Location-based intelligence missing a trick in NZ

New Zealand is failing to reap the benefits of location-based intelligence, says the chairman of the Spatial Industries Business Association.

BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand is failing to reap the benefits of location-based intelligence because the government's Geospatial Office is tucked away as part of Land Information, says the chairman of the Spatial Industries Business Association.

Huge amounts of data around place and time, which is increasingly accessed as data visualisation displays in real time by smart phone and tablet devices, could add value to New Zealand, Mike Donald says.

The Geospatial Office's information applies across all government and business and would more beneficially sit under the State Services Commission or Department of Internal Affairs.

Speaking at SIBA's annual conference, Mr Donald says a 2009 ACIL Tasman report predicted a five-year increase in the "spatial dividend" to $4 billion from $1.2 billion if improved funding was put in place.

"This hasn't materialised and New Zealand's missing a trick," says Mr Donald, who is also managing director of Terralink.

Improved location-based intelligence would help everyone from Fonterra helping its farmers to fence to avoid waterways, to insurance companies better determining natural hazard risk, to banks calculating credit risks based on how quickly houses sell in different areas.

Mr Donald says there are more than 100 New Zealand businesses and organisations involved in the local geospatial industry, which is considered world-class in what it delivers.

"Sometimes the government thinks it has to bring in expertise from outside the country for geospatial information and interpretation.

"What we're saying is no, by having our members working together, we can deliver whatever it is the government thinks it needs."

Mr Donald says there is plenty of innovative potential for geospatial app and web applications, and no shortage of ideas that could be developed.

However, unlike many overseas countries where millions of dollars will be invested at the start of a project before any revenue is generated, New Zealand investors shy away from such projects.

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