Free spatial event uncovers new directions

By on 5 February, 2013


From how Thiess saved more than $3million off the bottom line of Australia’s largest roadworks, to how a Council has empowered its community to report issues with a click of their smartphone – the Directions 2013 seminar series promises attendees an unforgettable look into the latest advancements and innovations in GIS.

Some of Australia’s leading geo-enabled enterprises – including Thiess, NSW Road Authority and the Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Project – have confirmed they will be presenting at Esri Australia’s technical road show, Directions 2013.

Directions: Esri Australia’s Tour de Force will kick off in Adelaide on the 18 of February, before touring to Darwin, Townsville, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and finally wrapping up in Hobart on the 8 March.

In addition to an unprecedented number of user presentations from businesses and governments around the country, Directions 2013 – a free event run for Esri software users – will comprise: best practice demonstrations delivered by local technical specialists and industry thought leaders; and, for the first time, visiting international experts.

Directions 2013 technical director, Kellie Persson, said Esri Law Enforcement Manager Mike King – a former detective who has held positions with the FBI and Harvard University – will be attending Directions in Adelaide and Perth to discuss how he has used GIS technology to crack some of the world’s most pressing mysteries.

“Many of our users were first introduced to Mike at last year’s Ozri conference – where he captivated us with how he used spatial thinking to catch one of the United States’ most notorious serial killers; and solve the 2,000 year old murder of King Tut,” said Ms Persson.

“We received so many requests for meetings with Mike that we decided to bring him back for round two!

“At Directions 2013, Mike will introduce audiences to a host of new cases and reveal some of the creative ways the world’s top law enforcement agencies are using GIS to breathe new life into their investigations.”

Beyond fascinating real-life stories, the Directions 2013 program will cover off on many of the latest advancements in the technology, including the growing popularity of Cloud GIS platforms, as well as new innovations in 3D technology and app development.

The program format features a ‘universal’ plenary which will run in each city, before the seminar breaks into several streams of more localised presentations, tailored to each state.

One of the new directions that will be explored in Adelaide, for example, is the growing area of location-intelligent smartphone applications.

Adelaide City Council’s Sonjoy Ghosh will be sharing his organisation’s experiences developing an app that empowers users to instantly report community concerns – such as graffiti or busted street lights – with a click of their smartphones.

Using a technology called CitySourced – available from Esri Australia’s business partner, MapData Services – the Adelaide City Council smartphone app lets users send multimedia reports about city maintenance issues directly to the Council’s customer service centre.

Mr Ghosh said Adelaidians were using the app to log a range of issues.

“Users have been including photographs of damaged lighting in the city parklands, right through to design deficiencies in public assets – for example, a tap that is too high for children to reach in a playground,” he said.

“It’s been great to see the technology create a positive, collaborative experience that gives citizens a sense of ownership of their community.”

At the other end of the spectrum, in Western Australia attendees will discover the role GIS technology is playing in the fight to save the region’s endangered Loggerhead species.

The Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program (GTCP) monitors the breeding activities of several turtle species in Western Australia using GIS technology.

GTCP Environmental Advisor Karen Hattingh will be presenting at Perth Directions, on how the organisation has used GIS technology in all aspects of turtle research; including monitoring the species’ nesting habits and risks faced from predators.

From an engineering perspective, construction company, Thiess, will be attending Directions in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth to reveal how GIS technology helped save more than $3 million from the bottom line of Australia’s largest ever roadworks.

Thiess Project GIS Manager David Jaunay said during the construction of Brisbane’s famous AirportlinkM7 tunnel, there wasn’t an individual among the company’s 4,500 staff whose job was not made easier by the company’s GIS-centric approach.

“The simple layering capability and visual nature of GIS technology facilitates better decision-making,” Mr Jaunay said.

“Once Thiess’ staff became familiar with its advantages, usage went through the roof – with the central web-based viewer receiving up to 350 visits each day.”

Directions 2013: Esri Australia’s Tour de Force will be travelling around Australia during February and March. Registration is free for Esri software users and now open at

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