Posted by Davina Jackson on 13 Dec 2012

New Zealand’s Geospatial Strategy, written in 2006 and launched in 2007 by the NZ Geospatial Office, is guiding current responses to the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010 and 2011.

Land Information New Zealand (led by Geospatial Custodian Kevin Sweeney) has been using Canterbury’s post-earthquake challenges as a catalyst to accelerate development of a national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) system that meshes with the emerging global spatial data infrastructure system (GSDI) and web service standards being developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

A ‘Plugfest’ workshop was held in Christchurch in May 2012 to test the online interoperability and data exchange capabilities of the three main commercial GIS software products – from Esri, Pitney Bowes and Intergraph – in use by government operators at the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT), the Christchurch City Council (CCC) and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA).

Only the Intergraph product met the OGC’s Web Feature Service Transaction (WFS-T) standard for creating, updating and deleting geographic features from online maps. However, all the brands were effective in exchanging online data and systems to solve the two  practical challenges prescribed for the workshop participants:

> Submit wastewater assets ‘as-builts’ from SCIRT to the Canterbury council and SCIRT to use water infrastructure data in designing new construction projects.

> Submit updated ‘building status’ data from CERA to the council, then to be released for use by an insurance company.

A commercial consultants’ report released after the Plugfest recommended that the Canterbury recovery partner organisations should undertake additional engineering work to improve the interoperability solutions discovered during the Plugfest.

LINZ intends next to publish several case studies of geospatial solutions for NZ’s environmental challenges.