Journal of Internet Business Issue 10 – 2012 _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Spatial information accessibility in South Australia from the Internet: a national comparison Paul Andrew Corcoran Barbara Hardy Institute School of Natural and Built Environments University of South Australia Adelaide South Australia Australia About the Author Paul Corcoran joined the Ordnance Survey, Great Britain’s national mapping agency in 1984 and undertook various surveying, GIS and management roles, predominantly in the North of England. In February 2006, he joined the School of Natural and Built Environments at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, as a Geospatial Information Science Lecturer. In 2007, he began a part time PhD exploring and expanding the use of spatial information within the realms of Indigenous land and waters management within the State of South Australia.

Corresponding Author Mailing Address, Phone and E-mail University of South Australia Room P1-40 Mawson Lakes Campus Adelaide GPO Box 2471 Work

+61 8 8302 1852

Mobile +61 437 652359

[email protected]

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Journal of Internet Business Issue 10 – 2012 _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Spatial information accessibility in South Australia from the Internet: a national comparison Paul Andrew Corcoran Barbara Hardy Institute School of Natural and Built Environments University of South Australia Adelaide South Australia Australia Abstract The Australian spatial industry has been the preserve of experts, but with the emergence of disruptive technologies e.g. Google Earth, new users have emerged into this domain with differing needs, desires and aspirations. Such a group exists in South Australia and to enable their further use, free and accessible spatial information is a necessity as without this key component there can be no applications. There is debate within Australia as to the accessibility of spatial information and consequently this paper compared the accessibility in South Australia against the other states and territories. Internet searches were used to identify webpages that provided spatial information and results were analysed using an Information Retrieval metric, ranking procedure and the assessment of industry sector. The research revealed spatial information was accessible, but it was not an easy task due to numerous industry nomenclature, delivery mechanisms and indecisions with regards to most suitable business model to employ. Keywords: Spatial information, National Comparison, Internet, Accessibility

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Introduction The release of Google Earth gave the public easy access to spatial information ranging from global to street level and, furthermore allowed those ‘read only’ images to be supplemented with users own spatial information (Masser, 2009). Thus, knowingly or unknowingly, the public began to create their own Geographical Information Systems (GIS), a preserve that had previously been for spatial industry specialists alone. Wyngaarden & Waters (2007) suggested such empowerment was so great that it changed GIS forever and, with such capability, Masser (2009) concluded that Google Earth must be regarded as a disruptive technology. Huang and Sošic (2010) warned, citing of the demise of Polaroid following the advent of digital camera, that disruptive technologies mature and failure to track these developments could lead to catastrophic circumstances for businesses. The Australian spatial industry is relatively young, being recognised as a discreet sector in 2001 (SIBA, 2012), and as 80-90% of all information could be linked to a location with an address, post code, landmark or map coordinate (Lee & Percival, 2008), spatial information has value both now and in the future. Indeed, the Australian spatial industry has benefited a range of public services and, during 2006/07, generated approximately A$1.37 billion. However, the lack of access to spatial information could have constrained Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and consumption by at least A$0.5 billion (CRCSI, 2008). In South Australia, a number of novice users have been encouraged to use GIS to aid the management of Indigenous lands and waters though the establishment of a working group (Corcoran, 2008). GIS has been used successfully within an Indigenous setting, internationally (Carver et al, 2009), nationally (Grech, Amber & Marsh, 2008) and locally within South Australia (ESRI, 2012). However, more could be undertaken if impediments could be eliminated, particularly with respect to spatial information access (Wyngaarden & Waters, 2007) for, as Cowan (2008, p11) noted, having no spatial information was tantamount to having ‘no GIS applications’. Many spatial information datasets exist that could be used by novices and governments are the predominant custodians (Bolstad, 2008). Australia has been identified as being a leader in spatial information supply, along with Canada and the United States, via the Internet through Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) (Masser, 2002). However, this assertion has been countered

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with the suggestion that spatial technologies such as Google Earth have raised user expectations and that the Australian spatial industry needed to react more rapidly to service such needs (Kelly & Searle, 2009; Corcoran, 2012). Consequently, there seems to be debate as to the ability for Australian governments to service the needs of new spatial information users. With the differing opinions and the increased use of disruptive technologies such as Google Earth, there is a question mark as to whether the Australian spatial industry is heeding the calls to make spatial information easily accessible for the public and thus allow them to directly download free spatial information that can be used for their own purposes. As such, this paper will assess the accessibility of spatial information from the Internet within Australian states and territories and contextualise it within the realms of the novice users in South Australia. Background Spatial information Spatial information relates to features on, above or below the Earth’s surface where a map coordinate can be attributed (PwC, 2010) via remote measurements e.g. aerial photographs or direct measurement e.g. Global Position Systems (GPS). A GIS facilitates the collection, storage, management, analysis and visualisation of spatial information (Bolstad, 2008) and has the advantage over other information systems as it is a software ‘tool that uses location to integrate otherwise unrelated data and analyses, and to visualise these relationships’ (Coffee et al., 2012, p446). GIS has supported business decisions within an Indigenous context by offering solutions to questions relating to where features are, what geographical patterns exist, what has changed, where certain conditions apply and what spatial implications result from organisational decisions (Heywood, Cornelius & Carver, 2002). For example, in relation to where, the Trepang Project in Northern Australia, used GPS and GIS to map the distribution of Sandfish to aid the management of fisheries (Carter & Hill, 2007). With regards to geographical patterns, the Cardiac Access-Remoteness Index of Australia assessed geographic accessibility to cardiac services and was particularly pertinent in identifying the extent of access problems for rural Indigenous populations (Coffee et al., 2012). In Western Australia, Michael & Dunn (2007) suggested that a series of maps would aid the understanding of how Badimaya Culture and lands had changed and survived, thus supporting Native title determination. With reference to identifying where certain conditions apply, relevant

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stakeholders were engaged in a project on Rottnest Island that shared an understanding of sustainability and climate change impacts by identifying hotpots where economic, social, ecological factors and cultural spatial information intersected (Stocker et al, 2012). Spatial implications were undertaken on the Tiwi Islands in the Northern territory where the impacts of increased economic development and the resultant need for increased levels of water were considered using participatory mapping exercises that articulated Indigenous knowledge and the governmental water management plan (Hoverman & Ayre, 2012). Spatial industry The merger of the Australian surveying, mapping and GIS professions into a unified ‘spatial industry’ aimed to consolidate and raise their profiles. However, barriers still exist in the creation of a cohesive unit, none more so than the name of the Australia/ New Zealand professional representative body known as the ‘Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute’(SSSI); a name which separates surveying from the rest of the industry. Another issue relates to the numerous industry terminologies relating to ‘spatial information’ as exemplified by the aforementioned ‘Spatial Data Infrastructures’ that employs ‘Data’ as opposed to ‘Information’. These terms are used in the industry interchangeably but, as noted by Stair & Reynolds (1998), there is a difference as data refers to facts and figures collected, whereas information is produced once the data had been transformed through a process. Furthermore, ‘spatial’ is not universal language amongst the industry, other examples include ‘geographical’ (Heywood, Cornelius & Carver, 2002) ‘geospatial’ (Wilson & Fotheringham, 2008) and ‘geographically referenced’ (Chang, 2008). Worldwide, free, market based pricing and hybrid business models are evident in the supply of spatial information (Field, 2010). The United States and Canadian governments operate the free model nationally e.g. Geospatial One Stop Shop (Cowan, 2008) and GeoGratis (Huettman, 2010) and locally e.g. Montana’s National Resource Information System (NRIS) (Peterson & York, 2003) and British Columbia’s GeoBC. Furthermore, New Zealand (Australia’s SSSI collaborator) offers the free Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) Data Service (LINZ, 2012). In Australia, the Australia New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC) has been the main organisation in the development of SDIs (Nedovic-Budic et al., 2004) and some free spatial information is available on a national level, via the Australian

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Spatial Data Directory (ASDD) and Geoscience Australia (the national mapping agency), but a more common approach tends towards the market based pricing model such as adopted by the federal and state owned government Public Sector Mapping Agency (PSMA). However, some hybrid models are apparent as in South Australia, where some government agencies provide free spatial information such as Primary Industries and Resources of South Australia (PIRSA), Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) and Department of Transport, Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), while other datasets have to be purchased. Spatial disruptive technology New technologies can follow a sustaining or disruptive path. Aiming at main customer bases by improving existing products relates to a sustaining approach and can generally involve copious amounts of investment over time (Christensen, 2003). Conversely, disruptive technologies enter market places by offering customers new options (Walsh, 2004) that offer enhanced performance in agreement with the requirements that customers value (Bower & Christensen, 1995). For example, such customer values could extend to more convenient use, simpler application, possibly being smaller and ultimately cheaper (Christensen, 2003), attributes that could appeal to a younger clientele, a sector of the population that may not have been able to afford the previous high price of technology (Huang & Sošic, 2010). Historically, the spatial industry has tended to follow the sustaining path with spatial information adhering to the market based pricing business model but, during the mid-2000s, this business model was severely disrupted when large amounts of free spatial information became readily available to the public through technologies such as the aforementioned Google Earth. Further technological developments have compounded the disruption for, as Wadembere & Ssewanyana (2010) noted, in addition to the Internet and increased computing power, a combination of ‘image capture and communication’ and ‘low cost spatial data collection tools’ have all contributed to driving the spatial industry towards becoming more mainstream, customer focused,

cheaper, having

increased performance and, overall, providing more user friendly products. An example of the uptake of such technology by the public has been in crisis mapping, as used after the Haiti Earthquake during 2010, where new maps are created in previously unmapped locations ‘driven by the increasing availability of real-time geo-referenced data and new mapping technologies

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that are often free, open-source, and easier to use than earlier, proprietary systems.’ (Meier, 2011, p1241). According to Padget & Mulvey (2007), businesses that adopt disruptive technologies generally perform better than those that do not participate. However, some businesses may wish to change but may feel that they cannot due to perceptions of being too large and having inflexible business processes (Christensen & Overdorf, 2000). Furthermore, such businesses opt to continue with the less risky and more comfortable sustaining model that incorporates business improvement techniques that have served them well in the past (Padget & Mulvey, 2007). The Australian spatial industry could continue along its existing sustaining path or conversely, it could take advantage of its boutique size and youthfulness to investigate the disruptive approach further and in doing so, determine any competitive advantage that could be gained. A debate to be had within the Australian spatial industry could be as to what constitutes the main customer base for, as Walsh (2004, p166) suggested, disruptive technologies ‘produce products that focus on the demands of leading users’. It could be argued that with technologies such as Google Earth, possibly the leading users within the spatial industry are now shifting from spatial industry experts, to the general public (NBC, 2012). The Australian spatial industry is making strides towards responding to disruptive technologies, but questions remain as to the speed of this change, whether the approach is uniform across Australia and if the disconnect between government providers and consumers, as identified by Wilson & Fotheringham (2008), has been closed. A slow, disjointed and expensive approach could have ramifications for novice users, such as the Indigenous people of South Australia, in that they would be excluded from the benefits that using spatial information brings which would, in effect, further what Laituri (2003, p26) referred to as the ‘‘Digital Divide of ‘haves’ and have nots’’. Method To compare spatial information accessibility from the Internet across the states and territories of Australia, the approach of Corcoran (2012) was adopted that followed a twofold approach of research data collection and analysis. The research data collection method aimed to search for webpages, regardless of their geographical location, that contained access to spatial information that could be used in the respective states/ territories. A set of standard key word search terms

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and search engines that could be replicated in the six states and two territories of Australia were used for the Internet search. The webpages returned were then analysed using an Information Retrieval metric to ascertain the level of freely accessible spatial information, an analysis to determine the visibility of spatial information download webpages, and finally analysis to ascertain if governments were actually at the forefront of spatial information delivery. Research data collection As the research was assessing the accessibility of spatial information, the research followed the approach of Smith (2003) in that it was concerned more with the results of an Internet search as opposed to user behaviour. Consequently, researchers undertook the Internet searches in the respective locations and collected research data using a combination of key word terms and search engines. Such a method has the potential for bias both through the place in which the search was undertaken (Wang et al, 2005) and also the choice of search engine (Mowshowitz & Kawaguchi, 2005). To alleviate these effects, the Internet searches were undertaken in each of Australia’s six states (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia) and two territories (Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory). Additionally, five different search engines were used, four global versions (Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL) and one local Australian (Webwombat). With the variety of nomenclatures evident to describe ‘spatial information’ the key words used in the Internet search were derived from reviewing spatial information literature, Australia peak professional bodies and also organisations involved with the promotion of spatial information to the public. Thus, in each of the eight locations, searches were performed using six terms of ‘spatial data’ (SD), ‘spatial information’ (SI), ‘geospatial data’ (GD), ‘geospatial information’ (GSI), ‘GIS data’ (GISD) and ‘GIS information’ (GISI). The terms used were prefixed by locality in which the searches were performed. (e.g. South Australia spatial information) and also, to determine if there was any variation in results due to geographical scale of the term used, a separate number of searches were performed in each location with the national prefix applied (e.g. Australia spatial information). Research data analysis – Information retrieval success, Ranking, Industry sector •

Information retrieval success

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Journal of Internet Business Issue 10 – 2012 _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Lewandowski and Hochstotter (2008) identified two metrics that can be used to assess the performance of Information Retrieval systems known as Precision and Recall, but noted a degree of subjectivity was needed to determine the relevancy of a webpage. Therefore, for the purposes of this research, a webpage was deemed relevant if spatial information could be freely acquired via e-media e.g. CD/ DVD, through a webportal (a conduit and redirects users to more useful webpages) (Tatnall, 2005), or through a geoportal (where actual spatial information can be downloaded). In the spatial industry, the use of metadata webpages are a common tool to locate spatial information but, as spatial information metadata only gives details about such characteristics as content, coordinate system and characteristics (Bolstad, 2008) and not the actual spatial information itself, these sites were excluded from the analysis. As Precision relates to the proportion of webpages retrieved (Shafi & Rather, 2007), the large amount of webpages that could be retrieved from an Internet search could prove to be problematical in a subsequent analysis, so following the approach of Tongchim, Sornlertlamvanich & Isahara (2007) a cut off value was used. To determine this value, a combination of research indicating searches last no more than 15 minutes (Lewandowski, 2005) and that users tend to only interrogate the first couple of page results (Spink & Jansen, 2005) resulted in the first 10 webpages returned being analysed. A Precision analysis example could be: Precision

= Number of relevant webpages retrieved by a search engine Total number of webpages selected for evaluation

(10)

=1.0

(10)

The second Information Retrieval metric, Recall, refers to gauging the possibility of returning every relevant webpage, but such a goal is unattainable (Sampath Kumar & Prakash, 2009) and the validity of the metric would be further diluted within the spatial information research presented in this paper as, due to the restriction of the use of the previously identified nomenclature in the searches, some relevant sites that provide spatial information maybe missed. Furthermore, as Smith (2003) noted, the application of a cut off value results in Precision and Recall being proportional (Smith, 2003) and thus, employing both Information Retrieval metrics would be unnecessary. As previously mentioned, part of the accessibility assessment for the

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purposes of this research would be ascertaining the varying options available for retrieving data, and according to Sampath Kumar & Prakash (2009) a scale of relevancy could be applied using Precision. Consequnetly, Precision (with a degree of relevancy) was chosen as the metric to be used and each webpage returned from a search was given the following relevancy score: •

0 = no spatial information topic, spatial information article, metadata



1 = spatial information available on e-media



2 = webportal



3 = geoportal.

Adapting this ‘relevancy’ to the previous Precision analysis example, if all 10 webpages from a search resulted in geoportals, a score of 30 was attributed, thus: Precision

= Sum of the scores of webpages retrieved by a search engine (30)

(Relevancy) •

Total number of webpages selected for evaluation

= 3.0

(10)

Ranking

Craswell & Hawking (2009) suggested that most users were really only interested in assessing the first one or two webpages on a page of results. As such, to determine the most popular webpages, each of the ten webpages returned was given a ranking with a corresponding score. For example, first place on the page of results was awarded a score of 10; conversely the tenth was scored 1. The scores of the relevant webpages were then extracted and calculated. To ascertain the ranking, the top five webpages from each location were combined to create a list of 40 webpages. From this list, the top two from each location were established to enable a comparison between locations. Each webpage had the possibility of attaining a maximum score of 300 i.e. 1st positions on each of the 5 search engine multiplied by the 6 search terms. •

Industry sector

Governments have been cited as being the dominant provider of spatial information, therefore to test this assertion, the Industry sector of each webpage returned was allocated i.e.

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Government (G), Education (E) or Private (P) and the results from this were subdivided into the Precision (relevancy) categories and then respective totals calculated. Results A total of 4800 webpages were accessed, but not all were relevant and some relevant webpages were duplicates.

Once these webpages were removed, 840 individual relevant webpages

remained. Spatial Information accessibility - Precision (Relevancy) None of the locations achieved the maximum score of 3.0. The closest value (1.63) was achieved using the Queensland prefix, whereas the least value (0.75) was New South Wales, well below the mean (1.28) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Precision (Relevancy) analysis metric Searches performed using the prefix ‘Australia’ yielded little variation across the states and territories ranging from (1.26) to (1.4) with a mean value (1.36). Consequently, the results from these terms were removed from further analysis. Analysing the use ‘data’ or ‘information’ in the remaining webpage returns (Figure 2), revealed that searches using ‘data’ had a greater return than searches used with ‘information’. South Australia occupied top position (1.81) using ‘data’ whilst the worst return was Victoria (0.81) using ‘information’.

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Figure 2: ‘data’ versus ‘information’ Investigation of the dominant term ‘data’ in relation to ‘spatial’, ‘geospatial’ and ‘GIS’ revealed that when using the mean of all the geographical locations more relevant webpages were returned using ‘spatial’ (1.64) compared with ‘geospatial’ (1.48) and ‘GIS’ (1.39) (Figure 3).

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Figure 3: ‘Spatial information’ nomenclature used with ‘data’ suffix Assessment of each individual locality with each of the search terms and search engines (Figure 4) ascertained that the best return value (2.6) was achieved in South Australia using the combination of Bing or Yahoo with GISD and in Western Australia through Google or AOL with SD. Conversely, the worst result (0.00) combined New South Wales&SI on Google, Bing, Yahoo or AOL search engines, and also Australian Capital Territory with GI on Bing or Yahoo.

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Figure 4: Precision (Relevancy) by locality and search term

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Spatial information webpage prominence – Ranking As shown in Table 1, the Northern Territory Government Land Information was the highest ranked webpage, albeit a webportal, with the Queensland Government geoportal Information Queensland webpage occupying the 2nd and 3rd ranking position. South Australia was approximately midway through with the national Australian Spatial Data Directory (ASDD) webportal and the South Australian DPTI government geoportal. The lowest ranked location was New South Wales with the local Community Access to Natural Resources Information geoportal and national Australian Electoral Commission geoportal. Rankin

Search

g

location

1

Northern

Score

Webpage

Northern

Precision (Relevancy)

228

nt.gov.au/ntlis/

Territory 21

Organisation

Northern Territory Land

2

Information System (NT Govt) 57

Territory

nt.gov.au/ntg4/Subject?myLevel=

Northern Territory Land and

4&myRefPoint=cn=Land%20and

Environment (NT Govt)

2

%20Environment,cn=Maps%20a nd%20Data&layout=show 2

Queensland

137

information.qld.gov.au/

Information Queensland (QLD

3

Queensland

125

gis.qld.gov.au/iqed/map/

5

Victoria

106

vic.gov.au/about-victoria-

About Victoria and Tourism (VIC

tourism/maps/geospatial-data-

Govt)

3

Govt) Information Queensland (QLD

3

Govt) 3

maps.html 16

Victoria

72

land.vic.gov.au/spatial

Land Channel (VIC Govt)

3

6

Western

104

walis.wa.gov.au/resources/policie

Western Australia Land Information

3

s/copy3_of_index.html

System (WA Govt)

walis.wa.gov.au/resources/policie

Western Australia Land Information

s/data_providers

System (WA Govt)

asdd.ga.gov.au/asdd/tech/node/sa-

Australian spatial data directory

2.html

(Australia Govt)

planning.sa.gov.au/go/spatial-

Department of Planning, Transport

data-download

and Infrastructure (SA Govt)

data.gov.au/dataset/australian-

Data.gov.au Australia Govt

3

Monash University library

2

Australia 10

Western

81

Australia 7

South Australia

85

8

South Australia

84

10

Australian

81

Capital Australian Capital

2 3

capital-territory-electoral-

Territory 25

3

boundaries-current/ 53

lib.monash.edu.au/hal/maps/relate d-spatial-australia.html

Territory

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Tasmania

76

tas.gov.au/tasmaniaonline/browse

Tasmania Online (TAS Govt)

2

mrt.tas.gov.au/portal/page?_dad=

Mineral Resources Tasmania (TAS

3

portal&_pageid=35,832308&_sch

Govt)

/Science,+technology+and+comm unications/Geography/Maps+and +mapping/ 20

Tasmania

58

ema=PORTAL 17

New South

66

canri.nsw.gov.au/download/

Community Access to Natural

3

Resources Information (NSW

Wales

Govt and others) 23

New South

55

Wales

aec.gov.au/profiles/gis/files/2009-

Australian Electoral Commission

dec-nsw-ced-metadata.pdf

(Australia Govt)

3

Table1: Webpage rankings arranged by State/ Territory Spatial Information provider - Industry sector Governments were the dominant provider of spatial information through webportals and geoportals, whereas Education and Private providers were comparable but favoured webportals (Table 2). Relevant

Relevancy 1

Sector

webpage

Physical media

51

0

0

0

0

25

14

6

44

1

1

0

0

32

21

32

5

5

0

0

17

Territory

50

0

0

0

0

Queensland

49

2

2

0

0

Tasmania

49

0

0

0

Victoria

49

3

3

0

60

0

0

0

384

11

11

G

E

Relevancy 2 P

webportal

Sector G

E

Relevancy 3 P

Sector

geoportal

G

E

P

5

26

25

0

1

4

7

11

11

0

0

10

3

4

10

10

0

0

43

30

7

6

7

7

0

0

20

12

4

4

27

27

0

0

0

38

33

4

1

11

11

0

0

0

23

10

10

3

23

21

0

2

South Australia Australian Capital Territory New South Wales Northern

Western Australia Total

0

0

27

15

5

7

33

31

0

2

0

225

145

43

37

148

143

0

5

Table 2: Number of retrievals per industry sector and State/ Territory by relevancy

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Discussion To accommodate the expansion of spatial information usage through the emergence of disruptive spatial technologies and allay the fears such as those of Wyngaarden & Waters (2007) and Cowan (2008), spatial information needs to be easily and freely accessible. The research results discovered that nationwide, there appears to be a disjointed approach to the delivery of spatial information that threatens Masser’s (2002) assertion of Australia being a leader in SDI development. The varying performance has the potential to contribute to the continuing exclusion of benefits that using spatial information could bring to new users, such as novices involved with managing Indigenous lands and waters within South Australia. Spatial information accessibility - Precision (Relevancy) The Precision (Relevancy) analysis positioned Queensland (1st), Western Australia (2nd) and South Australia (3rd) all well above the mean value of 1.2 and effectively confirmed South Australia as one of the more progressive states in free spatial information accessibility. All eight locations reflected an appreciation of the difference noted by Stair & Reynolds (1998) between ‘data’ and ‘information’ as more relevant webpages were returned from searches that contained ‘data’. With regards the use of ‘spatial, ‘geospatial’ and ‘GIS’, more webpages were returned using ‘spatial’ than ‘geospatial’ or ‘GIS’, which may endorse the Australian choice of being a ‘spatial industry’. With regards to the lowest Precision (relevancy) value, searches performed with a New South Wales prefix returned the least number of relevant webpages (0.75) well below the mean value and even further behind searches performed with a Queensland prefix. This position could be due in part to the New South Wales government spatial information download service known as the Spatial Information eXchange (SIX) being excluded from the analysis. SIX only allows the public to display and query spatial information and further involvement requires a login and is restricted to a user base consisting of ‘Government users, rating authorities, survey sector clients and authorised Land Valuers’ (NSW Government, 2012). Spatial information webpage prominence The Northern Territory Land Information Service was the highest ranking webpage and consequently reflected the notion of Craswell & Hawking (2009) regarding being as high as possible on a page of results from an Internet search. Although it was only a webportal, the Northern Territory Government could be well positioned if it decides to take the next step and

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Journal of Internet Business Issue 10 – 2012 _____________________________________________________________________________________________

make its spatial information free and thus transform the webpage into a geoportal. The highest ranking webpage that did allow spatial information to be freely and directly downloaded was Information Queensland, a government initiated geoportal that utilised a mapping interface. The highest ranking webpage in South Australia was the ASDD which, although it is regarded as one of the main sources for spatial information in Australia (Najar et al, 2006) is more of a service that details where spatial information can be found rather than a delivery option. The ASDD has been identified as requiring reinvigoration and Geoscience Australia has been tasked with this project (Geomatic Technologies, 2008). South Australia was well represented as a state by the DPTI and overall was approximately midway in comparison to the other states. Again, the New South Wales prefix returned the lowest result, the most prominent webpages being operated by the New South Wales natural resource agency ‘Community Access to Natural Resources Information’ and the federal Australian Electoral Commission. Significant omissions for the ranking list included Geoscience Australia, which does have a spatial information download service called ‘MapConnect’ but whose nomenclature is probably the reason for its exclusion as that service does not use any of the commonly identified terms in literature. Not surprisingly, PSMA with its market based approach to pricing, was also absent from the ranking listing. On a more local level, South Australia’s other spatial information providers, PIRSA and DEWNR had differing success. PIRSA featured in the top five of South Australia webpage rankings with its South Australia Resources Information Geoserver (SARIG), whereas the DEWNR service NatureMaps did not, which again, could be for the same reasons as Geoscience Australia’s MapConnect. Spatial Information provider - Industry sector Bolstad (2008) indicated that governments were the dominant provider of spatial information, and this assertion was reinforced as, from the results of this research, 299 relevant webpages were Government, 43 Education and 42 Private. This reflects the membership of the user group in South Australia which, although was constructed to ‘work with Aboriginal people, not to or for them’ (Corcoran, 2008, p104), was primarily constructed of government agencies. Issues The research findings have highlighted that there are accessibility issues present in the Australian spatial industry relating to spatial information nomenclature, delivery mechanisms

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and content, but a more pressing matter relates to which of the three business models, as identified by Field (2010) to follow for the accessibility of spatial information. If spatial information is not free, then the other issues of nomenclature, delivery mechanisms and content could be rendered immaterial to the new breed of user brought in by the disruptive spatial technologies, as the cost of spatial information could immediately exclude them, for, as identified by Christensen (2003), these new users are heavily influenced by price. However, free spatial information may come at a cost as those that oppose the free supply model cite that these models are poorly funded and thus produce spatial information that is inadequate for use through having poor scale resolution, spatial accuracy and being out of date. These opponents cite that the only way to ensure that spatial information is high resolution, accurate and up-to-date is to have a properly funded model paid for by the users. From the research findings presented in this paper, it would seem the views from the opponents of the free model are still the prominent voices in Australia. The free model has yet to pervade the Australian spatial industry as the Queensland Government, with its freely downloadable fundamental spatial information datasets, stands out, atop and alone in the Precision (Relevancy) and Ranking analyses. With specific regard to South Australia, its position the middle ground of the Precision (Relevancy) and Ranking analyses, tends to reflect the hybrid pricing model, a viewpoint which is endorsed by PIRSA and DPTI providing some spatial information free of charge while other spatial information e.g. cadastre property boundaries, have to be purchased. However, the three part business model was recently ‘disrupted’ when one of the premier spatial information providers in the world, Great Britain’s Ordnance Survey (a prior exponent of the market based pricing model) announced it had changed its approach to one of providing free spatial information. In doing so, the Ordnance Survey Director-General and Chief Executive, Dr Vanessa Lawrence indicated that the Ordnance Survey was creating a new, fourth business model based on free spatial information, but with the added assurance that it would be highly accurate and up to date (Field, 2010). The Labour minister responsible for the Ordnance Survey indicated that freeing Ordnance Survey spatial information would give people ‘‘the chance to reuse information in different and more imaginative ways than may originally have been intended’ and attract ‘a new wave of entrepreneurs’ who will ‘create new jobs and drive future growth’’

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(Timmins, 2010). If South Australia, and Australia as a whole, can move towards such a model which will facilitate more use with free spatial technologies such as Google Earth, the new breed of spatial information user will begin to reap the benefits that the experts have enjoyed for many years. Conclusion The research presented in this paper focussed on the accessibility of spatial information from the Internet with a particular focus upon South Australia and as such, found that there is access but it is not an easy task. This position reflects a sustaining approach to technology rather than a response to the new disruptive technologies and thus tends to reinforce the assertion of Kelly & Searle (2009) and Corcoran (2012) that accessing spatial information is problematical. Expanding the research nationwide revealed a similar situation and positioned South Australia in the mid to upper echelons. Good work is being undertaken in South Australia, but more is needed if the new users to spatial information are to be engaged. The literature identified the variety in ‘spatial information’ terminology and the most common terms were used in this research. From the regular appearance of ‘spatial’ it can be concluded that in Australia that term is becoming dominant, but the frequent appearance of the others still points to debate within the industry as to whether ‘spatial’ is the most appropriate term, an issue that is exacerbated when the arguably old and ultimately less fashionable term ‘map’ is used by some suppliers. From a novice stance, one easily remembered term would be preferable and it would seem prudent that if the spatial industry wanted to change and embrace disruptive technologies that an assessment of nomenclature should be undertaken to develop some consistency. The research revealed a variety of mechanisms available for spatial information delivery, but the Information Queensland geoportal, with its interactive mapping interface, was the exemplar. The majority of the downloaded services tended to be on the direct file download format e.g. DPTI in South Australia, but it would be beneficial to novice users if there was a nationwide move towards building interactive mapping download services similar to the Information Queensland geoportal, as novice users are familiar with such interfaces through the use of disruptive technologies such as Google Earth.

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Butler (2006, p776) suggested an easy entry into GIS would enable researchers to ‘go beyond representing the world, and start changing it’. The same applies for novice users who should be encouraged to go beyond entry level use and realise the benefits of using spatial information and, in doing so, contribute to the closing of the ‘haves and have nots’ gap identified by Laituri (2003). The basic building blocks of GIS i.e. spatial information relating to roads, cadastres etc. need to be freely available which would allow users to concentrate on collecting their own additional spatial information and then progressing onto analysis rather than just map production. The Information Queensland geoportal is leading the way with respect to the free spatial information business model, but it is operating in isolation. South Australia is fairly representative of Australia in spatial information accessibility from the Internet, but as a nation Australia still lags behind the other leading countries. However, change is happening, but the question remains as to how long the other states and territories will take to catch up to the exemplars of Queensland, Montana and British Columbia. Queensland has led the way in Australia; will the other states and territories be quick enough to respond and service the ever increasing demands of new users that have been generated by the use of disruptive technologies, such as Google Earth, for free, accurate and up to date spatial information? References Bolstad, P. (2008). GIS Fundamentals A First Text on Geographic Information Systems (3rd edn). White Bear Lake, MN: Eider Press. Bower, J. & Christensen, C. (1995). Disruptive technologies: catching the wave. Harvard Business Review, 73(1), 43–53. Butler, D. (2006). The web-wide world. Nature, 439(7078), 776-8. Carter, J. & Hill, G. (2007). Indigenous community-based fisheries in Australia. Journal of Environmental Management, 85, 866–875. Carver, S., Watson, A., Waters, T., Matt, R., Gunderson, K. & Davies, B. (2009). Developing Computer-Based Participatory Approaches to Mapping Landscape Values for Landscape and Resource Management. In S. Geertman, S., & Stillwell, J. (Eds), Planning Support Systems Best Practice and New Methods. Chapter 21 (431-448), Springer Science Business Media.

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Chang, K. (2008). Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (4th edn). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. Christensen, C. (2003). The Innovator’s Dilemma. In Huang, X. and Sošic, G. (2010) Analysis of industry equilibria in models with sustaining and disruptive technology. European Journal of Operational Research, 207, 238–248. Christensen, C. & Overdorf M. (2000). Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change. Harvard Business Review, 78 (1), 67–76. Coffee, N., Turner, D., Clark, R., Eckert, K., Coombe, D., Hugo, G., van Gaans, D., Wilkinson, D., Stewart, S. & Tonkin, A. (2012). Measuring national accessibility to cardiac services using geographic information systems. Applied Geography, 34, 445-455. Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) (2008). The Value of Spatial Information The impact of modern spatial information technologies on the Australian economy Prepared for the CRC for Spatial Information & ANZLIC – the Spatial Information Council. Retrieved: 11 September 2012 from http://www.crcsi.com.au/Documents/ACILTasmanReport_full.aspx Corcoran, P. (2008). Spatial Information in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands and water Management. South Australian Geographical Journal, 107, 103-116. Corcoran, P. (2012). An assessment of the accessibility of spatial data from the Internet to facilitate further participation with geographical information systems for novice indigenous users in South Australia. Webology, 9(2), Article 97. Retrieved: 11 September 2012 from http://www.webology.org/2012/v9n2/a97.html Cowan, D. (2008). The Availability of Geographic Data: The Current Technical and Institutional Environment. In Wilson, J. & Fotheringham, S. (Eds), The Handbook of Geographic Information Science. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Craswell, N. & Hawking, N. (2009). Web Information Retrieval. In Göker, A. & Davies, J. (Eds), Information Retrieval: Searching in the 21st Century (85-101). Chichester, Wiley. Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) (2012). Indigenous Australian stories mapped for future generations. Retrieved: 11 September 2012 from http://esriaustralia.com.au/u/lib/cms/casestudy_apyweb.pdf Field, K. (2010). Politics and Cartography Collide: Mapping the Changing Landscape of Ordnance Survey. The Cartographic Journal, 47(1), 7–11. Geomatic Technologies (2008). ICSM ASDI Consultancy Spatially Enabling Australia Recommendations. Retrieved: 12 September 2012 from http://www.icsm.gov.au/icsm/asdi/ASDI-Spatially_Enabling_Australia-V2.pdf Grech, A., Ambar, S. & Marsh, H. (2008). Torres Strait Community GIS: Building the capacity of Torres Strait Islander communities in Natural Resource Management through integration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Scientific Knowledge. Report to the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited. Cairns.

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Heywood, I., Cornelius, S. & Carver, S. (2002). An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (2nd edn). Harlow, Pearson Education Limited. Hoverman, S. & Ayre, M. (2012). Methods and approaches to support Indigenous water planning: An example from the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, Australia. Journal of Hydrology. Retrieved: 12 September 2012 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.03.005 Huang, X. and Sošic, G. (2010). Analysis of industry equilibria in models with sustaining and disruptive technology. European Journal of Operational Research, 207, 238–248. Huettman, F. (2010). Research management viewpoint: Databases and science-based management in the context of wildlife and habitat: Toward a certified ISO standard for objective decision making for the global community by using the internet. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 69(2). Kelly, P. & Searle, B. (2009). Converging Paths to an Australian SDI. Presentation to GSDI 11, Rotterdam, June. Laituri, M. (2003). The Issue of Access: An Assessment guide for Evaluating Public Participation Geographic Information Science Case Studies. URISA Journal, 15, 22-32. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) (2012). LINZ data service. Retrieved: 12 September 2012 from http://www.linz.govt.nz/about-linz/linz-data-service. Lee, C. & Percival, G. (2008). Standards-Based Computing Capabilities for Distributed Geospatial Applications, Computer Innovation Technology for Computer Professionals, IEEE Computer Society, 50-57. Lewandowski, D. (2005). Web Searching, search engines and Information Retrieval. Information Services and Use, 25, 137-147. Lewandowski, D. & Hochstotter, N. (2008). Web Searching: A Quality Measurement Perspective. In Spink, A. and Zimmer, M. (Eds.) Web Search: Springer Series in Information Science and Knowledge Management 14. Berlin Heidelberg, SpringerVerlag, 309-340. Retrieved: 11 September 2012 from http://www.springerlink.com/content/k7uw582vq6241730/fulltext.pdf Masser, I. (2002). Report on A comparative analysis of NSDI’s in Australia, Canada and the United States. Geographic Information Network in Europe. Sheffield. Masser, I. (2009). Changing Notions of a Spatial Data Infrastructure. In van Loenen, B., Besemer, J. & Zevenbergen, J. (Eds), SDI Convergence. Research, Emerging Trends, and Critical Assessment. Nederlandse Commissie voor Geodesie, Netherlands Geodetic Commission. Meier, P. (2011). New information technologies and their impact on the humanitarian sector, International Review of the Red Cross, 93(884), 1239-1263. Michael, K. & Dunn, L. (2007). The use of information and communication technology for the preservation of Aboriginal culture: the Badimaya people of Western Australia. In Dyson,

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L., Hendriks, M. & Grant, S. (Eds) Information Technology and Indigenous People. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing. Mowshowitz, A. & Kawaguchi, A. (2005). Measuring search engine bias. Information processing & management, 41(5), 1193 -1205. Najar, C. Rajabifard, A., Williamson, I. & Giger, C. (2006). A Framework for Comparing Spatial Data Infrastructures An Australian-Swiss Case Study. Presentation to GSDI 9, Santiago, November. National Broadcasting Company (NBC) (2012). Locations services are smartphone gold, but not many people ‘check in’. Retrieved: 5 November 2012 from http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/location-services-are-smartphone-goldnot-many-people-check-767197 Nedovic-Budic Z., Feeney, M., Rajabifard, A. & Williamson, I. (2004). Are SDIs serving the needs of local planning? Case study of Victoria, Australia and Illinois, USA. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 28, 329–351. New South Wales Government (2012). Spatial Information Exchange. Retrieved: 12 September 2012 from https://six.nsw.gov.au/wps/portal/. Padgett, D. & Mulvey, M. (2007). Differentiation Via Technology: Strategic Positioning of Services Following the Introduction of Disruptive Technology. Journal of Retailing, 8(4), 375–391. Peterson, E. & York, V. (2003). User Evaluation of the Montana Natural Resource Information System (NRIS), In-Depth Evaluation of Digital Collections Using Snowball Sampling and Interviews. D-Lib Magazine, 9(7-8). PwC (2010). ANZLIC – Spatial Information Council Economic Assessment of spatial data Pricing and Access Stage 1 Report: Principles, Issue and Alternative models. Retrieved: 11 September 2012 from, http://www.crcsi.com.au/Documents/ANZLIC-EconomicStudy---Stage-1-Report.aspx Sampath Kumar, B. & Prakash, J. (2009). Precision and Relative Recall of Search Engines: A Comparative Study of Google and Yahoo. Singapore Journal of Library & Information Management, 38, 124-137. Shafi, S. & Rather, R. (2007). Precision and Recall of Five Search engines for retrieval of Scholarly Information in the Field of Biotechnology. Webology, 2(2). Smith, A. (2003). Think local, search global? Comparing search engines for searching geographically specific information. Online Information Review, 27(2), 102-109. Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA) (2012). Spatial Industries Business Association. Retrieved: 11 September 2012 from http://www.spatialbusiness.org/. Spink, A. & Jansen, B. (2005). Web Search: Public Searching of the Web, pp127-136, Springer, Netherlands. Retrieved: 11 September 2012 http://www.springerlink.com/content/978-14020-2268-5#section=528922&page=1

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Stair, R. & Reynolds, G. (1998). Principles of Information Systems A Managerial Approach (3rd edn). Cambridge, MA: Course Technology. Stocker, L., Burke, G., Kennedy, D. & Wood, D. (2012). Sustainability and climate adaptation: Using Google Earth to engage stakeholders. Ecological Economics, 80, 15-24. Tatnall, A. (2005). Web Portals: The New Gateways to Internet Information and Services. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing. Timmins, N. (2010). Ordnance Survey data to boost business. Retrieved: 5 November 2012 from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/727ec284-3cf5-11df-bbcf-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2BPlf6lr4 Tongchim, S., Sornlertlamvanich, V. & Isahara, H. (2007). Improving Search Performance: A Lesson Learned from Evaluating Search Engines Using Thai Queries, IEICE Transactions, 90(10), 1557-1564. Wadembere, I. & Ssewanyana, J.K. (2010). Future IT trends for GIS/Spatial Information Management. Scientific Research and Essay, 5(10), 1025-1032. Walsh, S. (2004). Roadmapping a disruptive technology: A case study The emerging microsystems and top-down nanosystems industry, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 71(1-2), 161–185. Wang, C., Xie, X., Wang, L., Yansheng, L. & Ma, W. (2005). Detecting Geographic Locations from Web Resources. In Jones, C. & Purves, R. (Eds), Presentation to Workshop On Geographic Information Retrieval. GIR 2005. Bremen, Germany. November. Wilson, J. & Fotheringham, S. (2008). The Handbook of Geographic Information Science. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Wyngaarden, R. & Waters, N. (2007). An Unfinished Revolution: Gaining Perspective on the Future of GIS. Geoworld. Retrieved 11 September 2012 from http://www.geoplace.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=DA72DA013599412F85B2FD29498DD 7E3&nm=a+test&type=MultiPublishing&mod=PublishingTitles&mid=2F0B36C074B04 B3DAACB3F3733414366&tier=4&id=82D846E0F00440F29A8AB4942928AB42

Acknowledgements Appreciation is extended to Bronwen Bowskill (Independent GIS consultant) for assistance in the Western Australia data collection phase and the University of South Australia for providing researcher travel funds. Additionally, thanks go to Associate Professor David Bruce from the University of South Australia and Dr Steve Carver from the University of Leeds for providing valuable comments on the paper.

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Spatial information accessibility in South Australia from the Internet: a ...

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