Australia: Ozri, a conference hosted by Esri Australia, affirmed the growing importance of GIS in councils and governments across Australasia, FutureGov reported. In addition, Australia’s newest bushfire prediction tool was unveiled during the conference. The tool uses data such as a fire’s location, weather forecasts, and topographical and vegetation type, to generate maps that plot the predicted path of a blaze.
The results can then be communicated to emergency services personnel and the public via mobile devices and an early warning website. Landgate Senior Systems Analyst Gerrit van Burgel said Esri’s ArcGIS 10 software underpinned the simulator’s crucial visual interface. “The University of Western Australia (UWA) Bushfire Simulator itself is quite complex, so we needed a user-friendly, visual interface which enables users without a GIS background to use it,” Van Burgel added.
“The control panel enables users to input information that will inform the UWA Simulator, such as the fire’s location and topographical and fuel load datasets. The digital maps generated provide users with a visual picture of the fire’s predicted path.”
According to Kellie Lacey, Technical Director of Ozri, observed, “GIS is making a material difference to key projects around the region, such as with Australia’s first national bushfire prediction system developed by Landgate, and the Queensland’s Reconstruction Authority’s (QRA) Interactive Flood Map.”
During the conference, Major General Dick Wilson, Chair of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and head of Australia’s largest-post disaster reconstruction effort said spatial technology had an increasingly important role in coordinating recovery from natural disasters.
Ozri 2011 drew more than 550 governments, commercial, and not-for-profit professionals from Australia, the Asia Pacific, and the U.S.A – the largest crowd of delegates in its 25 year history. Ozri 2012 will be held from 5 – 7 September in Sydney with the theme A Spatial Odyssey: New Frontiers in GIS.