GeoNext 2013 location data sharing panel

By on 12 March, 2013


GeoNext 2013 featured a panel entitled Location Data Sharing: Policy and Practice. The panel comprised members of both the public and private sectors, and discussed the opportunities arising from new policies surrounding open data, and the barriers impeding ‘openness’ that still exist in government.

Panel members included:

  • Helen Owens – General Manager, Office of Spatial Policy (ACT)
  • Wayne Patterson – NSW Land & Property Information
  • Paul Cousins – Head of Geo ANZ, Google Australia
  • Hugh Saalmans – GIS Development Manager, Insurance Australia Group – Direct Insurance

Just some of the issues that came to light included:

  • Helen Owens said that every natural disaster requires timely, accurate spatial data, yet, more often than not, it isn’t available due to costs or policy. Yet, because it’s an emergency, these restrictions are often transcended, bypassed, or otherwise overcome. Why is it only during emergencies that new methods – outside of restrictive policy – occur?
  • Hugh Saalmans noted that, while cost-benefit analyses are undertaken, the biggest barrier to data usage in the insurance industry isn’t cost – it’s availability.
  • Wayne Patterson retold the tale that, 20 years ago, the Ambulance service couldn’t afford to purchase data crucial to its operations (this was before emergency services received data for free) – cost can affect who is able to access data, even though they can create great societal value from it.
  • Paul Cousins stated that consumer expectations around software – geospatial or otherwise – are causing organisations to change – their employees want to work the way that they live. Google Maps is an example of this, and was responsible for a great many organisations having to update their archaic mapping services.
  • The costs associated with delivery of free data can be greatly reduced when OGC interoperability standards are employed – no longer do employees need to play around with extracting and reformatting data, when customers can be provided with a web portal or service to extract or access the data themselves

Additional thanks go to Maurits van der Vlugt, who moderated the panel.

The panel was supported by Office of Spatial Policy at the Dept Resources, Energy and Tourism.

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