November 05, 2012 -- An ingenious Australian mapping technology that has transformed the way a New Zealand government connects with its residents has received international recognition at a regional ICT conference in Auckland today.
Dekho, an Australian-developed web mapping platform, has been praised at the Esri Asia Pacific User Conference (APUC) for helping provide Marlborough residents with access to government information in detail never before available to the public.
Marlborough District Council joins a growing list of Asia Pacific organisations – including regional energy giant Singapore Power and Australia’s largest local government Brisbane City Council – which have turned to Dekho to create intelligent online maps.
Addressing more than 500 of the world’s leading Geographic Information System (GIS) professionals at APUC, Marlborough District Council Solutions Architect Grant Carroll said the technology provides a comprehensive visual display of civic information to users across the region.
“Through Dekho, we’ve developed an interactive, intelligent mapping website that provides the residents of Marlborough with a new level of access to our council information,” Mr Carroll said.
“The technology layers Council’s data over an online map of the district to provide the public with user-friendly, around-the-clock access to information – such as property reports, planning and zoning data, aerial photographs and utility statements – that was previously only available by contacting Council during business hours.
“For example, residents can search an address and instantly access a detailed property report that contains current land values, rates, and facilities for that property and surrounding properties.
“Giving our citizens faster, easier access to Council information helps them make more informed decisions on issues such as property purchases, renovations, expansions and developments and Council services.
“And because they can do this autonomously online, our own staff are freed up to concentrate on other Council tasks – which has made our internal operations far more efficient.”
Marlborough’s online map is the latest chapter in a lengthy history of GIS technology use for the council, which has used the software internally to manage its information for more than eight years, including four with Dekho.
Mr Carroll said that thanks to the user-friendly nature of online maps, Dekho was now also helping Council meet the community’s growing demand for greater visibility of government activities.
“There is certainly a drive internally within Marlborough District Council to align with the open government philosophy,” Mr Carroll said.
“The community has come to expect greater levels of transparency from us – and we are continuously seeking new ways to leverage technology to connect with our citizens.
“By using intelligent mapping platforms like Dekho, we can more easily meet this growing hunger for knowledge – and ensure we are providing information to people in a meaningful way.
“We’ve found that presenting our information in a visual, map-based format makes it instantly accessible to any member of the community, regardless of their educational background or the language they speak.”
Developed by Esri Australia – the nation’s leading GIS company – Dekho draws on more than 30 years of technology research and development.
The technology has been a key drawcard at APUC, which has brought together spatial professionals, software developers, business leaders and everyday users from across the Asia Pacific to discuss the latest advances and future directions of GIS technology.
High profile APUC attendees include: global GIS pioneer and Esri founder, Jack Dangermond; and Brett Bundock, who sits at the helm of six of the Asia Pacific’s largest GIS companies, including Esri Australia.
APUC is being held at Skycity Auckland Convention Centre, New Zealand, and concludes on Wednesday 7 November 2012.
Marlborough District Council’s online maps are available at: www.marlborough.govt.nz/Services/Maps