Full Extent is working with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to fulfil its mission: open access to information about the NSW coastline, from environmental plans to coastal erosion reports. Easier said than done when most of this information existed in hard copy – time-consuming to find even for OEH staff and, in this age of on-demand self-service access, virtually inaccessible to the community. And even when documents can be converted to digital format, how does the end-user find everything they are looking for?
A text-based search might turn up a list of documents about Cronulla, but what about those relating to Bundeena, 34km away by road, but just across the bay as the crow flies?
Simple: search using a map. Click on “Cronulla” to produce live links to the PDF’s, images and documents relevant there; move on to “Bundeena” next-door and the list of links is updated on the fly. Map-users open files right there! But the challenge continued: each reference to an actual document needed to be “geo-coded” so that we knew where to put it. With thousands of files this takes time; also many documents reference more than one place.
This is where Full Extent’s Text-to-Map came in: being able to electronically “read” each document and confidently identify the place(s) it relates to, a process we call “spatial semantic analysis”, we could decide the individual co-ordinates that allow that document to turn up in the right map searches. All this at a fraction of the cost or time of any manual process.
What’s more we could then overlay our map-based search results with other information in user-selected “layers – such as local rainfall data or local area authority boundaries – during the search process. So not only can users now easily find the information they need they can also make instant cross-references to get the full picture as it relates to them.
Immediately, a complex process became fast to access, simple to use and the end result far more meaningful and valuable. Full Extent Text-To-Map saves time and money and adds value to the result.
The New South Wales Coastal Explorer project is currently in-use as a prototype internal to OEH but the office hopes to launch it to the public soon. If you want to see what’s “under the hood” in detail, take a look at this article from Position Magazine.
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