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The first data from the 2016 Census has just been released so it's important to take time to understand the different geographies used by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and what data is being released for each of them.

Spatial Vision recently completed a project for the Electoral Commission of Queensland preparing a series of maps for new electoral district boundaries.  As well as the maps, there was a legislative requirement that ‘metes and bounds’ boundary descriptions be prepared for the new boundaries for publication in the Queensland Government Gazette .

Over the last 20+ years much has been done to reduce deaths on Victorian roads.  From 1996 to 2016 number of deaths dropped from 418 to 291. This year the death toll stands at 103, approximately 14% down on the same period last year.

The 2026Agenda and Road Map was released at the very successful joint ISDE International Symposium/Locate 17 Conference in Sydney last month. As co-chair of the 2026Agenda Working Group, I was pleased to note the near universal support the Strategy has achieved.

Work on the 2026Agenda started in July 2016, and has since engaged more than 400 individuals through a combination of Leadership Forums across Australia and one-on-one interviews with representatives of priority sectors including agriculture, health, transport and energy amongst others.

Late 2016 the Commonwealth Government advised it was releasing more funding under the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Program which aims to contribute to the broader goals of science engagement in Australia.  These goals are to inspire, motivate and cultivate a scientifically engaged community, optimistic about its future with Australian governments at all levels recognising the importance of effective science communication, and public engagement with the sciences. The program provides funding for grants and prizes, through both open and closed application processes. One such grant was for Citizen Science which provided competitive grants for nationally significant citizen science projects.

Recently Spatial Vision’s VicMap Book team, toured the books printing, binding and distribution sites to see the latest Victorian made VicMap books being produced first hand. The entire production process is completed in Victoria making it a truly locally made product for regional communities.

First published in 2006, Spatial Visions VicMap Book is a detailed state-wide “rural street directory” for Victoria. Developed in partnership with Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) it is used extensively by Emergency Services Organisations (ESO), Local Governments and other agencies. Currently in its 5th edition, there are five Map books published covering all of regional Victoria.

Late September, I attended the Prevalent and Preventable conference supported by AWAVA and OurWATch in Adelaide. The conference is the first of its kind, providing key insights into the prevention of Violence Against Women and their Children. The reason for attending the conference was to gain a better understanding of the national issue regarding Violence Against Women and their Children and to identify possible actions Spatial Vision can take to help reduce the prevalence and identify innovative ideas to help organisations in early prevention through an understanding of data. 

A recent article in the Sunday Age titled “What lurks beneath? Victoria’s toxic challenge” highlighted a number of issues regarding the difficulties associated with identifying contaminated sites in Victoria. The same issues are associated with other Australian states.

Over the recent Queens Birthday long weekend the annual list of Queens Birthday awards were announced by the Governor General. Based on 2016 list of award recipients, Spatial Vision has mapped these across the country so you can find your nearest award recipient.

The best solutions are often dead simple. Here at Spatial Vision, we started using GIS Cloud, an online mapping platform, just a few years ago, but we knew a winner when we saw it. Easy to get going without compromising on features. 

Turns out, Victoria’s arborists knew a great platform when they saw it too. Within months firms all across the state were using GIS Cloud to build maps of the trees on the properties they manage. At your desk or on your phone, a robust database of every tree that falls under your purview, complete with any information you care to catalog about the plant, including photos of the branch situation. Let GIS Cloud colour code the trees based on their current condition, by how long it’s been since you’ve checked up on them or simply by species. 

You can provide a physical world contextual experience to your customers, create a more safer work place, provide an innovative and effective accessibility options for visually impaired – some of the benefits for making your mobile apps location aware.

Proximity and Location Aware Technologies enable a mobile app to detect current location and then use this information to control events and information. As the technology matures and becomes more accessible, Mobile Apps utilise the location aware technologies. This new technology is increasingly being used by various organisations to engage their customers in delivering location-aware or location-specific services, collect valuable data in the field via citizen science/crowd sourcing and enable them to help explore facilities and services in large venues. 

Safeguarding humpbacks whales against migratory interference. Shutting down illegal trash dumping through the identification of problem areas. Interactive biodiversity education tools for Victoria’s classrooms.

These diverse problems are all being addressed through mobile applications developed by Spatial Vision and key stakeholders that rely on one of the greatest untapped resources of the modern day: crowdsourced data. With nearly every Australian owning a mobile phone, the possibilities for cooperation between citizens and stakeholders are enormous, as demonstrated in a presentation by Katie Dick, one of our senior analysts at the Locate16 conference.

Katie Dick presented at Locate16 on a somewhat bleak, yet current topic.

Today, violence against women is the biggest contributor to ill health and premature death in women aged 15–44*. A subsequent result of violence can be the onset of mental illness, such as anxiety and depression.

You would think that there are no excuse for people getting lost these days with smart phones, GPS and map apps, but they do.
Doug Incoll, the Alpine Cluster Commander, stationed at Bright Police can tell many stories of people getting lost and needing assistance too often because they weren’t prepared. The high country around Bright is very beautiful but can turn deadly very quickly at any time of year.

In February this year, data nerds across Australia were waiting with bated breath for the greatly anticipated release of the PSMA’s G-NAF dataset. At last: the multi-sourced, multifaceted, Australia wide collection of geocoded addresses was going to be free and open for everyone.

Introducing the latest advancement which seamlessly connects your business to the cloud.

As a graduate, new things fly across your desk daily, mostly met with a wary smile belying an inner voice yelling “what is that?!” At Spatial Vision being a graduate provides countless opportunities to invariably splash your imagination against the canvas of the burgeoning geospatial industry. None more so than the graduate cadetship project. An opportunity to take 120 hours and dive down the rabbit hole. Which is why when performing daily tasks your mind can afford to answer that little question with the intrigue it deserves.

The plugin contains a simple tool to add noise to spatial data for the purposes of maintaining “geo-indistinguishability”, i.e. an individual’s true location shouldn’t be able to be determined by the location of the point, but it should be accurate enough to make a useful study of the data. This is done by computing a random number from a 2d laplacian distribution and migrating the origin point by this much. It’s an implementation of the algorithm implemented in [1], and inspired / based on the implementation in the location-guard browser extension.

There are many definitions of Smart Cities and examples of what they can achieve. However, it would appear that there is no cogent model or framework to define them let alone measure their success. That being said, Marc Jadoul from Alcatel Lucent has laid out four steps to build Smarter Cities in a recent presentation: 

1. Networked infrastructure
2. Big data and open data
3. Smart public services
4. Citizen applications

Not surprisingly, a network communications platform is the foundation for the plan. Jadoul was very complimentary on Australia’s investment in the National broadband Network (NBN) that will assist to establish high speed connectivity across the country.

The second step is about data and governance. Data comes in many forms and sources. Jadoul reckons that ‘big data’ is the oil of the 21st century. With already more things connected to the internet than people on our planet, the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a wealth of (big) data to be tapped. Our smart phones and cars are already generating legions of dynamic data from multiple sensors. Combined with sensors tied to all sorts of assets such street lights, CCTV cameras, shipping containers and even connected coffee pots our cup runneth over.

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