NSW Spatial Services: Establishing a SDI

Business Aspect delivers a roadmap for establishing a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) in NSW.

Company Profile
NSW Spatial Services is a business area within the Department of Finance, Service and Innovation and is the key provider of spatial information services across the state.  They convert a wealth of data into a comprehensive and authoritative range of mapping products and services. These support a vast range of community, business and government activity - everything from tourism and land management, to electoral boundaries and bush fire control.

Business Situation
Geospatial data volumes are growing exponentially and so too is their potential to fuel economic, government and societal activity. From navigation apps to emergency services policy planning, NSW’s capacity to remain competitive in the global digital economy depends on how well it can harness the value of this data. 

The NSW Government recognised that they had too much duplication of effort collecting data that was incomplete or not being shared or analysed effectively. In response they established the Location Leadership Group – under the guidance of Spatial Services – to provide a whole of government strategic approach; and this group determined they needed to establish a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI).

“A Spatial Data Infrastructure will establish a federated platform that will allow us to use our spatial data to foster innovation and support government and industry decision making.” 
Wayne Patterson, Director Spatial Operations

A SDI provides a framework to coordinate the access, exchange and use of spatial data effectively and as efficiently as possible.  Key factors and trends driving the NSW Government to establish a SDI include:

  • A proliferation of spatially enabled “portals” and “globes” facilitating industry and community engagement and Open Data policies;
  • Intelligent machine guidance systems and autonomous vehicle navigation in transport, mining and agriculture that will rely on precise positioning infrastructure; 
  • Digital transformation to create virtual real world execution in an information management paradigm for design, construct, maintenance and operation of built assets and interaction with the natural environment, and
  • Ubiquitous Internet – a massive network of sensors, processors and autonomous devices - the Internet of Things, which is driving innovative solutions for business improvement, environmental management and society in general.

What we achieved
Business Aspect was engaged to provide a SDI Strategy in partnership with NSW Spatial Services to firmly establish them as a leader in spatial industry innovation for government, business and the community. 

Adopting an approach used in similar strategic planning engagements to build a foundation for whole of government strategies, Business Aspect carried out the current state (“As-Is”) assessment for NSW government spatial maturity, the capability of moving towards a SDI and creating the roadmap and vision for the SDI.
Business Aspect conducted research to assess SDI maturity in the following six domains:

  1. Strategy: the alignment with Government objectives, which justifies the value proposition and benefits in delivering significantly important outcomes for NSW.
  2. Governance: the spatial data governance, policies and standards, underpinned by the NSW Government Spatial Information forums, interest groups and industry engagement models.
  3. People: the capacity and capability within NSW Government agencies to contribute to the development, implementation and sustainability of a NSW Government SDI.
  4. Spatial Data: data that is accessible, discoverable and in a readily usable and interoperable digital format, including spatial data in the form of digital base maps, thematic layers as well as statistical and foundation spatial data.
  5. Technology: the integration and federation of hardware, software, networks and databases using secure and robust technologies.
  6. Access and Discovery: NSW Government spatial data needs to be discoverable and accessible by government agencies, the commercial and non-profit sectors, academia and the community.

Business Aspect delivered a number of outputs including: 

  • A desktop audit of best practice SDI design and implementation, innovation and trends.
  • A high-level review of current spatial capabilities of NSW Government agencies including applications and platforms.
  • A gap analysis between best practice and current capability of NSW Government agencies including barriers, risks and enablers for an SDI.
  • Roadmap with indicative timeframes to achieve a NSW Government SDI. 

Outcome
The delivery of a roadmap to a NSW Government SDI is an important step towards achieving its vision to create a spatial services platform capable of transforming the way industry, government and academia makes decisions which comprehensively benefits our economy, society and the nation.

“Government will be able to make smarter choices about where to invest in infrastructure and services, business will be able to leverage location based information for new products and services, and the community will have improved access to location based information.”
Wayne Patterson, Director Spatial Operations

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