The view from the top of IT with TechWorld Editor Rohan Pearce
Since 2006 Frankston City Council in Victoria has been using a customised geographic information system (GIS) application connected to GPS to manage inspections and work orders of drainage infrastructure comprising some 36,000 pits and hundreds of kilometres of pipes.
Back in 2009, the council’s senior GIS/GPS specialist Paul Bormann told online newspaper Local Government Focus: “The system does not just capture data, it handles the whole workflow from scheduling of inspections, to actually undertaking and completing the works. Field workers can enter inspection and maintenance data directly into a portable tablet computer, eliminating the use of outdated and inaccurate maps, along with the associated difficulty of updating maps by hand in the field.”
Bormann said the initiative had provided substantial benefits and cost savings for the council, allowing greater productivity through faster and more accurate location of drainage points. It’s just one of many ways in which Australia’s local councils are making innovative and very practical use of GIS.
These technologies can enhance the effectiveness of field asset and workforce management tools like those provided by FieldTec, the leading provider of such tools to the Australian utilities and local governments. However there is presently a lack of understanding as to exactly how local governments are using GIS. This is despite local governments being the largest users of GIS in Australia.
That is about to change: a landmark study is underway to discover exactly how local governments around Australia are using GIS. It’s being undertaken by the spatial sector’s professional representative body, the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) and GIS company Esri Australia.
SSSI president Gary Maguire said: “We’ve thrown our full support behind what is an incredibly valuable piece of research for local governments and the spatial industry as a whole.”
He added: Of particular interest will be how local governments are using geospatial professionals to gather and map information. The skills of these people are increasingly important in the area of natural disaster response, as we have seen in recent times.”
The survey is being undertaken online. Councils wishing to take part can do so at www.esriaustralia.com.au/benchmark-study. Participation will give them access to the final report, enabling them to see how their application of GIS compares to those by local governments across Australia. The study closes 13 March and the results will be released in April.
To find out more about FieldTec's Mobile workforce and asset management solution, visit: www.fieldtec.com