The City of Launceston’s online history smart map reveals intriguing insights into a burgeoning city – charting its almost 200-year journey to today.
Launceston was once so full of sinners it was declared ‘too wicked to be saved’ by a group of vacating religious folk.
This particularly bleak assessment of the city is just one of many fascinating stories that can be found in a Launceston City Council online smart map that delves back nearly two centuries.
Created with smart mapping technology from Esri Australia, the digital map tells the tales of a burgeoning city just 20 years old and home to a mere 2,000 people.
City of Launceston Spatial Sciences Manager, Alex Crothers, said the map opens up the city’s colourful history.
“The map is based on an 1826 map by surveyor William Stanley Sharland, one of the earliest and most detailed survey maps of the fledgling settlement,” Mr Crothers said.
“On the digital map, elements of the original map – such as property boundaries and structures – are layered over modern maps of Launceston, including satellite imagery.”
“These are augmented with titillating and detailed histories and photographs of the residents and buildings of the time.”
“The map taps into the fascination we all have about how our cities have developed and just who has lived on this piece of land we now occupy.”
But while the smart map – which has attracted more than 5,000 views since it was launched last year – looks to the city’s past; it is joined on the Council’s mapping portal by a range of digital maps that are clearly vital for its future.
“We initially provided digital maps of our planning scheme, but the benefits of smart mapping are so significant we have moved far beyond that,” Mr Crothers said.
“Our online maps now enable the community, businesses and organisations to instantly access information and applications such as Council planning data, flood maps and parking areas.”
Esri Australia local government specialist Bertrand Gauch said City of Launceston’s approach is at the cutting-edge of government-citizen interaction.
“Previously, the public were required to contact councils to access paper copies of maps – with the process resulting in restrictions on viewing times and strain on available resources.”
“Now council information is available 24 hours a day to anyone who needs it.”
“This has also had a significant positive impact on budget, with Council saving more than $100,000 during the past year alone, as a result of streamlining its processes.”
The mapping portal joins the council’s new Open Data Site which provides high-quality spatial data for public use.