Government 2.0 and the role of location intelligence

*by Francisco Urbina

Government 2.0 (Gov 2.0) involves the use of technology to enhance access to and delivery of government services to benefit the public, business partners and employees. It is about changing policy to create an open and accountable relationship between government and its communities by making information more accessible.

Location intelligence is playing a key role in progressing the uptake of Gov 2.0 initiatives across Australia’s Local, State and Federal Governments.

As a means to both engage communities and work ‘smarter’, governments are using location intelligence as a platform to build mapping applications that make information accessible to the public, deliver transparency and enhance policymaking.

With the aid of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), information about government and community activity is being made easily accessible for the first time, allowing the public to see what their governments are doing. For example, ratepayers now have the ability to view where their money is being allocated for spending, what projects are currently underway in their local area, and they can obtain a list of locations for public services that are available within their community.

Maps created through the use of GIS are the easiest way to present information – people become much more engaged when they can visualise information. A map can show someone where the closest primary school is, what day their rubbish bins get collected, and which streets will be closed during a special event.

Similarly, a GIS enabled map shows where a region’s deficits and strengths are, such as the number of parks in an area that has a high proportion of young families within its demographic profile. This information assists in the quick and adept allocation of resources and also helps councils redefine priorities and adjust strategies and tactics to maintain efficiency across different departments.

Principles of Gov 2.0 also encourage community input to enable councils to respond and provide better services. It involves the provision of tools for the public to directly feedback information to councils or government departments to help them respond more effectively.

At a local level, councils can introduce applications that enable community members to report faults and issues, such as burst water mains or fallen trees and other maintenance issues that need to be addressed.

As technology continues to develop, the framework surrounding Gov 2.0 and the benefits it can deliver are becoming more relevant and widespread. All spheres of Government have a real opportunity to connect with their constituents.

With the majority of Local Governments having GIS capabilities, the next step is for each department to unlock the potential of GIS for their teams and use these insights effectively to deliver a better service to the communities they work with.

* Francisco Urbina is Manager Business Development Strategy at Esri Australia