GIS Team, Singleton Council, New South Wales

General Manager Lindy Hyam nominated the Singleton Council GIS Team, specifically for their achievement in mapping all the Parks & Facilities in Singleton. The Team spoke to LG Focus about their work in mapping and managing Councilís assets.

Singleton, the centre of the Hunter Valley, is a town of approximately 25,000 residents with an area of 4,893 square kms. The local economy is robust, primarily driven by the coal and support industries, agriculture and viticulture.

Singleton Councilís GIS Team is a small team but it is integral to the operations of many functions of Council. The team has many responsibilities, with the primary function being to provide information systems, mapping and spatial data.

The formation of the GIS Team took place in 2003, but has evolved substantially over the past nine years. A recent review of services has resulted in the team evolving again, to incorporate the coordination and provision of asset management systems for Council.

While the team is small, with only four employees, there is great diversity of skills across the positions, including civil engineering, asset management, project management, spatial information systems, environment and very strong IT skills.

The team has seen significant success since its inception through the delivery of many major projects including the development of Councils GIS enquiry system, development of the Dial before you Dig system, Parks and Facilities asset data collection project and most recently the coordination of Councils Asset Management Plans.

The Parks & Facilities asset-mapping was a major project, and a significant achievement for the team. The project centred on the collection of information, including location, description, condition and value, of all of Councilís open space assets.

The data capture campaign was executed over six weeks, using a handheld Trimble XH6000 unit, and involved the collection of over 6000 features across 130 parks and reserves. These included 807 pop-up irrigation sprays, 702 park-related signs, 317 path sections, 273 lights, 219 seats, 118 tables, 80 shelters, 52 monuments, 52 bicycle U-rails, 32 barbeques and 22 playground areas.

This information, and the Asset Management Plan that followed, is robust and accurate, primarily due to the coordination of the project to include training, support and mentoring for the Parks & Facilities team members out in the field.

The Parks & Facilities team now has a solid working knowledge of the systems, the data and  how that translates into quality outcomes for the management of Councilís assets. This same approach will now be rolled out across the other asset owner departments in Council.

Many of the skills employed in the delivery of this project are those that ensure success in working in a team, such as clear, concise and timely communication, cooperation, and a common understanding of the desired outcome and the steps required to achieve this goal.

While a number of the projects and systems that the team provides are for internal use, many of them are designed to assist those working in the front line of customer service in Council to provide accurate and relevant information in a timely fashion. This ultimately benefits the community in its dealings with Council.

In addition, the provision of information to assist in the effective management of Council assets limits any financial impact, thus allowing for efficient and effective use of Councilís limited funds.