Posted by Davina Jackson on 7 Jul 2014

Australia’s macro-economic trends are being cross-analysed with local statistics for 2214 economic activity areas identified by geospatial experts at global consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Expanding a geospatial trends and behaviours modelling system created by Queensland Treasury for measuring economic activity in small regions, PwC’s new Geospatial Economic Model (GEM) analyses data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and various sources for 19 industries to record economic activities back to 2000-01 and predict economic trends to 2020. GEM exploits a spatially enabled relational database which can be selectively visualised in three dimensional diagrams and videos across time.

As well as identifying core economic outputs for each location, PwC’s GEM group claims it can consistently track socio-economic performances and predictions for its 19 surveyed industries across the 2214 localities (each with approximate populations of 10,000).

The GEM system cross-references datasets across seven ‘lenses’ of activity underpinning Australia’s productivity: social and demographic, retail and customer, transport and infrastructure, economic, industry, labour force and climate.

While the ABS regularly reports on gross domestic (national) product (GDP) and gross state product (GSP) performances, PwC’s GEM system is offering more detailed analyses of gross small area product (GSAP) – potentially of considerable interest to city and local governments, and their largest industry and state and federal government stakeholders.

PWC spruiks GEM as ‘nothing short of a step-change in the way policy and business leaders can understand and deliver growth’. The company suggests its modelling can reliably visualise these topical issues:

—Where are property prices out of sync with the economic, demographic and infrastructure characteristics of a local area?

—What would the economic terrain of Western Sydney look like with a second airport at Badgery’s Creek?

—What does a vision for Northern Australia look like on the ground?

—What are the local economic risks of changing climate and natural disasters?

—Where is Australia’s infrastructure backlog most pronounced and what industries and locations are most affected?

PwC’s white paper on the GEM is Australia Uncovered: A new lens for understanding our evolving economy.