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AURIN & ANDS - North West Metropolitan Region of Melbourne data Access, Integration and Interrogation and Demonstrator Projects

University of Melbourne

Collaborator(s): Department of Human Services, Department of Health, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Department of Planning and Community Development, Department of Transport, Department of Justice, City of Melbourne, City of Banyule, City of Maribyrnong, Valuer-General Victoria

Project Description

The approach taken in this project is to establish a spatial platform of fine scale Victorian based data and enable the collaboration between researchers and policy makers. The benefits of this project are that researchers are able to use the latest data via the AURIN portal to develop rigorous techniques and scientific knowledge. For the policy makers both data, techniques and knowledge are available to improve decisions related to livability. The work conducted provides the evidence of a new paradigm of data management with a focus on spatially enabled infrastructure, which integrates urban data from distributed resources.

The method applied in this project has been divided into two components. The first was the ability to access and describe spatial data within an integrated platform known as the Data Hub. The second was the demonstrator projects each of which are outlined below:

Data Hub
To construct a Data Hub required a method and infrastructure for integrating data from multiple sources. It is important to note that the process of integrating data from multiple sources required considerable data cleaning, manipulation and validation to ensure they are ‘fit for purpose’. The focus on the data collection has been on data held by Local and State Government agencies who have routinely collected databases. The data hub contained two main components: a GeoServer that had the ability to harvest data; and a metadata tool that provided information on varying levels of metadata from the title and abstract through to the individual attributes. The following paragraphs outline the technical components of each.

1.1 Geoserver
The core infrastructure for the project has been the data hub. This hub accesses data through a Web Features Service (WFS) GeoServer (an open-source GeoSpatial server), which supports a large spectrum of Open Geospatial Consortium (OGS) services. Through the GeoServer web-based dashboard, various datasets in various formats and standards could be registered as WFS.

In total 102 datasets have been harvested from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) WFS including: VicMap, Public Transport Victoria, and Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) datasets. Connectivity to DEPI’s WFS server and the existence of all layers was tested by AURIN. In a number of cases the directly harvest metadata was lacking enough detail and a process of manual enrichment needed to be employed.

For departments who did not have the capability to allow data to be directly harvested an interim solution was established where data was cleaned, formatted and uploaded into a virtual machine. Approximately 50 datasets where integrated using this approach.

1.2 Metadata
Metadata contains the information about data and is important for the discovery and sharing of spatial datasets. There are various formats that are designed to structure the way we define metadata. In Australia and New Zealand the Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC) Metadata Profile has been developed to enable the consistent collection of metadata across Australia and New Zealand. The profile defines a minimum set of elements that must be collected for spatial datasets and other resources.

In this project the ANZLIC metadata profile was extended to incorporate the ability to add elements specific to a layers attributes, the new metadata profile (known as a new metadata schema) was created. This was by extending the ANZLIC ISO 19139 metadata profile, called the AURIN metadata profile. This new metadata profile included XSD (XML Schema Definition) files describing the elements of metadata records. Each metadata record needed to be validated against its metadata definition schema. To ease the creation of the metadata record compliant with its definition schema, some commercial and open-source tools were developed. The most commonly known tool in the open-source world is GeoNetwork, which is supported by a strong community. Further information relating to the technical elements of the project are described by Nasr and Keshtiarast (2013) in chapter 7 of the project book ( reference below). Further information on the datasets loaded within the AURIN portal is available from the AURIN Portal:

2 Demonstrator Projects
The value of the data has then been demonstrated in four policy-relevant demonstrator projects. The demonstrators on walkability, employment, housing affordability and health service, where defined by the North and West Melbourne Regional Management Forum as tools required to assist with the planning issues of the region. Further detail on the progress of each of the demonstrator projects is outlined below.
(Note although the Housing, Walkability and Health Demonstrators are developed as stand alone web platforms they have all have uniform interface. Documentation on how to use the demonstrators along with links to the individual projects has been incorporated within the AURIN Blog:

2.2 Walkability demonstrator
The purpose of this tool was to yield a more accurate understanding of how neighbourhood walkability is associated with access and permeability, and to develop an interactive on-line tool for researchers and planners to modify neighbourhood walkability to enhance access to features of interest. As such, this tool will provide not only innovative tools to investigate how neighbourhood walkability is related to amenity access, but enables different planning scenarios to be tested prior to developing new or retrofitting older areas. It is anticipated that planners will apply these tools to diverse areas in Melbourne’s North West Metropolitan region and beyond, prior to building infrastructure or when seeking to modify existing sites.

On the 24th of May Professor Billie Giles-Corti presented the Walkability project at the Congress of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity held in Ghent Belgium, 22 – 25 May 2013.

The purpose of the presentation was to demonstrate the application of the Walkability tool for testing different built environment scenarios and their impact on neighbourhood walkability.

2.2 Employment demonstrator

The purpose of this tool was to develop an open-source software tool for identifying urban employment clusters, that will be accessible to anyone with a suitably-appointed computer and internet access. The tool enables governments and researchers could examine spatial employment clustering in metropolitan regions in much finer spatial units than are currently supplied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The employment demonstrator team was in Dublin on 16 July delivering a paper on the tool they have developed entitled “An Open-Source Tool for Identifying Industrial Clusters in a Data-Poor Environment”. The paper was delivered at the AESOP/ACSP Joint Congress “Planning for Resilient Cities and Regions”.

2.3 Housing demonstrator

A browser based analysis tool-kit has been developed to support housing analysis. The study are for the tool focuses on the analysis of housing in the North West corridor of Melbourne. It actually has the capacity to be extended and applied in any jurisdiction, provided the necessary data integration component is adequately implemented. The purpose of this tool was to provide better insights into the understanding of variables important for the assessment of housing supply. The tool is intended to achieve 3 things: to identify developable land parcels/properties that have potentials for residential development, to analyse land administration processes that impact approval of development right, and to understand demand factors’ (income, household size, mortgage repayment etc) influence on housing affordability.

Professor Abbas Rajabifard, Head of Infrastructure Engineering and Director of the Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures and Land Administration also showcased the value of a housing assessment tool which can be used to assess the availability of land based on a Development Potential Index (DPI).

2.4 Health Demonstrator

The purpose of this tool was to yield a more accurate understanding of the distribution of people with risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes (ie Existing prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes, Depression, Obesity, Smoking) and Health Services General Practice which has bulk billing, Fee only, after hours service etc.).
Professor Jane Gunn has conducted a number of conference presentations and meeting presentations demonstrating the value of the Health Demonstrator project.

Research Champions:

Demonstrator 1: Prof Billie-Giles Corti

Demonstrator 2: Prof Bob Stimpson

Demonstrator 3: Prof Abbas Rajabifard

Demonstrator 4: Prof Jane Gunn

Data Type:

Input Data:

Demonstrator 1:
Road network layer, Aerial Image, Residential density layer, Land use mix layer (Vic CLUE), VicMap Railway Lines, VicMap Roads, Public transport frequency and stops, Road traffic volume

Demonstrator 2:
Census Journey-to-Work data, special runs to at the postcode or LGA level, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011; Road traffic volumes data (AADT for peak and non-peak hours); Census of Population and Housing, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011

Demonstrator 3:
Housing Development Data (HDD) and Housing Capacity; Aerial Image; Census of Population and Housing, 2001, 2006, 2011; Property level valuation data; VicMap property

Demonstrator 4:
Age profile, Overweight / obesity, Home and community care, Social services, Health and allied health services, Recreation facilities, Public transport frequency and stops

Output Data:

Demonstrator 1:
A walkability index at Census Collection District level

Demonstrator 2:
Data illustrating the employment and land use change within the CBD and Central Activities Areas (CAAs);

Demonstrator 3:
Residential Development Index identifying areas with high and low potential for development

Demonstrator 4:
A set of integrated cross-sectoral data (combining routinely collected health and health service data with a focus on community liveability).