Two minutes is now all it takes for Melbourne tradies, developers and home renovators to determine where it is safe to dig, thanks to a smart mapping application that has revolutionised one council’s Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) service.

Developed by City of Boroondara – using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology from smart mapping giant Esri Australia – the application instantly retrieves location specific information of networks and infrastructure which lie beneath the ground.

The internal application is integrated into the existing national DBYD service, which provides free advice on where underground utilities are situated to avoid accidental damage by digging.

City of Boroondara IT Manager David Bellchambers said the application has slashed request response times from an average 30 hours per request to under two minutes – saving consumers and council valuable time and money.

“Previously, one of our council officers worked full-time processing 80 requests a week, mapping them on our central system and then developing a response,” Mr Bellchambers said.

“This process was very time and labour intensive and it could take days to reply to home renovators, builders or tradesmen waiting to find out where they could dig.” 

“Now, basic requests are completed within two minutes, enabling work to proceed efficiently while enhancing the safety of those working onsite and the security of our underground assets.” 

“Since launching the application three and a half months ago, we have responded to approximately 2,500 requests for information.” 

“By streamlining our request for information processes, our staff can now focus on other important tasks, leading to more efficiency in our budgeting.”

Esri Australia local government specialist Mehrnoush Ghorbani said incorporating GIS technology into the request for information process could revolutionise how councils comply with the DBYD service.

“The application not only enables councils to operate smarter, but also equips excavators with the timely and accurate information they need to make safe decisions on where to dig.” Ms Ghorbani said.

“Through this clever, user-friendly solution, citizens can now receive critical information more efficiently, which is particularly beneficial in today’s digital age where the demand for online access to council services is growing.” 

“The City of Boroondara’s successful application will no doubt serve as a blueprint for other local governments to streamline their Dial Before You Dig obligations.”

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