Winners of NZ Spatial Excellence Awards announced

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Sixty-three hopeful entrants lined up for the announcement of winners in the 12 categories of the third New Zealand Spatial Excellence awards on 16 November, almost twice the number of entries in 2015.

In the run-up to the event Spatial Industry Business Association (SIBA) chair, Scott Campbell, described the awards as “the Oscars of the spatial industry” saying it would showcase the finest the New Zealand spatial industry had to offer. “Projects and individuals attaining recognition at this premier event are deemed to be truly outstanding achievers and pre-eminent in their field,” he said.

“At the core of New Zealand’s spatial technology is the simple concept of layering information with a common location to provide greater insight,” Campbell said. “This concept uses location as the shared element to link seemingly unrelated information either simply or through advanced geo-statistical algorithms - uncovering patterns and underlying causes or simply bringing data to life in an easy to understand medium – a map.”

He added: “SIBA has established an alliance with NZTech to collaborate more closely to help the wider spatial technology sector in New Zealand. We see this as a great opportunity and a true partnership that is mutually beneficial for the two organisations, our members and New Zealand’s technology sector overall.”

Announcing the winners, SIBA said: “There was a very high standard of entries in all twelve categories, with almost double the number of entrants from 2015. … Entries ranged from those with an agricultural focus (Ravensdown; Balance) to routing solutions (Critchlow; CoreLogic in collaboration with NZTA) to environmental sustainability (Predator Free New Zealand were finalists in two categories).”

Sharing New Zealand expertise overseas played a part in this year’s awards, with the Award for Export going to ThunderMaps, which impressed judges with its implementation of location data collection and awareness apps that are now being rolled out into European cities to keep citizens informed and safe.

Land Information New Zealand won the Technical Excellence Award for its improvements to vertical datums (ie, height information that is vital for managing water resources, assessing hazards and carrying out large scale engineering), information that is now being used in the United States.

The supreme winner was Wellington City Council with its Living Lab: a project that uses smart technology to make Wellington safer. Living Lab overlays sensory data such as glass breaking, screaming and anti-social behaviour on a real-time map and generates alerts to help keep people safer in the city. Judge Duane Wilkins said the project represented the ‘highest level of spatial excellence’.

As the Supreme Winner, Wellington City Council’s Living Lab project is now eligible for the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards that will be held as part of the 10th International Symposium on Digital Earth and Locate17 Conference, to be held from 3 to 6 April 2017 at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.

Details of the winners and finalists in each category can be found here.

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