GIS as an efficient tool to manage educational services and infrastructure in NSW

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“GIS system allows planners and school district administrators the ability to make more efficient and effective decisions regarding district planning”

Department of Education – The Client

In accordance with the A Plan For Growing Sydney (2014), increases in the supply of housing and jobs will be focused on, together with better public transport. There are significant areas of planned dwelling and population increase. It is predicted that an additional 1.6 million people are expected in Sydney alone, an unprecedented population growth.  It requires an efficient planning mechanism for infrastructure to meet such rapid growth.

The Project

The massive growth in the numbers of the under-15 population will have significant implications for education services. In order to provide a financially and environmentally sustainable school infrastructure that enables NSW to grow and become more productive, there is a necessity to focus on strategic outcomes that involve supporting quality education in local schools and meet community needs.

Our role

Working with the NSW Department of Education, we implemented a complete geographical solution which allowed for project planning and school projecting for the next 15 years.

  1. a) Data Collection and Database Management

GIS was used to determine hot spots areas, where new schools need to be built based on a series of factors; including population projections, enrolment demand, land use planning and geographical boundaries. This data was combined and overlayed with other information including, demographics, growth centers, and existing/planned infrastructures, to create a high detailed analysis and to determine areas of priorities.

School clusters were given priorities from low to high based on this analysis. These priority areas were refined through detailed Cluster Plans.

  1. b) QA/QC of data, mapping, and integration of solutions

We mapped and quality assured all existing geospatial data to ensure high accuracy results. We also integrated existing database solutions with our geospatial solutions for an improved product.

  1. c) Webmap implementation

We created a user-friendly online portal to centralise and facilitate the management of information and decision making.

With our customised interactive map, we made it easier for everyone to find and visualise only the important information, speeding access and dissemination of information to all involved in the project, including technical teams and managers. We also created automated templates which allow relevant departments to create and publish hundreds of maps swiftly and conveniently.

  1. d) Training and support

We offered training and ongoing support to members of the Department of Education that regularly use geospatial systems. This boosted skill levels and increased confidence when handling these systems on an everyday basis.

Summary

The use of our specialised service enabled planners and demographers to make more effective and efficient decisions regarding planning and school projections. Our online portal improved information access and sharing, for all involved in the project.

Thanks to the success of the Sydney Metro Area project, we were subsequently invited to also roll out the Regional Areas project for the entire state of New South Wales.