This page belongs to: Data strategy 2021–2024

4. Location-based insights – enable greater use of location data

Everything that happens, happens somewhere, and location data (often called geospatial or spatial data) is that somewhere. 

We regularly collect, manage and use location data when dealing with businesses and stakeholders. 

We now have an opportunity to improve how we collect location data and the tools we use to analyse and visualise it.

By 2024, we will:

  • be collecting high-quality, fit-for-purpose, spatially accurate location data;
  • have the tools and capability to effectively manage, analyse and visualise this data; and
  • be using location data more effectively to provide insights, tailor policies and programs, and understand the impact of initiatives in particular locations.

Key initiatives and activities

Increase awareness of the value of location data and location data support services

  • Develop communications to raise awareness on what location data is and why it is important. We will also promote the analytical capabilities, tools and support available to help employees use location data.

Improved tools and capability to collect and use location data

  • Promote best-practice approaches for collecting, managing and using location data. This includes no longer using postcodes as a key method our main method of identifying location.  
  • Work with data custodians to improve location elements in our data holdings. This includes better address validation and geocoding processes when collecting data. 
  • Scope and implement better geocoding and analysis tools in alignment with the department’s Digital Strategy 2021–23.
  • Scope and provide ongoing resources for specialist location data technical support, including mapping and analysing data.
  • Provide training resources to employees for basic location data analysis, mapping and visualisation.
  • Offer employees the chance to shadow our location analysis specialists. This will help build ongoing location data capability in the department.

Influence location data policy, practice and capability across government

  • Participate in department and whole-of-government policy and capability location forums.
  • Collaborate with other government agencies on location data analysis, mapping and visualisation.

Location data in practice

The devastating 2019–20 bushfires highlighted how we can use location data to make quick decisions and deliver better services. 

At the height of the bushfire season, the Analysis and Insights Division linked a range of spatial, emergency, demographic and business datasets, including:

  • Emergency Management Spatial Information Network Australia
  • Geoscience Australia’s satellite burn fire scar and Discrete Global Grid System
  • Australian Business Register
  • Business Grants Hub data
  • data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

By joining these datasets, we were able to quickly identify bushfire-affected areas, businesses and industries. 

This helped us quickly develop and provide support, including a bushfire information hub and targeted business advice through the AusIndustry National Outreach Network.