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By the year 2036, the Auckland region could be home to 2 million people. With the help of Terralink's NZ MasterMapTM location data, Auckland Regional Council (ARC) is making sure they have the roading infrastructure to keep everyone moving.
Planning Auckland's labyrinth of roads, motorways and railway tracks is a bit like working on a puzzle that's constantly changing shape, according to ARC Team Leader of Information Solutions, Phil Barlow.
"It's a bit like piecing together a giant jigsaw puzzle. We need to be able to view all the pieces of the puzzle exactly so that if we need to move, or add, a new piece we can see how it will affect the rest of the puzzle."
He says the key to solving the roading puzzle is access to a data set that accurately recreates the physical environment.
"We need a 'ground truth' dataset that shows us exactly what we would see if we drove the area, or walked the streets ourselves.
"We need to know whether the road on the map is a motorway, if it's one-way, where the nearest walkways are, which way the traffic is flowing, and whether there are any turning restrictions. Any decision we make needs to take all of those factors into consideration," Mr Barlow says.
Mr Barlow says Terralink International's NZ MasterMapTM database delivers ARC the level of detail the council's planners need in order to make informed decisions and get it right first time.
"There can't be any guesswork. NZ MasterMapTM shows us exactly what we're dealing with, and from there we can work out the most appropriate transport and roading solutions.
"Often we're testing different transport options and scenarios. We need to know where a person would end up if they travelled 500m from a single point in any possible direction. That way we can test potential bus routes, walkways, and eventually recommend a solution that we can be sure is going to work in real life, not just on our maps."
"We don't have the resources to create and maintain the data ourselves, but we know Terralink updates the data every month, so we always have the most up-to-date picture of our region available," Mr Barlow says.
ARC has integrated Terralink's NZ MasterMapTM data into their ESRI GIS system, and it is used both as an internal resource and externally via web mapping solutions.
"It's a major resource for our call centres, internal staff and external clients such as consultants, solicitors and real estate agencies. People ask where particular facilities are located and our staff can help them out instantly by referring to our maps, which use NZ MasterMapTM data.
"Or, if someone wants to buy a property we can tell them the Rateable Value or they can find it out for themselves using the web mapping. They can also check the property online using our council website and they'll be able to see exactly where the house is located, rather than just where the street is. It's a fantastic location tool."
Mr Barlow says that ultimately NZ MasterMapTM gives ARC the confidence that their team is making informed decisions, because they are based on the best available data.
"We can be certain that the planning we put in place today, to provide for tomorrow, is made by experts and backed by the most up-to-date and comprehensive information available. The future looks bright," he says.