Digital hazard mapping used during the federal election

07 June 2019

In the lead-up to the recent federal election, Geoscience Australia developed a digital mapping tool for the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to monitor their election sites for potential natural hazards.

For the first time, the AEC was able to monitor over 13,000 election sites for hazards, such as bushfires, cyclones and floods, across the country in a clear and efficient way.

The AEC Assistant Commissioner of Operations said they were inspired by similar processes Geoscience Australia has been involved in with other agencies.

“We saw the hazard mapping work Geoscience Australia performs for the Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre, so we asked if they could help us do something similar,” Assistant Commissioner of Operations said.

“The tool Geoscience Australia gave us was a valuable overview of all our sites across the country, as we can now monitor and prepare for potential hazards.

“Thankfully, there were no major hazards on polling day, however we did use the map extensively before the election to help our Queensland colleagues monitor areas affected by tropical cyclone Ann.”

Geoscience Australia’s head of National Location Information, Simon Costello said Geoscience Australia worked closely with the AEC to make sure the digital mapping tool met their needs.

“The setup included approximately 40 live emergency management and weather feeds – such as bushfire or flood warnings – supplied by the Federal, State and Territory governments,” Mr Costello said.

“For a number of years now Geoscience Australia has worked closely with national and state emergency management agencies to produce data and information at a national view. Access to nationally consistent information provides an extra layer of intelligence for any scenario, as it did for the federal election.

“We’re now looking at how our digital mapping tools could be improved and applied to other national scenarios.”

A map of Australia and extensive key with many symbols and colours to show election data and potential natural hazards.

Geoscience Australia developed a digital mapping tool for the Australian Electoral Commission to monitor election sites for potential natural hazards.