PNCC GIS team leader André Kruger says the concept is fairly simple. "We've started with a set of 'Google like' base maps on which users can layer information such as the location of parks, bus stops or rateable valuations on top of the map.
The viewer is provided to consortium members for free in exchange for time, commitment to the product and a sharing of skills and experience. The initial consortium members have made enhancements and customisations to improve usability.
Mr Kruger says the Geo-Guide site was deployed within a relatively short time, using the capabilities of Council's GIS system, and ESRI's (internationally renowned GIS software supplier) ARCGIS Server, provided them.
A total of 17 local government territorial authorities and other government organisations have joined the GISCO consortium to benefit from the collaborative work that has been done since 2009.
"The upgrade occurred in-house, which means it was at minimal cost to rate-payers."
"The user interface is intuitive and will be particularly helpful to those who're planning to move to Palmerston North, real estate and commercial agents and contracting companies."
PowerCo (electricity line network company) planning engineer, Sam Hadley-Jones uses Geo-guide. "It's a useful tool for my HV cable planning. The public utility and aerial imagery information provided is fast, accurate and accessible."
"In the future I'd like to see mutual integration or sharing of GIS systems between willing asset managers, such as Powerco and the Council."
Mike Helleur, general manager Property Brokers, which sponsors Geo-Guide, says it's a valuable tool for the community and in particular in helping with real estate. "It adds immensely to the ability of the public to make an informed decision on where and what to buy. We feel that this kind of in-depth information is of great benefit to all."
Mr Kruger says the whole idea behind it is placing information into the hands of those who need it whether that is Council staff of members of the public.
In a separate technology move the Palmerston North City Council is providing information using LAYAR, an information application for smartphones, to provide rates, capital and land value of property just by pointing a smart phone at a property.
LAYAR is an augmented reality application that uses the GPS on your phone to provide information about the properties around you. It will find the 50 closest rates valuations to your current location, and the range can be set by the user if needed.
Mr Kruger says LAYAR is a mobile platform for discovering information about the world around you. Using Augmented Reality technology, layar displays digital information called layars into your smart phone's field of vision.
LAYAR is available from Apple's App Store or Android's Google Play, after it is installed on your smartphone or tablet just search the layers under Real Estate for 'PNCC' to find the PNCC RID layer.