Planning for nature
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) would like its customers to have easier mobile access to biodiversity information for a user-specified area. Mobile phone access to the state’s species and ecosystem data will enhance customer service by expanding the use of popular existing web-based mapping applications.
Overview of the problem
DEHP is seeking to provide easier access to biodiversity and environmental information to deliver new services such as Environmental Reports on-line. These reports provide information from multiple data sources to provide customers with concise, detailed summary information relevant to a particular area of interest. The suite of biodiversity information includes spatial extent and other details of remnant regional ecosystems, wetlands, species records, habitat for threatened wildlife and the results of studies that identify the conservation significance of areas.
Queensland is committed to sustainable development and there are several regulatory and planning mechanisms that help achieve this outcome. For example; under Queensland’s planning framework developers are obliged to protect biodiversity values identified under various planning zones. In another example, clearing of essential habitat under the vegetation management framework must take impacts on threatened species into account. To help farmers, developers and industry (i.e. miners) plan their developments they need ready access to biodiversity data. Better and faster information about biodiversity will improve development decisions and protect biodiversity.
The current system has limitations on ease of access. Providing smart phone access to biodiversity information on the values (especially regulated matters) will help deliver the improved outcomes for industry and the environment.
Opportunity for applicants
The Testing Within Government (TWiG) Program aims to help Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to improve the positioning of their products for government and large enterprise markets by working collaboratively with Queensland Government on a range of problems.
Applicants are invited to propose ICT solutions to these problems, and if selected, receive funding to test their product in collaboration with Queensland Government.
Being selected as part of the program will offer the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and experience improving the potential to access broader commercial opportunities in Queensland, Australia and abroad.
At the end of the program, the applicants will have an opportunity to showcase their products and their TWiG program experience to a wide group of government representatives, which could lead to a procurement activity in Queensland Government.
Why is it important
There are several reasons:
- The provision of easy to understand and simple to access biodiversity data will improve use of biodiversity information and conservation outcomes.
- Industry needs efficient access to information on likely regulatory requirements that impact on their development activities.
- Enable better, data-driven environmental outcomes.
- Land developers
- agricultural businesses
- the resource industry and the community.
How the problem is currently being solved
One of the public systems is ‘Maps Online’ which delivers PDF maps and reports directly to users in government, business and the general public. Maps Online is a popular application currently generating around 150,000 pdf reports for over 25+ different reporting services annually. A web service/API can now be used to access information about all the available map services and make a request. This now provides developers opportunities to create new implementations of the maps online service, e.g. mobile app.
The environmental data is downloaded in the form of custom pdf reports (400- 500 reports are downloaded per month from the portal). A client is able to select the report type(s), enter an area of interest (i.e. Lot / Plan) and an email address where the reports can be sent.
Examples of the data can be found at:
- Offered as a service
- Internet/mobile accessible
- Security of the information
- Accessing corporate data such as that contained within the Spatial Information Resource (SIR) database.
Providing easy and simple access to biodiversity data (through smartphones) will improve the availability of the data. The benefits of easier access include:
- Improved efficiency and effectiveness of government services – having a single point of access for biodiversity state interests.
- Enabling better, data-driven environmental outcomes.