Home Natural Hazard Management GIS technology critical in Australia”s flood battle

GIS technology critical in Australia”s flood battle

Australia: Esri Australia recently organised Directions 2013, a three week seminar series launched in Adelaide in February and toured to all of Australia’s capital cities (as well as Townsville).

The Seminar sought to uncover the latest advancements in spatial technology – and showcased some of the most fascinating applications of GIS, Australia-wide.

Key takeaways

3D technology key to development future
3D is always a hot topic in the spatial world – and nowhere was 3D hotter than at Townsville Directions, where attendees were given a glimpse into the future as Council unveiled a sophisticated virtual 3D model of the city that will help shape its planning and development for decades.

In a first for regional Queensland, Townsville City Council is using Esri GIS technology to create a digital 3D map of the state’s unofficial northern capital.Council’s Geospatial Solutions Manager Kenneth Melchert said residents can experience their first taste of this new technology when Council’s new planning scheme is released for community consultation and public notification in the 2nd half of this year.

Council has developed a spatial 3D modelling and visualisation strategy, which includes expanded applications for the 3D Townsville model, such as development assessment and eventually interactive simulations for Council planners and residents alike.

Crime mapping is law enforcement’s next big thing
The use of GIS and crime mapping technologies by Australian police has certainly been increasing – and nowhere was this more evident than during the Directions seminars in Adelaide, Darwin and Perth.

Mike King – a 28-year police veteran and former criminal profiler who is now the National

Law Enforcement Manager at Esri – came out to Australia to present at Directions and meet with police agencies from around the country at various roundtable discussions being held as part of the events.

Specifically, King spoke to attendees about how GIS technology is used to take on violent gangs in the US – and how it could assist our law enforcers in their own fight against organised crime.

“Gang activity and associated data, when properly recorded and managed through GIS technology, allows law enforcement agencies to better understand gang movement, motivation and methodology,” said King.

“Investigators can gain incredibly powerful insights into a situation when they map behavioral and physical factors with other data sources, such as gang boundaries or turfs, demographics and crime statistics.

“This provides police commanders with authoritative, actionable intelligence that can be used to accurately track the criminal activities and movements of gang members.”

GIS is critical in flood proofing the nation
The debate of the role GIS should play in a national approach to flood management again came to the fore during Melbourne’s Directions 2013 event – where one of Australia”s most reputable water management advisors said the technology would be critical for successfully ”flood proofing” the nation.

The message came as calls for a nationwide approach to flood mapping have increased after extreme weather in New South Wales and Queensland over the past summer resulted in the second flood crisis for the east coast in as many years.

Areas such as Bundaberg and Grafton saw hundreds of millimetres of rain fall in single days, resulting in mass evacuations and more than half a billion dollars in insurance claims.

Water Technology Senior Principal Spatial Analyst Georgina Race said GIS technology was integral to both preparing and responding to future flood events.

“GIS technology enables us to map the massive amounts of data that must be taken into consideration when projecting the outcome of large rainfall events,” Race said.

“This data includes land elevation and characteristics, past flood levels, infrastructure building information and seawater levels.

“The technology brings all this information together and allows us to run modelling of the impacts of various rainfall scenarios – such as storm events, sea level rises and even new building and infrastructure developments – to understand the level of inundation that may take place.

“Once inundation is understood, people – from businesses, governments and even the general public – can make better decisions about how to put mitigation measures in place, where to build, how to manage emergency response, and determine numerous other measures that can help reduce the effects of flooding.”

Source: Esri Australia