and wrote a program which lets him
predict the angle, strength and position of the
sun... anywhere, on any day, at any time past or
present. If you really think about this you
can get a feeling for the usefulness of this
program. Not only are builders, developers,
architects etc interested in this because of the
impact a tall building might have on its shorter
neighbouring building, but others are also
In the first year of Ralph's business, he was
encouraged to build a specialty area in his sun
and shadow forecasting program. To that
end, he designed a website (www.sunposition.com) and
decided to give a gift and latitudinal sunrise
& sunset for each hit. It's customary
on the web to give before you get.
website is garnering international
interest. Wedding photographers want to
know the angle, strength and sunset times for
weddings even three years away. Sports
facilities want to know the best angle to
accommodate dignitaries at official
openings. Lawyers, both defense and crown,
want to know the angle and strength of sun when
working on car accident cases for court dates.
It goes on and on. Ralph could entertain
for an evening just sharing the many ways he's
delivering sun and shadow information all over
However, a recent request gave him cause for
smile... a New Zealand television station called
to ask the exact sunrise time and angle on a
small island off its east coast. This
island is the first land that the sun's first
rays will hit on January 1, 2000. Location
of musicians and stages, best photography positionings, best television camera angles...
all this was delivered to New Zealand from Ralph
Bouwmeester's computer in good old Barrie,
Ralph is actually making money from his website;
he's also now advertising on the accident
reconstruction site which is generating
additional legal calls. He's been through
the testing and been accepted as an expert
witness in Ontario's court system.
And all because of a childhood interest in
astronomy. Plus a pursued interest in
computer programming. Plus
initiative. Plus risk. Plus
initiative. It's amazing how
"lucky" some people are.
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