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April 18th, 2013
Study Forecasts Bright Future for GIS Industry in Australia

While the local government sector is already Australia’s largest user of GIS technology, the Study showed 38 per cent of councils surveyed planned to increase their GIS technology budget in the near future.

It also confirmed use of the technology remained widespread in the sector, with 85 per cent of respondents reporting they provide GIS access to all departments within their organisations and 68 per cent indicating the value of the technology is becoming widely understood across their organisations.

Speaking from the launch of the Study at the SSSI annual conference in Canberra today, Esri Australia Managing Director Brett Bundock said it is clear the role of GIS technology within the local government sector is expanding.

“As the findings of the 2013 GIS in Local Government Benchmark Study attest, the past few years have seen significant change across the spatial industry, brought on largely by the growing demand for GIS capabilities,” Mr Bundock said.

“The deployment of Cloud-based solutions, enhanced mobile capabilities; and the use of crowdsourced data – are typical of the advancements fuelling this demand.

“Local governments have traditionally been early adopters of GIS advancements and, as a result, are responsible for driving innovation within spatial deployments.

“For example, Gold Coast City Council was the first organisation in Australia to achieve a fully-integrated geo-enabled SAP implementation; and since then numerous groups around the country have followed suit.”

Mr Bundock said the Study sought to explore these types of achievements – and throw a light on ‘where to next’ for Australia’s local governments.

“One of the takeaways from the Study is the ambition many councils show to break ground in new areas – whether it’s using GIS to verify crowdsourced data during an emergency, or as a means to instigate a two-way conversation with members of the public via smartphone apps.

“The insights gathered from the Study reveal a promising future for our industry because, when it comes to GIS usage, where local government goes, the broader user community invariably follows.”

According to Study respondents, asset management (97 per cent), planning and analysis (94 per cent), customer service (89 per cent) and emergency management (71 per cent) are the key areas in which the technology is currently used by councils.

Priorities for deployment over the next five years included mobile roll-outs, imagery solutions and Cloud-based GIS services.

SSSI President Gary Maguire said the Study provided a reliable indication of where the geospatial profession was heading.

“Look between the lines of this survey and you will see a vibrant future for the geospatial profession,” Mr Maguire said.

“There are key insights into where the geospatial industry is heading, including trends like Cloud-based services, mobile GIS, data sharing, evidence-based decisions and situational awareness.

“The Study provides evidence of why geospatial technology will become more and more essential in the future – and highlights the important role of geospatial professionals.”