Friday 02 February 2018
02 / 02 / 2018

Pioneering environmental data sharing platform shortlisted for Australian iTnews Benchmark Award

A pioneering environmental data portal delivered by New South Wales Government and Informed Solutions has been shortlisted for the 2018 iTnews Benchmark Awards, which celebrate the leading and most successful technology projects across the Australian business community and within government.

The Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data (SEED) portal is a public-facing portal that brings together over 112 scientific datasets on land, air and water from nine state agencies and bodies in a single place.

Led by the NSW Government in response to community requests for reliable and readily available information about the environment, SEED was launched in December 2016. At the time, the then New South Wales Minister for the Environment, Mark Speakman, said: “The future vision for SEED is for the portal to become one of the most accessible and richest sources of quality data on the NSW environment.”

This vision has been realised. Hailed as a shining example of what can be achieved by government when they commit to open data and multi-agency collaboration, the portal won three prestigious iAwards last year and continues to win praise as the whole-of-government service grows from strength to strength. 

With ever more datasets and user communities coming on board, the portal is helping lead a NSW open data revolution which is delivering better outcomes for citizens through greater and easier access to information, insights and innovative tools.

“The beauty of this portal is that it makes a huge amount of information and data about the environment, from government, industry, research and citizen science, easily discoverable and accessible to all citizens,” explained Dr Kate Wilson, Executive Director, Science, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

“This is a great example of how innovative digital solutions can support social inclusion by benefitting both urban and rural communities, as well as help build trust between concerned citizens, industry and government” said Dr Wilson.

“Valuable data resources, previously held by government, researchers, industry and experts are now an open, transparent and shared resource that anyone can access anywhere, at any time, on mobile devices as well as on laptops and desktops. It empowers people by letting them understand and use any information available for places that are of interest to them” added Dr Wilson.

Commenting on the announcement that SEED has been shortlisted for an iTnews Benchmark Award, Informed’s CEO Elizabeth Vega said she was very proud of the positive impact the portal was having.

“This is a fantastic achievement for all the NSW government agencies that collaborated on this project to break down old barriers and preconceptions, as well as for our Australian team who worked hard to deliver the solution in ambitious timescales,” she said. “It was a challenging and complex innovation project but the results are clear and speak for themselves.  We’re delighted that SEED continues to go from strength to strength.

“Of course, it’s also highly satisfying to see the portal being scaled up and the number of users and data sets growing all the time.  Everyone from community groups to Aboriginal land councils and farmers are using it to gain better insights, engage in constructive debate and make informed decisions by understanding more about the environment.  It’s a wonderful and inspiring example of Australian innovation that’s now getting global recognition with countries like the UK looking at replicating it.”

The winners of the 2018 iTnews Benchmark Awards will be announced on February 20, 2018.