GIS Day a chance to showcase data visualisation tools

Published on 16 November 2022

Today marks GIS Day, with thousands of organisations around the globe celebrating the benefits of Geographic Information System technologies.

GIS Day was established in 1999 and the explosion of geospatial technology since then has made real-world GIS applications commonplace in business, government and society.

The City of Launceston has a long history with geographic information systems, using the technology in emergency management planning, city planning and development, and as a data source for publications like the State of the City report.

More than a decade ago, the City of Launceston worked with Google to publish 3D building schematics of Launceston as part of the Google Maps platform.

When the 3D buildings feature was introduced to the app back in 2010, Launceston and Melbourne were the first cities in Australia to be included.

The Council has also used GIS technologies to better understand our natural environment.



In 2016, the City of Launceston conducted an underwater survey of the First Basin, collecting 10,000 data points to establish the maximum depth of the basin at 20.5m — busting a common myth that the Basin is 'bottomless'.

The same year, the Council conducted an aerial survey of the city to develop the first 3D computer model of Launceston, a tool used to guide future planning and development.

In January this year, the Council conducted a new aerial survey, using a helicopter to update the 3D computer models of the municipality.

The aerial survey involved capturing a sequence of 8,686 photographs that were stitched together and imported into specialised software to render an accurate 3D model of the city.

Using 3D LiDAR scans, the Council has even recreated Launceston landmarks like Kings Bridge, UTAS Stadium and the Town Clock in popular video game Minecraft.

Originally developed as a data visualisation demonstration tool for students, the Council made the Minecraft map of Launceston available for download on its website last year.

Launceston Mayor Danny Gibson said GIS technologies were an informative and often fun way to interact with data.

"Because a lot of the GIS tools we use at the City of Launceston are for behind the scenes work related to planning and the day-to-day operation of the city, many people aren't aware of some of the technologies we use," Mayor Gibson said.

"We thought GIS Day would be a great opportunity to demonstrate some of these tools, including the way we record shop vacancy data in the city's central activities district, how we can make better planning decisions, and how we can interact with data about our city in new and creative ways."