Home Natural Hazard Management G-tech used for rebuilding Christchurch after earthquake

G-tech used for rebuilding Christchurch after earthquake

New Zealand: After more than a year since a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch on February 22, 2011 — causing substantial damage to key public infrastructures — the New Zealand government is swiftly moving to rebuild the city to its former glory. Jeremy Gulson, GIS lead at the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team, reveals how GIS technology is being used for this purpose.

The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) is a design and construction alliance between local government authorities, Christchurch City Council, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, New Zealand Transport Agency and private organisations, including the Delivery Teams City Care, Downer, Fletcher Construction, Fulton Hogan and MacDow New Zealand.

At the heart of the plans for rebuilding Christchurch’s underground infrastructure is a one-stop interactive online map that adopts the principles of spatial data infrastructure.

“There were plans to use a local authority council system, but we decided to embark on a collaborative effort to build a system of our own,” Gulson said.

“For the first couple of months we worked extensively on setting up a small local authority GIS team that would work with the council in getting web services feeds from core data sets so that we could effectively build up a database for us to clearly see priorities.”

Gulson said that much of the work involved in getting the utility companies to bring in the data needed for the SCIRT’s design engineers to have a common operating picture of the underground infrastructure.

“Sharing this information in this way is unusual. While it may seem that all cities would have some form of map that covers everything to do with utilities and infrastructure, in reality, each organisation with underground services maintains its own data.”

The result is a centralised spatial database system of the entire project’s horizontal infrastructure data, which not only included utilities but also planning, cadastral, topographic, and environmental data.

The system allows SCIRT to access up-to-date data about the location and state of infrastructure services across the city. This is then integrated with cadastral property data from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), allowing Gulson’s team to better plan their rebuilding activities across a large network in a more coordinated way.

“It serves as a portal that enables us to access all the base datasets so our team and the different design groups have an understanding of what we are really working on and how we should allocate our resources and energy.”

Furthermore, the system enables Gulson’s team to have a city-wide picture of the current condition of all the assets and their prioritisation within the overall work programme — all thanks to the system’s multi-criteria analysis.

Gulson reveals that LINZ is also helping improve this service through a proposed bundle of geospatial projects. These projects aim to assist the Canterbury earthquake rebuild effort as well as to contribute to the development of a national spatial data infrastructure framework for New Zealand.

Source: Future Gov