New Ground | Expert Environmental Consultants in Queensland

Using GIS in Environmental Planning

The Role of GIS and Mapping in Modern Environmental Planning

What is GIS?

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) serve as a framework for collecting, storing, and analysing geographical data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data. It analyses spatial location and organises layers of information into visualisations using maps and 3D scenes. With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations. This type of data can be used throughout many areas of environmental planning such as environmental approvals, risk assessments, bushfire hazard management and ecological assessment reports. 

GIS consists of these key components: hardware for storing and processing data, software for analysis and visualisation, geographical and attribute data, skilled professionals to operate the system, and methods for data interpretation and analysis.  In this blog, we explore some tools commonly used within GIS for data collection and analysis in environmental planning. 

1. GPS

Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is invaluable for fieldwork as collecting data for GIS can be time consuming.  Whether it’s mapping out sensitive habitats or calculating Bushfire Attack Levels, GPS aids in the collection and subsequent post-processing of data, ensuring high levels of spatial accuracy.

2. Spatial Analysis

Spatial analysis is the process of examining, modeling, and interpreting spatial relationships and patterns. This is a core function of GIS software and is used to derive insights from geographic data. For example, the tool helps us to assess Koala Habitat Areas (KHA), study tree viability, and explore biodiversity—all crucial factors for responsible environmental planning. This is also a tool used by New Ground in the management and monitoring of environmental offset sites.

3. High-Resolution LiDAR

LiDAR technology revolutionises the way we understand and plan around the natural landscape. High-resolution LiDAR maps are particularly useful for examining elevation and vegetation cover, which are vital metrics when assessing bushfire hazards or planning resource management.

4. Aerial Imagery

High-resolution aerial imagery supplements our GIS data by providing both current and historical views of a landscape. Images captured by satellites are often used as base layers in GIS projects to provide spatial context. This is particularly useful for identifying vegetation changes over time and planning field surveys accordingly. 

The synergy of GPS technology, spatial analysis, high-resolution LiDAR, and aerial imagery allows us to create a holistic GIS framework for comprehensive environmental planning. These advanced GIS capabilities not only benefit environmental consultants but also empower government bodies, property developers, and conservation groups to make data-driven decisions. 

GIS plays a pivotal role in assimilating diverse data sets, be it from government agencies, surveyors, or ecologists. By embracing this technology, we aim to make environmental planning more effective, sustainable, and adaptable to the needs of the modern world. If you’d like to learn more about GIS technology can help your project, fill out our enquiry form and we’ll be in touch. 

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