Posted by Davina Jackson on 18 Oct 2013

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has chosen the Canterbury earthquake recovery area to prototype a potentially national spatial data infrastructure (SDI) system that could provide online access to public data, mobile applications to improve everyday life for many people, and enable contributions of GPS-enabled, real-time, information from ‘citizen reporters and scientists’ using social networking apps like Twitter.

For example, LINZ’s technical lead for the Canterbury SDI project, Byron Cochrane, says his team is currently developing a mobile GPS app to allow drivers of road vehicles to choose their most efficient travel routes each day, to avoid the city’s constantly changing temporary road blocks around demolition and construction sites.

‘At the moment it is urgent for our team to try to help people driving across Christchurch without knowing which routes they need to take to get around today’s temporary traffic barriers,’ said Cochrane. ‘This is quite a serious problem for parents taking kids to school and professional people trying to get to work.’

The Canterbury SDI project includes eight basic tasks –  which teams of consultants are being hired to demonstrate, strengthen and accelerate.  These are:

> 3D Cities: create an interactive 3D computer model recording buildings lost in the recent earthquakes, plans for new structures, places and flows of activities – to be useful in community consultations.

> Canterbury Maps: provide a single online portal for checking maps showing data on air, water, land transport, council services and recreation options across the region.

> Forward Works Spatial Co-ordination: give government agencies and contractors current information on the locations of underground services (water, gas, sewage, telecoms cables, etc), to help them efficiently plan and co-ordinate different professionals and works on site.

> Open Data and API Support: develop smart phone apps for citizens to access useful information services on the move.

> Property Data Management Framework: allow sharing of reliable data about land titles, parcel dimensions, rating units, buildings, addresses and owners.

> Utilities Data Access: enable efficient data sharing about public utilities across Canterbury recovery agencies.

> Geospatial Data Discovery: accelerate online accessibility of location-based information by public agencies, businesses and community groups.

> GIS Interoperability: set up systems for technical experts to exchange their datasets and co-ordinate their quality standards across a variety of different static structural and dynamic geospatial design, engineering and construction modelling programs.

These eight (overlapping) goals are contributing to seven broader missions in LINZ’s ‘SDI Journey’ towards efficiencies in managing data, standards, access and services, investment, national geospatial education and professional skills, governance and public responsibilities, and cross-sector co-ordination.

LINZ (via its Geospatial Office) is a member of ANZLIC – the Spatial Council, which is the Australian Government-co-ordinated group of national and state land information departments. They are collaborating to establish the trans-Tasman spatial data infrastructure systems that will support the Virtual Australia and New Zealand (VANZ) vision.