South Australia’s Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) has fought off fierce competition from 400,000 other organisations to scoop an award for its innovative community website, MapIQ.
The Department won the Special Achievement in GIS Award, presented by global mapping giant Esri, for its community portal through which people can access more than 7,000 community services in South Australia including Connecting Up Australia, Service SA, Centrelink, and Adelaide Metro.
The portal includes incredibly detailed information at postcode and neighbourhood level and is also linked to datasets such as a breakdown of social housing stock by community housing and public housing by local government area and air quality monitoring.
DCSI Manager of Business and Location Intelligence Services Gary Maguire said the system was originally developed after DCSI staff, many of whom work in particular geographical areas, requested a pin map showing where services were.
“We used to have a handbook with all the services listed in a directory. We decided to enable that in more of a digital platform. You type in a service or search for a name and it’s basically a digitally-enabled handbook,” Mr Maguire said.
The site has been a hit so far with staff and community members with around 500 visitors and 60 per cent repeat visitors per month.
“People who use it really like it because they can find a lot of information and really quickly,” Mr Maguire said.
MapIQ gives DCIS staff and users access to an incredible range of information, including aboriginal health services, Red Cross outlets, Salvos stores, disability services, libraries and public transport locations linked to timetables.
The system links to the council’s internal datasets, including demographic data showing families at risk and vulnerable youth.
“It’s really useful for the not-for-profit sector to find out where the services are, where they have to go and the possible demand for services. It’s helpful for applying for grants too,” he said.
The service could also be used by people moving into a new area or by people who did not know their neighbourhood very well to pinpoint schools, public transport and other services near their house.
MapIQ was relatively inexpensive for DCSI, costing $60,000 to $70,000 for staff, data and technology costs and a further $16,000 to establish a mobile platform so users can access the information with smartphones or tablets.
Mr Maguire said the award was not just about MapIQ but the mapping culture developed in the department, along with the health and community sector.
Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion Zoe Bettison said she was delighted the Department’s innovation and hard work had been recognised on a global stage.
“I congratulate DCSI and its team of specialist staff for leading the successful implementation of GIS technology in South Australia,” Ms Bettison said.
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