Spatial Data

Simon Hendry writes:

This week, directory company Yellow (formerly known as Yellow Pages before that brand become too low-tech to be associated with) said its new iPhone application, which makes good use of that particular device’s capabilities, had become the most downloaded local Apple software tool just four days afterrelease.

The application lets users perform functions such as “local search” – using GPS to find details of, and directions to, the nearest business of a specified type.

Done well, this is a cute trick, particularly if you’re a visitor from out of town, in desperate need of a curry, perhaps, but without the first clue about where to find the local Indian restaurant.

I just hope they bring out a blackberry application soon.

The Yellow iPhone app’s popularity is a good example of how businesses and consumers are both eager to make the most of location-based services using spatial information combined with mobile data transmission.

Again – mobile phones and GPS technology is the new big thing.

But a new report commissioned by Land Information NZ, the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Economic Development says we’re missing out on the full economic benefits of our own Government’s treasure trove of spatial information.

According to the report – Spatial information in the New Zealand economy – innovative use of spatial information added at least $1.2 billion to the economy last year through productivity gains, but that figure could have been $500 million higher if technology developers had better access to the Government’s various repositories of spatial data. …

The new report calls for the Government to develop a “national spatial data infrastructure” and Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson – himself a techie from way back – is at least making encouraging noises in agreement.

It’s now a matter, as Williamson puts it, of “knocking away the remaining barriers to more widespread adoption of spatial information”.

The minister seems prepared to do the knocking. Let’s just hope his Cabinet colleagues open the door.

Agree strongly.

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