Wednesday 26 August 2009

Digital Regions Initiative - Australian Government funding opportunities

The Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy is offering to co-fund government programs under its Digital Regions Initiative.
Among other things, this would be an idea way to fund projects which support crowd sourcing of map features to efficiently support emergency and disaster response targets.
Quoting from the EOI:
The Digital Regions Initiative will support projects which will deliver innovative and sustainable services such as those that will:
  • boost innovation in healthcare by enabling services such as remote consultation, diagnosis and treatment in areas where there are specialist skills shortages
  • extend digital education services to enable more regional, rural and remote communities to access improved educational opportunities
  • increase the use of digital technologies to improve emergency and disaster response both within and across state and territory borders.
LISAsoft would be happy to help government agencies on a technical level in putting together a response for the EOI, due 14 September.


Cameron Shorter said...

More from the original press release:

The Digital Regions Initiative is a key element of the Australian Government's initial response to the Regional Telecommunications Review in conjunction with the Rural and Regional National Broadband Network Initiative.

The four year $60 million Australian Government initiative will co-fund innovative digital enablement projects with state, territory and local governments.

It is a collaborative approach to improve the delivery of education, health and/or emergency services in regional, rural and remote communities.

State, territory and local governments seeking funding under the Digital Regions Initiative will be required to provide matching funding. This will enable projects of greater scale, coverage and benefit to regional Australians. The Digital Regions Initiative commenced in 2009 and concludes in 2013.

Register for an info session at:

Unknown said...

Atherton Tablelands GIS might be interested in participating in a collaborative project to further efforts crowd sourcing relevant information from the community.

Through the NDMP funded wildfire mitigation project (, ATGIS are ‘small-crowd’ sourcing fire-related infrastructure such as fire hydrants, fire breaks and trails, water points, fireground hazards and other fire related information.

A collaborative project could exploit this and other existing work and seek to expand on existing functionality to deliver meaningful information to wildfire mitigation stakeholders across different jurisdictions

In addition to the existing crowd sourcing capabilities (currently limited to project stakeholders with a wildfire website user account - eg. volunteer firefighters), I’m interested in a broader functionality, enabling community members to report fire hazards/request interventions (eg. management of overgrown allotments in the I-Zone) to make it easier for fire brigades, fire officers, land managers and local governments to identify and respond to fire hazards in the community.

Whilst public land managers are consistently improving the way in which fire hazards are managed on their estates, fire hazards on freehold land, within peri-urban and rural residential communities are harder to manage and require an initial awareness within the appropriate ‘enforcement’ agency that a hazard exists.

Identifying hazards in the community on a proactive basis is not always cheap and easy. Crowd sourced fire hazard data could act as one additional trigger for follow up by the appropriate agency/authority, helping to allay community concerns and resolve hazards in a proactive manner. Of course community expectations might need to be managed as part of the reporting process, particularly from some of the more enthusiastic participants that might emerge…

From a non-emergency/disaster management perspective, I believe that there are valid opportunities for exploiting crowd-sourcing in a way that contributes to positive health outcomes. For example:

Dengue mosquito breeding sites - The vector for the dengue virus is mosquitoes. Dengue mozzies in Australia typically breed in artificial water-holding containers around the home (eg. pot plant bases, tyres, eskies, boats etc.) and members of the community would probably appreciate the opportunity to report obvious mozzie breeding hotspots, to minimise their own exposure to the dengue virus. In dengue receptive areas, vector control officers do conduct property level inspections, even between dengue outbreaks and notification of properties perceived by the community as hazardous would be a useful input to their surveillance and control activities.

Suspected unhygienic food outlets

Discarded sharps in public places (helping to identify occurrences of clusters of used needles left in kids parks etc.) - Reporting by community members, public spaces workers (eg. council parks and gardens staff) and road workers will help health services identify occurrences of clusters of this behaviour which could then trigger an intervention by the appropriate agency (ie. re/placement of sharps bins, counseling of local pharmacists on appropriate needle sales behaviour etc.).

Delivering this information through an online mapping portal, which captures and presents data along with contextual information, and publishes data for consumption through implementation of a WFS-like standard, may allow exploitation of this data by a very wide variety of users, maximizing the value of these types of data collections.

Please let me know if any of you identify related use cases and see value in collaborating to bring a proposal together.

Alistair Hart (GISP-AP)
GIS Coordinator