Cairns takes GIS to school

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) commonly used by Councils around Australia provide a ready means of accessing and using a range of data on local infrastructure and land use. The City of Cairns has made the benefits of this technology more widely available by introducing a training program on GIS in local schools. A pilot program at Trinity Anglican School was completed earlier this year.

Council's contribution to the project included assisting with negotiating academic licences for software use, the Digital Cadastral DataBase and use of Council's digital database, installation of software, training of teaching staff, production of a training manual and provision of sample data from Council's database to provide realistic data for students to work with.

The scheme has benefits for both Council and the community. On Council's part, the gathering of information by students will enhance the available information base. In addition, the need to customise parts of the database to accommodate inexperienced users will assist in the future when proposed public access information booths are introduced.

For students, the exposure to GIS enhances career options and it is also hoped their familiarity with GIS will filter through to the broader community.

Following the success of the pilot, follow up workshops were conducted for other educational institutions in the region. The aim is to give all schools in the City the opportunity to introduce the system into their computer studies. Cairns City Council recently won a commendation for this initiative at the 1997 National Awards for Innovation in Local Government.

For further information contact Peter Swain, telephone (070) 507 356.