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September 18th, 2011
Mapping Gov. 2.0 the Key to Better Community Relations

Esri Australia Manager for Federal Government Craig Sandy said the role of GIS and other Gov 2.0 tools during emergency situations triggered a lively discussion.

“Linking cutting-edge mapping technology to social media and public information gathering – known as crowd-sourcing – emerged as a key concept for government emergency response management,” Mr Sandy said.

“The ability to disseminate and receive information during crisis situations was seen as a major advantage of Gov 2.0 technologies and the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) Interactive Map, which was developed by Esri Australia, was cited as a primary example of that.”

The QRA Interactive Map, built using GIS technology, provides comprehensive, real-time reconstruction imagery and information from areas in Queensland affected by the natural disasters earlier this year.

It was recently identified by the World Bank as a ‘best practice’ model for other countries to follow.

FutureGov Congress showcased new developments in public sector service delivery from around the world, and provided a platform for Australian public servants to meet and interact with their international and national peers.

A who’s who of international public service leaders took part in the table discussions, including the Australian Government’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Ann Steward, Senator Kate Lundy, and Canadian Government CIO Corinne Charette.

Mr Sandy said the Esri Australia table was amongst the most topical at FutureGov and attracted representatives from a wide range of industries, including health, taxation, environmental management and emergency services.

“There is a global push for all levels of government to embrace collaborative Web 2.0 technologies, such as social media platforms, blogs and wikis,to deliver increased transparency,” Mr Sandy said.

“This meant many participants already had an understanding of where we are and where we should be heading in terms of open government and Web 2.0.

“Issues such as the geo-tagging of Twitter, which enables governments to tie a location to opinions and concerns, really sparked debate.

“When you add in the variety of different government departments, and the participants’ varying public service backgrounds, the round-table discussion formed a powerful think tank of perspectives regarding the link between geography, GIS technology and government-community relations.”