Conference to become focus for 'virtual Australia/NZ' effort

Virtual Australia and NZ Inc to run conference on creating an authorised 3D virtual world

Moves towards building a virtual database of building and terrain data over the whole of Australia and New Zealand will focus next month around a conference in Sydney.

Conference organisers claim it will be an unprecedented gathering of experts from both countries on digital models of buildings on the one hand and geographical terrain modelling on the other, as well as the legal apparatus surrounding it.

Using the tag-line “Creating an Authorised 3D Virtual World”, the two-day VANZI (Virtual Australia and NZ Inc) conference on May 13-14 will include “representation from across all levels of government, including the NZ government as well as major utilities, insurers and property owners,” says VANZI CEO Michael Haines.

“It will be a world first that it brings together both spatial and building modelling technologists, with government and private sector users, to consider the legal framework needed to provide certainty, privacy and security in the virtual world,” he says.

A prominent New Zealand government speaker will be Simon Lloyd-Evans, manager infrastructure and resource markets in the GeoBuild programme at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. He will address “The benefits of integrating Spatial and BIM (building information modelling) into the consenting process.”

The GeoBuild initiative is a joint development of MBIE’s building and housing arm, Land Information New Zealand and Ministry for the Environment. MBIE’s 2011-12 annual report describes it as “an integrated set of online tools intended to link all aspects of the construction process from design through to procurement, construction and maintenance.”

A key initial focus of GeoBuild is online processing of building consents.

A brief on a National Online Consenting System (Nocs) is being drafted for submission to pertinent ministers. This could act as a rationale for combining BIM, GIS and consenting, which works in the same direction as the VANZI initiative.

It is the “property professions” such as architects, engineers, construction companies and building owners and managers that will drive the development of VANZ, Haines says, “as they will be competing to create complete 3D models of the outside and inside of every existing building — for facility and property management purposes.”

Likewise, national and local government are collecting information on terrain to provide a “context” for buildings and “the basis for a 3D cadastre that determines property boundaries and entitlements.

“As these separate models are built, the need for a secure ‘integrating’ framework becomes more urgent, Haines says.

This will also involve integration of the legal framework surrounding each building, Haines says.

“There is [currently] no framework for the virtual world, and there are potentially many copies and versions of tens of millions of data sets located on millions of computers under the control of millions of different entities, including offshore [organisations]. Under current arrangements, there is no way to know what is: the ‘authoritative data set’, nor where it is, nor the rights, responsibilities and restrictions that apply to it,” he says.

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