Smart Cities for the future

Innovation and reinvigoration are at the heart of the Greater Launceston Transformation Project, which brings together three levels of government and local partners to create a vibrant and liveable Greater Launceston region.

Geoscape partner, Sensing Value, delivers powerful 2D and 3D digital modelling, including new simulation capabilities, to provide strategic insight for the four local councils participating in the project – a collaborative endeavor of the Tasmanian Government, the University of Tasmania and the cities of Launceston, Meander Valley, West Tamar and Georgetown.

“Greater Launceston is embracing the future of strategic planning through its use of emerging data and 3D simulation technologies, generating insights that will support the initiatives of the new regional innovation ecosystem,” said Sara Bennett, Co-owner and Managing Director of Sensing Value.

During two years of project scoping and now through implementation, Sensing Value is layering datasets and providing visual representations of entire land areas to help local councils tackle long-term issues concerning social equity, education attainment and economic opportunity.

Visualisation of Launceston land use
Visualisation of Launceston land use

“We’ve been able to sit with strategic planners and hear about their issues and identify how analytical tools are going to help in the next generation of planning,” said David McCloskey, Co-owner and Founding Director, Sensing Value.

The digital city models will revolutionise regulatory development application processes by providing local councils with the ability to simulate how land use planning decisions affect the future functioning of the city.

It’s an excellent example of going beyond static, standalone GIS images to create highly analysable, accurate data that can support productive and realistic decision-making.

And Geoscape is helping make it possible.

Accessible location data for every address in Australia

Before the arrival of Geoscape, reliable and accurate geospatial models of Australia’s built environment were expensive and difficult to efficiently create for regional areas. With Geoscape, geospatial data including building footprints and heights, tree coverage and surface cover can be seamlessly combined with other data and technology to accurately represent regions such as the Greater Launceston area.

“Geoscape is one of our base layers of data – it’s accurate, foundational data providing analytical capabilities for scenario modeling,” said Sara.

“No other data offers that level of detail, particularly for regional or semi-rural areas.”

The modelling for Greater Launceston is helping governments at all levels develop realistic and sustainable planning rules, land use criteria, transport and amenities. At a glance, simulations allow decisions to be made based on evidence.

“Geoscape is compatible with 3D building façade structure data, which enables a superior visual experience, providing an effective way of demonstrating concepts and engaging with the community,” said Sara.

While other cities have built 3D visualisations, the Greater Launceston Transformation Project is the first in Australia to offer full regional virtualisation, dynamically modelled on a range of factors, including energy consumption, people movement, land use and the environment. Importantly, the 3D models enable interaction between the four local councils for better regional planning and resource sharing.

“Because Geoscape data is national in coverage and regularly updated, the solution is far more cost effective to maintain and update compared to using customised LiDAR or aerial photography data for entire local government areas,” said David.

“In addition to the great visuals that standard 3D techniques can deliver, Geoscape adds the ability to interrogate and analyse the 3D data on built form, land use and vegetation. Geoscape is enabling a new generation of smart urban planning to build better cities.”

Sensing Value’s 2D and 3D digital city models use open source platforms and Esri ArcGIS Pro, together with CommunityViz. Their models are powered by Geoscape and CyberCity 3D data and other mobility data. For strategic land use and urban planners, the digital models offer clear visual insights including:

  • mobility patterns showing how people – as a resident, student, worker or visitor – use each part of the city at different times of the day and week
  • areas of vibrancy and economic potential
  • energy consumption by building and city block
  • solar energy generation potential of current and projected built form
  • transport patterns and projections
  • land use optimisation (agricultural/residential/industrial/commercial) aligned to population growth forecasts
  • environmental impacts of land-use planning decisions.

Rich data streams on the physical topography, built environment and patterns of usage have enabled the fast-tracking of new approaches to managing significant social and community challenges.

“This fast-track approach is being activated through a collaborative ecosystem involving a range of universities, leading industry players and all tiers of government,” said David. “The knowledge being generated from the Greater Launceston Transformation Project is set to become a model and showcase for investments in smart cities and smart suburbs across Australasia.”

Visualisation of the topography of Launceston
Visualisation of the topography of Launceston

Project partners for the Greater Launceston Transformation Project are:

  • City of Launceston
  • West Tamar Council
  • Meander Valley Council
  • George Town Council
  • Tasmanian Government
  • University of Tasmania
  • Sensing Value
  • 2nd Road
  • Australian Government.

Visualising and projecting:

  • public space usage
  • current and proposed developments
  • floods
  • traffic and parking
  • energy consumption
  • water supply and disposal
  • air pollution
  • noise
  • environmental quality
  • population patterns
  • emergency response.

Data intelligence sourced from:

  • CAD drawings in Revit or Sketchup format
  • Traffic count data
  • Government population projections by Local Government Area
  • Planning overlays in GIS format
  • Land use zones in GIS format
  • Geoscape
  • Resident, worker and visitor insights derived from mobility data.

Smart tech: powering city decisions

Sensing Value was established in 2014 to provide businesses and governments with dynamic intelligence about how people use spaces. They use a unique toolkit of data and advanced analytical capabilities to look at trends over time in how people in geographically defined areas use those spaces.

Sensing Value delivers:

  • geodemographic analytics
  • spatial analytics and 2D/3D modelling
  • enablement of smart cities, smart precincts, and intelligent buildings
  • economic analysis including behavioral economics
  • insights into people, place and how cities work
  • simulations and modelling for the future.

Sensing Value’s partners include:

  • Geoscape
  • CyberCity 3D Inc
  • Telstra
  • Institute for Choice, University of South Australia
  • hybrid: wireless
  • Ason Group
  • SAS Institute Inc.
  • 2nd Road – part of Accenture Strategy
  • The Australian Population Research Institute
  • Deakin University