Geographic Information System Support of the Rebuild

Geographic Information System Support of the Rebuild

Several business systems were chosen to provide efficient and effective data collation, storage, interrogation and reporting for the SCIRT rebuild, using modern, accurate and appropriate technologies. One of those was a Geographic Information System (GIS).

The SCIRT rebuild programme required a great deal of spatial position information to be collated and disseminated to those assessing the state of assets, planning, designing and constructing repairs and rebuild.

In setting up its systems, SCIRT decided to utilise a Geographic Information System (GIS) to meet those needs, after the value of such a system had been proven in rebuild work following the September 2010 earthquake.

Three key components of the GIS were established:

  1. The SCIRT GIS team, which directly supported other SCIRT staff with their immediate spatial data needs.
  2. The SCIRT GIS data management system, which consisted of the database structures, datasets, spatial analysis and required maintenance processes. The system was integrated with other disciplines within SCIRT, providing solutions across all departments: Communications, Assessment, Design, Transport, Delivery, Commercial, and Management. More than 20 organisations passed data to the GIS team, enabling a variety of up-to-date information to be sourced. Key management and engineering tools were migrated into the system, including the Project Prioritisation Multi-criteria Analysis Tool and the Pipe Damage Assessment Tool.
  3. The SCIRT GIS Viewer, providing a single, secure source of city-wide information in a current and user-friendly internet portal, which was quickly accessible and easily interrogated. A user was able to see on screen the same information that a series of maps would provide, while nearly 600 interactive layers provided a wealth of information including the location of underground infrastructure such as pipes and cables, together with surface features and land information.

The use of GIS in SCIRT changed perceptions of what could be achieved for engineering projects, encouraging users to conceive implementation of GIS in their home organisations and provided benefits to the community through better decisions, based on being able to consider a wide range of data more intuitively.

The system was introduced to help support decision making - not to take away from existing design tools - leading to a reputation for providing the most complete catalogue of GIS information required for engineering and rebuild projects.

In 2012, the SCIRT GIS was recognised internationally by winning the ESRI Special Achievement in GIS award. In 2013, the SCIRT GIS team was a finalist in the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards and in 2014, members of the team won both the Young Professional of the Year and the Professional of the Year at the New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards.

Glossary terms:

  • GIS: Geographic Information System is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage and present all types of spatial or geographical data.