Local government GIS survey finds need for automation

By on 28 October, 2014

1Spatial local government survey

1Spatial Group has released the results of a survey it conducted of Australian local government organisations’ use of geospatial data.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Over half (52%) of the 29 NSW councils surveyed spend most of their time performing manual processes when working with or managing geospatial data;
  • Staff and skills limitations (48% of councils) and/or budget constraints (48%) are the most common factors preventing councils from doing more with GIS systems or maps to provide more map-based solutions to their staff and to the public;
  • 38% also say that data quality levels mean geospatial data is not currently fit for providing more map-based solutions and 28% have no clear GIS/mapping strategy to guide future geospatial objectives;
  • 76% say that they would benefit from in-field mobile/table data capture/editing of geospatial data and 66% from data quality validation/improvement; and
  • 69% of councils say that they would benefit from an automated public-facing system for Section 149 Certificate pre-assessments.

“Survey findings about the prevalence of manual processes and staff and skill limitations are a concern,” said Martin Gregory, country manager for 1Spatial Australia. “Many councils are being forced to perform geospatial data management tasks manually because their data is not readily accessible and fit for purpose in terms of quality and integration with other council datasets.

“On the plus side, smart geospatial technologies deployed for in-field editing, data quality validation/improvement, and data integration could help councils provide more map-based solutions,” said Gregory. “With improved geospatial data quality and integration, councils could automate more responses to their common mapping requests such as producing reports and contributing to emergency services plans – all with the press of a button – freeing up valuable time for the councils’ skilled GIS staff.”

Other findings of the 1Spatial Australian Local Government GIS Survey include:

  • Substantial progress is being made towards supporting in-field feedback by council operatives for reporting address errors, asset defects and utility leaks/outages (10% completed, 41% implementing, 21% planning to) and the ability to geotag and upload photos (14% completed, 17% implementing, 31% planning to);
  • Progress is also being made towards providing public web mapping services including property reports (3% completed, 17% implementing, 28% planning to), incident reporting (3%/7%/38%), community information (4%/3%/31%), landowner reporting (0%/10%/24%) and disaster area registration (0%/17%/10%);
  • 62% of respondents say they would benefit from the integration of spatial data with other data sources held by council and 48% from a more modern, improved look and feel, public facing web mapping application; and
  • Only 21% of councils are already compliant with the requirements of the ePlanning for NSW initiative, with 31% of respondents not familiar with the initiative.

“While many councils are modernising their geospatial systems by supporting in-field feedback from operatives and providing public web mapping services, a huge gap remains between expectations for geospatial technology and the reality,” said Gregory. “Lack of awareness of the ePlanning for NSW initiative is particularly worrying given the intended NSW Planning Portal Release 1 go-live date in Q4 of next year.”

For complete results of the 1Spatial Australian Local Government GIS Survey, please visit 1Spatial.

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