State Infrastructure Planning System

By Robert Driessen

The Department of Infrastructure Energy and Resources is responsible for providing policy advice to the Tasmanian government and the community in regard to transport, energy, minerals and forestry.

Within this role, it has specific responsibility for determining strategic policy and planning of infrastructure development within the State.

To achieve this role more effectively the department recognised that GIS capabilities have to be upgraded both in staff expertise and tools used.

RIA Mobile GIS was awarded a contract, lasting several years, to provide advice and services in relation to GIS to support infrastructure planning.   During this time the overarching activity has been the development of the State Infrastructure Planning System (SIPS).

RIA assisted with the establishment of the State Infrastructure Planning System (SIPS) within DIER.  SIPS consists of a central repository of all relevant geographic and related data available in Tasmania and a range of tools to make the data easily accessible for policy analysts and planners. The SIPS repository combined with standard access mechanisms allowed for the development of a wide range of planning tools and applications which aided the users to undertake their research productively and efficiently. The outcome has been more reliable analysis and more informed decision making processes.

The main components of the state infrastructure planning system that were developed by RIA are the
– Layer Manager/Catalog
– Freight Transport Analysis
– Resource Extraction Modelling System
– Demographic Data Analysis
– Journey to Work Analysis
– Household Travel Survey

Layer Manager/Catalog

The Layer Manager/Catalog was the main access point for the wealth of data stored in the SIPS data repository. The repository is a diverse collection of data relevant to infrastructure planning throughout the state of Tasmania.  It includes most of the Land Information System Tasmania (LIST) data sets together with demographic data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and environmental, political, land use, cultural and political data from a variety of Local, State and Federal Government Agencies.

The Layer Manager/Catalog allow the user to quickly and easily access and analyse the data sets within the SIPS repository.  A common GIS platform is used to view the data on a standard map base, analyse trends, highlight issues and drill down to the facts.  The SIPS planning tools together with other specific targeted applications have changed the way policy analysts and planners have conducted their work at DIER.


Freight Transport Analysis

Every two years DIER conducts a survey of organisations that have freight demands in Tasmania (Freight Demanders Survey).  Each respondent is asked about the freight that they move through the State’s transport network for a given year.  The survey collects data about commodity, quantity, value, origin, destination and the likely route through the transport network.

RIA Mobile GIS developed a data entry system for the survey results that determined the freight routes through the transport network based on the specifications collected by the survey.  These routes were recorded in a spatial database together with the other information collected by the freight movements.

RIA Mobile GIS also developed an application that allowed the freight data to be easily analysed.  The application is used extensively by planners and analysts within DIER to determine the amount of freight being moved along specific sections of road and/or rail.  The results can be broken down into commodity, company and vehicle type as well as the origin and destination of the freight.


Resource Extraction Modelling System

The Resource Extraction Modeller application assists planners and analysts from DIER to recommend and plan infrastructure development to support existing and potential resource extraction activities.

The application considers a number of broad factors including rise and fall in commodity prices, availability of resources and access to infrastructure.  It makes use of existing State Government data (such as the TIGER database from Mineral Resources Tasmania) and general GIS map display functionality to assist the user to locate potential sites.  The application allows the analyst to interactively specify potential or existing sites using a map base.  The application is then used to perform an infrastructure analysis to determine the distance to relevant infrastructure and the road and rail distance to a specific port.  The results of this analysis together with basic user inputs of resource type, yield and grade are then used to compute the economic viability of all proposed sites.  The analyst can use the application to test alternative scenarios before exporting the results to a spreadsheet.


Demographic Data Analysis

Planners and Analysts at DIER use the Demographic Data Explorer developed by RIA Mobile GIS to access the large repository of census data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The application allows for individual users to query the information they need by  first specifying the required demographic types, time periods and geographical regions and then allowing them to analyse the filter census data in a number of ways.  The final analysis can be viewed as a map display, a chart or a spreadsheet.

The application is controlled via a Wizard interface that assists the planner to build a query on the ABS data.  Using the wizard the user chooses the type of data, the type of analysis to be performed and the geographical areas of interest.  The application provides access to Census data for the years 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, and 2001.  It supports selections for different geographic areas and can then be used to compare changes over different census years.  It is also possible to select a single census year and compare values for different geographic areas.  The application can also be used to combine data from different geographical regions to achieve a combined sum of certain numerical criteria for the combined region.


Journey to Work Analysis

The “Journey to Work Data Explorer” provides access to the ABS data relating to the traffic movements between regions during travel to and from work. Like the Demographic Data Explorer, it allows analysts and planners at DIER to query relevant information and predict traffic for planning purposes.  The Journey to Work Data Explorer tool allows specific time periods, methods of travel and geographical regions to be selected by the planner and then helps them to spatially analyse the resulting filtered census data.  The final analysis can be viewed as a map display or a spreadsheet.


Household Travel Survey

DIER are undertaking a Greater Hobart Household Travel Survey which will capture household travel movements for a 48-hour period including, among other factors, route taken and mode used. RIA Mobile GIS provided an application that allows the travel movements to be automatically mapped along the street network based on input parameters collected by the survey.  In the future a GIS application will be developed to help them explore and analyse the results of the survey.

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  • Client: Tasmanian Department of Infrastructure Energy and Resources
  • Tasks: Design and develop software to support infrastructure planning using ArcGIS
  • Categories: Infrastructure, Software Development