Government authorities in Australia and New Zealand are organising conferences, workshops and research projects to help accelerate the Virtual ANZ vision to digitally simulate the complex environmental systems and behaviours of both nations.
Proposed by geospatial surveying and land information systems leaders since the mid 2000s, the VANZ vision since has expanded to include satellite Earth observation agencies (led by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia). The first VANZ conference, held in early 2013, included observers and leaders from more than 25 industry and professional groups.
Relevant ANZ Groups and Current Funding
> Following New Zealand’s 2013 resignation from the Executive Committee of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), Australia is representing Asia and Oceania on the GEO EC. Australia’s contributions to GEO’s GEOSS project are being led by its Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia: thus positioning both agencies as the current government leaders of the Virtual ANZ vision.
> Under the Gillard Labor Government, the Australian Department of Finance and Deregulation set up new information policy and technology services divisions to manage the evolution of Big Data solutions across the whole of government.
> Managing cross-government advances to land and data management aspects of the Virtual ANZ vision is ANZLIC – the Spatial Information Council – a group of leaders from national and state government land information agencies in both countries. It is chaired by Helen Owen, head of Australia’s Office of Space Policy, now in the Commonwealth Department of Industry and Innovation.
> New Zealand has a national network of research organisations: the Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network. KAREN’s high-speed network infrastructure is operated by a Crown-owned company, the Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ).
> Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNET) includes 38 partner universities and the CSIRO. For public access to high bandwidth information, the federal government is rolling out a high-speed National Broadband Network (NBN).
> Another group influencing the Virtual ANZ vision is the Co-operative Research Centre for Spatial Information, whose leaders are based at the University of Melbourne and in the Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) section of the NZ Government. While the CRC Spatial Information is the only Australian research organisation officially aligned with the Australian Space Policy, most other CRCs and universities are working on relevant spatial information simulation projects.
> A Virtual Australia and New Zealand Infrastructure (VANZI) Ltd company was registered in Victoria in 2010. Privately funded by Michael Haines, a Melbourne transport and logistics consultant, VANZI now is controlled by the CRC Spatial Information and its Board is being restructured. It organised the first public conference on the VANZ project, held in Sydney in 2012.
> In 2010, the Australian Government allocated $20m (over four years) to establish the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) at the University of Melbourne. In 2012, AURIN allocated $800,000 to the University of Melbourne’s geospatial unit for research towards establishing a national spatial data infrastructure system to underpin VANZ-related activities – and another $800,000 to University of Melbourne researchers to improve modelling of freight logistics at Westgate Ports.
> Simulation Australia, and the Spatial Industries Business Association are the industry peak organisations most directly involved in the geospatial simulation technologies releant to the Virtual ANZ vision.