The latest ALGIM News and Updates

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  • 23 Apr 2018 10:28 AM | Anonymous

    This article is a republishing of one printed in the August 2017 issue of our Network magazine.

    Unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, remotely piloted aircraft system – whatever you want to call them (and those names do have slightly different meanings), there’s no doubt that most people just call them drones.

    In the not too distant past, the term drone conjured up images of a missile laden aircraft circling over a combat zone. Now though, as they have become more commercially available, the drone is starting to change the way we interact with the world around us.

    The Autumn GIS and IRM conference featured drones heavily, but the fascinating aspect was the many different perspectives presented by our speakers. To give an overview of the latest thinking and applications for the ever-growing number of remotely piloted systems, we bring you the highlights from three of these expert speakers.

    Drones in the disaster zone

    In the hours after a disaster hits, getting a clear picture of the situation is crucial. For New Zealand Fire Service’s Craig MacAlpine, the Edgecumbe flooding in early-April demonstrated the power of drone imagery.

    As he ran through the presentation at conference, the high-resolution images of the flood zone were quite stunning, with the audience clearly able to see where the barriers broke as the water surged through. Just as surprising was the fact that he had the drone with him, in a pouch that could’ve been mistaken for a DSLR camera bag.

    Available for just a few thousand dollars at an electronics store near you, this drone was just a test run for the Fire Service, but it certainly proved the worth of drones. The team were able to set the drone’s course, and let it go, as it set about documenting the flood zone from the air.

    Carried out over several days, and overlaid onto spatial maps, this gave the emergency response team the ability to see detailed imaging of the area, and how the situation changed over time. With new, bigger drones on the way, the Fire Service is looking at much bigger range of applications, including the placement of FLIR cameras to identify hotspots after wildfires.

    That’s fantastic, but there are some important considerations to make when using drones. The key one is data. What are you wanting to use it for, and how are you going to transfer it? When you find yourself in the field, with limited internet connectivity, transferring several gigabytes of image files is not always the easiest. Getting low-resolution data out quickly is doable, but the detailed images will take longer. So take this into consideration when looking at how you’ll use your drone.

    The drone data deluge

    Speaking of data, Dr Catherine Ball believes that drones are just the platform. The real excitement comes with the information they gather, but we must be prepared to handle the fire hose of data these devices can produce. In other words, the data is where you find the “power and the pain”.

    If local government starts to get into drones, and there is every indication that will happen (you may have already started), then having a way to store, manage, and archive this will be critical. It can also bring a lot of benefits for the council, with data available to be sold to commercial companies, or provided to ratepayers as a goodwill gesture, especially in rural areas.

    The collection of this data also sends us flying into a potential minefield – that of geo-ethics. Just because we can collect data doesn’t mean we should, and we do, it needs to be done with consideration to the owners of the land. This is especially important in New Zealand, as councils respect the right of private land owners, and partner with tangata whenua.

    Emergency situations also provide an occasion for getting tangled in the ethics of drones, as we weigh the balance of getting excellent and valuable imaging, with the potential of invading the privacy of those on the ground who may be injured or dead.

    Before you think it’s not all doom and gloom, be assured that the future of drones is a bright one. Dr Ball has a passion for involving drones in humanitarian purposes. Some innovative uses include checking coral bleaching on the great barrier reef, and locating feral pigs in Northern Territory to help indigenous rangers bait and hunt them in a safer, more effective way.

    To finish on a quote from Dr Ball, “If you use the right drone and the right payload, you can get unbiased, beautiful data.”

    Drones and AR: For when normal reality just isn’t good enough

    Knowing what you want to do with drone data has been mentioned several times as a key consideration. If you ask Simon Yorke from Aurecon, the question is closer to ‘what haven’t you done with drone data?’

    An experimenter with emerging technologies, Simon and his team have one foot squarely in the future. Perhaps the most impressive example is the modelling work conducted on the massive slip in Sumner, caused by the 2011 earthquake. You’ve probably seen images of the slip – the road lined by shipping containers to protect traffic from falling rocks.

    Managing the slip, and getting a good idea of how it was changing, was a challenge for the geologists. That’s where the drones came in. After creating a 3D map of the slip, Aurecon deployed a drone to snap every possible angle of the slip, with a level of detail that allowed you to see the marks where the diggers had scraped the soil.

    Next, these images were overlaid on a 3D map, giving the geologists access to an unprecedented detail. Not only did they find new things about the slip they hadn’t known, they also got to see the site as it changed, and carry out regular rockfall simulations.

    That’s not where it ended though. Using Microsoft’s HoloLens technology, the map was viewable in augmented reality (AR), allowing the map to be projected onto a flat surface, so people could walk around it, examine it from all angles, and zoom right into an extreme level of detail.

    This is just one aspect of the work they are doing, and there are plenty more amazing things on the horizon. The team are now experimenting with spatial sound. Take the example of an AR map designed to show contractors where pipes, powerlines, and other crucial services are located. As you move around the map, or zoom in, you will hear the chirp of birds on the power lines or the gurgle of water rushing through pipes, all working to immerse you in sound and provide aural feedback to your actions.

    We are still in the early days of drones, and this can be an exciting time as people experiment with new and innovative uses. However, as our speakers remind us, there are many aspects – from safety to ethics – that we need to consider before our unmanned companions take to the sky.

  • 4 Apr 2018 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    Join our free webinar, brought to you by ALGIM and BlockBit, and discover the potential of emerging technology.

    11am, 11 April 2018

    Technologies such as blockchain, digital identity, and IoT have huge potential benefits for local government. There is an understanding that emerging technologies will dramatically improve business, and people are committed to creating connected environments for their employees and customers. However, integrating these technologies and understanding how they will impact businesses can be difficult.

    This webinar will focus on how blockchain, digital identity, and IoT can transform services delivered by government agencies at all levels, offering enhanced security, transparency and reliability. When implemented successfully, these technologies can redefine the relationship between government and citizen in terms of data sharing and trust.  

    Can't make the webinar time? Register anyway, and the webinar will be made available for you to watch on demand, whenever suits your schedule.


  • 1 Mar 2018 4:13 PM | Anonymous

    ALGIM are local government’s information management specialists, and we want to ensure that our members (all the Councils of New Zealand) have the tools and knowledge they need to carry out their function as an Executive Sponsor under the Public Records Act regulations.

    That’s why we’ve designed a 1 hour webinar hosted by ALGIM’s expert speaker, Kerri Siatiras to give you a briefing on what you need to know about being an Executive Sponsor. These webinars can be viewed live, or if you aren’t available at the time, we can record and send it to you, so you can view it in your free time.

    As an Executive Sponsor under the Public Records Act 2005 (PRA), it’s crucial that you understand the implications for your role and your organisation.

    Over the course of this hour-long webinar, Kerri will take you through finer points of the PRA and your role as the nominated Executive Sponsor for your organisation, covering many important topics, including:

    • An overview of the PRA, and what you as sponsor need to know about it
    • The purpose of having an Executive Sponsor
    • The requirements and responsibilities of an Executive Sponsor
    • How to meet these requirements in a practical way
    • What you should ensure is occurring within your organisation
    • What accountabilities there are to Archives NZ
    • Introduction to the Information and Records Management Standard for Senior Managers
    • The dilemma of digital preservation that all Local Authorities will face

    There will also be plenty of time for a Q&A at the end. Make sure you have your council covered – join us for this webinar and get a real understanding of what it means to be an effective Executive Sponsor.

    Join us at 11am, Wednesday, 21 March by registering here.

  • 14 Feb 2018 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    Registrations are now open for ALGIM's Autumn Conference GIS and IRM. Developed by local government for local government, ALGIM's Autumn Conference is the place to be for anyone interested in geospatial, information and records management, and how the two intersect.

    With expert speakers, networking, council case studies, great exhibitors, hot topic discussions, pre-conference workshops, and more, this conference is not to be missed.

    Highlights include:

    • 'The Queen of Drones' Dr Catherine Ball
    • Richard Foy, Chief Archivist, Archives NZ
    • Ellen Broad, Open Data Institute
    • Ian Taylor, CEO, Animation Research
    • Keri Niven, Digital Collaboration Leader, Aurecon
    • Council case studies
    • GIS and IRM hot topics
    • A Women in Spatial breakfast (open to all attendees)
    • Two pre-conference workshops
    • Paralympian gold medalist Liam Malone

    For more information and the full programme, see our Autumn Conference page.

    If you want to go ahead an register, you can go straight to our registration page.

  • 9 Jan 2018 9:27 AM | Anonymous

    Welcome to 2018.

    Last year was an exciting one, with our new combined conferences kicking off, and a lot of great work being done throughout local government.

    We wanted to give you a look at what we have in store for you this year, so check out our list below of the exciting work we'll be doing for local government over the next 12 months.


    Yes, ALGIM's droneSafe training is kicking off in February. Giving you the fundamentals of what you need to know to comply with regulations and health and safety laws when flying a drone.

    Autumn Conference

    14-15 May 2018 | James Cook Grand Chancellor | Wellington

    GIS and Information & Records Management are coming together again for our second Autumn Conference. Packed with fantastic speakers from home and abroad, it's going to be a great one. Registrations open soon.

    Spring Conference

    This popular conference for customer service and web & digital professionals is off to Auckland in September, with the final venue and date being locked down. With more incredible speakers, and site visits to New Zealand's biggest council, and some of our largest and most dynamic companies, the Spring Conference is not to be missed.

    Annual Conference

    Our premier event, with a wide range of speakers, networking events, and exhibitors, this will again be in November. Keep an eye out for more details.


    Last year saw a webinar schedule that covered cybersecurity, the Public Records Act, retention and disposal and more. This year our webinar calendar will offer more topics across a variety of disciplines.


    Whether run before or after a conference, or as separate one-day events, we'll be providing plenty of professional development opportunities.

    A new website

    Yes, our website is getting a modern overhaul. Keep an eye out for that in the coming months.

    and much more

    With continued development of our IM and Customer Service Toolkits, our work on Linked Data, and advocacy to central government, we're in for a busy year.

  • 22 Dec 2017 9:20 AM | Anonymous

    Does your council have a drone? A few years ago, the answer probably would’ve been no. Now, it’s becoming unusual if you aren’t at least dabbling in the world of remotely piloted aircraft.

    Compared to the early, Wild West era of drone flight, the Civil Aviation Authority has tightened up on the requirements for drone operators, and anyone from your council must be up-to-date with all the regulations surrounding drone flight to ensure you don’t fall afoul of civil aviation or health and safety rules.

    That’s why ALGIM is partnering with droneSafe’s Tony Krzyzewski (or Tony K as many of you will know him), to offer droneSafe courses beginning in 2018.

    Run once a month, each course will have limited numbers, and is designed to give business operators of drone technology sufficient knowledge and understanding required to effectively and safely operate these devices within the law.

    It will not only give you an understanding of what operators need to do to ensure safety in flight but also why this is required and how environmental, human, and technological factors can affect flight.

    See below for a full list of what the course covers.

    The first course will be run in Palmerston North on 8 February at Palmerston North Airport. We are also happy to discuss running the course at your council. 

    If you'd like to be informed when registrations open, email


    All the details

    CAA Parts 101 impose specific requirements on operators of unmanned aircraft that must be followed in order to ensure compliance with regulations.

    A key part of the regulations is the requirement to ensure that flight operations will not create a hazard to persons, property and other aircraft and these requirements mirror requirements under the Health & Safety at Work Act where the operations are carried out as by every person conducting a Business or Undertaking. There is a requirement under both CAA and Health and Safety rules that reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that safety requirements are met.

    The CAA regulations also demand knowledge of (and compliance with) the Remotely Piloted Aircraft regulations, and specifically require the operator to have knowledge of the airspace designation in the area of intended operation or be under the supervision of a person with this knowledge.

    We believe that flight safety begins with a good understanding applicable regulations, of the technologies used, an understanding and ability to interpret information available to the operator such as the weather and aviation charts, and a good grounding in processes designed to enable the flight operation to be conducted safely. 

    Our course has been developed by Tony Krzyzewski, a private pilot with experimental aircraft flight testing certification and experience. He has taken the hazard identification and mitigation techniques learnt as part of test flying programmes and applied them for the first time into the drone operating environment. The droneSafe training course is not only designed to give you an understanding of what operators need to do to ensure safety in flight but also why this is required and how environmental, human, and technological factors can affect flight.

    The droneSafe course is designed to give operators of drone technology sufficient knowledge and understanding required to effectively and safely operate these devices within the law. This course does not provide practical training for flight and does not provide pilot qualification as defined under CAA Part 101 for operation of remotely piloted aircraft within 4km of an aerodrome. 

    The training course does not presume any prior knowledge of aviation law or fundamentals of flight as these are included within the syllabus. Course attendees are supplied with take home material and support information to assist with ongoing operational safety. Each participating organisation completing the course is supplied with a current Airways Visual Navigation Chart for the participant's region

    Course content includes:

    Theory of Operations

    · Theory of Flight

    · Multicopter Fundamentals

    · Battery Management

    Aviation Law

    · CAA Part 101

    · CAA Part 102

    Understanding Airspace

    · Airspace Classifications

    · Uncontrolled Airspace Operations

    · Controlled Airspace Operations

    · Aerodrome Airspace Operations

    · Prohibited Areas

    · Airspace Resources

    Flight Fundamentals

    · Terminology

    · The Compass and GPS

    · Drone Control Systems

    · Radio Telephony Basics


    · Local Wind Effects

    · Weather Hazards

    · Measuring the Wind

    · Weather Resources

    Aviation Charts

    · The AIP

    · Interpreting Aerodrome Plates

    · Interpreting the VNC

    · Navigation Resources

    Privacy Considerations

    Airmanship & Safety

    · Fit to Fly

    · Hazard Identification

    · Risk Assessment

    Flight Planning

    · Hazard Identification

    · NOTAMS

    · Land Owner Permissions

    · Airspace Permissions

    Pre Flight Checks

    Flight Operations

    Post Flight Checks


    A droneSafe certificate of completion will be given to all attendees.

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