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Past Project in Detail

Dept Local Govt & Planning - develop a web-based mapping system

30/06/2003

L to R: Shivir Sharma (QUT student) and Russell Josipovic (Dept Local Govt & Planning)   Example of creating a map using EdMap  

DEPT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT & PLANNING

Project duration: 1st semester, 2003

Student: Shivir Sharma, QUT Master of Information Technology

BACKGROUND

The Planning Information and Forecasting Unit (PIFU) of the Dept of Local Government & Planning is a leading provider of strategic planning information and analysis – related to topics such as population dynamics and forecasts, residential dwelling activity and urban land supply – to all levels of Government and the private sector.

It is also responsible for the on-going development of geo-spatial databases used in regional and urban planning, specifically in the planning and the delivery of infrastructure by both the public and private sectors.

Ross Barker, Manager of PIFU was interested in providing a research opportunity for a student and working with the University. This project was put forward to CEED as an ‘experimental’ one, to see if a student could streamline their processes in a problem area. The availability and affordability of a CEED student meant that the project could be undertaken much sooner than would be possible using current Departmental resources.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

To create a dynamic internet-based mapping system (EdMap) for the Planning Information and Forecasting Unit (PIFU) of Dept of Local Govt & Planning, which will enable PIFU to provide continuous, dynamic access to planning information & maps to their clients – in this case Education Queensland - in a timely, efficient and effective manner.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

The project required Shivir to use Internet mapping software such as ArcIMS and programming languages such as JSP. A combination of a web server and a Tomcat server was used to run and load the system.

OUTCOME

An Intranet version of the EdMap system was developed and tested by Shivir, on-schedule. This involved extensive consultation with Education Officers within the PIFU, as well as Russell Josipovic, the Project Manager of EdMap and representatives/users from Education Queensland.

All parties are extremely pleased with the ‘product’ that Shivir has delivered for them. The Education Queensland representatives that attended Shivir’s project ‘seminar’ were also impressed with how much knowledge Shivir gained during a relatively short time about their needs and how they wanted to use the mapping service. As Russell said “everyone who has seen EdMap have raved about it and are convinced it is the way to go in the future”.

BENEFITS OF PROJECT TO DEPT OF LOCAL GOVT & PLANNING

· Much greater process efficiency in providing maps for Education Queensland

· Maps previously took about 2 hours to generate – now they take about 10 minutes!

· Anyone can order and print a map (in many sizes) and customise the details – previously only PIFU staff could order and print maps (due to the complexity and technical difficulty involved)

· The maps always contain the most up to date information (difficult to achieve previously)

EdMap is now a user-friendly web-based interface, which allows the user to order a customised map showing locations of schools within specified geographic areas, catchment area information and other important planning information for Education Queensland.

The next step is to ‘sell’ the EdMap system to upper level management in Education Queensland by convincing them of its benefits, as an Internet solution to their mapping and planning information needs.

TRIALS AND TRIUMPH FOR SHIVIR

As the maps often involve 5 to 7 layers of data, Shivir had a steep learning curve, to learn how to work with the system and software – a challenge he coped with very well according to Ross and Russell. However, there were some challenges along the way – such as losing all his map data a couple of times due to system ‘glitches’! Many hours were then spent re-creating the data from scratch. Shivir put it down to experience and part of the learning process!

After finishing his project, Shivir was asked by the Dept to remain with them on a 3-month contract, to ‘tweak’ EdMap and work on a new project in the Dept. Shivir was very pleased to receive a High Distinction for his CEED project. He certainly enjoyed the challenge of learning new systems and software, as well as designing an automated system for generating detailed maps.

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