Invasive Species – Spatial Data Management Review

By Robert Driessen

The Invasive Species Branch of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks Water and Environment (DPIPWE) had evolved rapidly to deal with the threat of invasive species in Tasmania. In a short period the group had to integrate disparate existing work groups and develop solutions and systems to support existing and new programs and projects.  This was done, particularly in the Fox Eradication Program, in the absence of any real information technology support. Despite this, staff members developed innovative solutions based on global positioning systems and geographic information systems to help them with the eradication program. Although these solutions worked well within each group, there was no real coordination and integration across the branch and they were aware that the management of their spatial information could be significantly improved. As part of creation of the Branch, management wanted to review current spatial information management practices with the view to introducing a central system that would underpin all branch activities.

Role within Project.

RIA Mobile GIS were contracted to undertake a spatial information management review of the Invasive Species Branch for DPIPWE. RIA used a well defined seven step process to conduct the review. The review started with an examination of the strategic objectives of the branch and the department to ensure that any analyses and recommendations were considered in the light of these objectives. Workshops were then conducted by RIA to introduce staff members to current technology and identify key requirements of an information system. RIA then translated these key requirements into information products in collaboration with management and then explored and described each product in detail by conducting interviews with relevant members of the branch. These outputs then defined how the system should be constructed to meet those needs. Existing systems and data management processes and practices were also concurrently assessed by RIA. The fifth step involved matching branch wide information requirements against the capabilities of the existing system so that recommendations and an implementation plan could be developed as part of the sixth step. In the final step RIA presented the solution to management.

The process used for the review provided a clear understanding of the objectives, challenges and limitations of the existing information management practices of the Invasive Species Branch. More importantly it also provided a clear understanding of what information staff members need in order to perform their tasks effectively. The process was also collaborative so that the relevant staff members could be involved in the review and so developed and understanding of current limitations and how these might be overcome.

Photo Credits: Invasive Species Branch, DPIPWE.

It is vitally important that all Tasmanians and visitors to the state immediately report fox sightings or any possible evidence of fox activity to the 24-hour fox hotline: 1300 FOX OUT (1300 369 688)

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  • Client: Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks Water and Environment
  • Tasks: Review and report on spatial data management practices within division and provide recomendations
  • Categories: Environmental Management, Strategic Review