How LINZ developed the award-winning LINZ Data Service
Koordinates is a world-leading product. No other platform that we’ve seen can actually do what Koordinates does. This is the best geospatial data platform in the world, and we feel lucky to have worked with Koordinates so closely over the years.
Jan PierceLINZ Data Service Manager
Land Information New Zealand is a government agency responsible for creating and managing information about where things are in New Zealand. LINZ encourages the use of location information and runs New Zealand’s survey and title system.
Using the LINZ Data Service on the Koordinates platform, LINZ publishes over 1900 open datasets to more than 40,000 users. Prior winners of the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence awards, the LINZ Data Service is considered one of the most successful and impactful open data projects in the world.
As Jan explains, increasing reuse was always the most important measure of success for the project. “There was always been unexpected benefits, but at a strategic level it was really about making sure we were getting the greatest usage — and best ROI — from the data we were producing.”
When making the decision to publish with Koordinates, this focus on getting data to a broader range of users was key. As Jeremy explains, “One of the great strengths of Koordinates, and one of the reasons we chose Koordinates above other options, is that we can get data into different segments of users. Other GIS solutions - even if it’s only just a map viewer - are only targeting a small segment of potential market, which we can broadly call ‘GIS people.’
“Koordinates took a broader view, which very much aligned with our customer base. CAD downloads, for example, enabled us to easily get LINZ data to the surveyor, the architect, the engineer — which are key customer segments for us that are not well served by traditional GIS solutions.”
Jeremy notes that another important audience was staff members at LINZ itself. “One of the most transformational things about the LINZ Data Service was how it changed our own internal consumption. LINZ data that was previously quite hard to access was now much more easily available.
“So we had teams and contractors consuming data directly from the site, instead of using the internal sources that existed previously — and changing their business processes as a result.
We're really proud of the impact that the LINZ Data Service has had — and it’s not over yet. It’s going from strength to strength. We're bringing on users all the time. And whenever we tell people about it, their first reaction is, ‘this is awesome.’”
As the LINZ Data Service has developed and grown, LINZ has increasingly focused on making it as easy as possible for customers to access data.
As Jeremy explains, “The LINZ Data Service has completely transformed how LINZ thinks about publishing information. Initially our focus was products — maps, charts, land transaction system. Now data is the product for our customers. It can be reusable in those applications, those upstream products and services. That’s changed the culture and thinking.”
One of the most important consequences of the LINZ Data Service has been feedback from users. “As soon as we had this public facing platform, it automatically started changing the mindset of the organisation. With data becoming immediately accessible, we started getting feedback from customers in real-time. And we had to start thinking about your processes in a different way.
“It changed how we were working with customers. We started doing continuous improvement in response to the feedback we were getting. We became even more energised and passionate about how we do things. We have a much stronger feedback loop between LINZ and our customers, to the benefit of both.”
Jan Pierce agrees. “By making the data available and getting feedback, we've been able to improve the usability of our data. It was a real mind-shift change — and not just for the distribution of the data, but for the work done by the data managers themselves.”
Jan notes that the technical barriers to publishing data have reduced hugely over the last five years, and it’s now much easier to get a data service and start publishing data. “It’s a lot easier than you think to get your data out there and getting it used. It wasn't quite so easy five or ten years ago, but with the service offered by Koordinates today, it’s really easy to get your own data service — equivalent to the LINZ Data Service — up and running.”
Jan encourages agencies to investigate using Koordinates to publish their data. “I would really encourage agencies to take a close look at what’s offered by Koordinates. There will be unexpected benefits that will come out of the use of your data. There’s huge value in your data, more than you know. It’s been those users who just come out the woodwork.”
For Jeremy and Jan, the LINZ Data Service has been an unqualified success. As Jan puts it, “no one out there has a service like this. You can't underestimate the success of the service. The impact has been remarkable. Some of the case studies we've done — we would never have imagined those uses.”
Jeremy agrees. “It’s surpassed everyone’s expectations. We've won awards. We've got great stories from our users, huge numbers of active users. Every year it grows faster than it did before. It’s quite amazing, after these years. But the number of downloads increases every year.
“We've got users relying on LDS, who need to get the data at a certain point in time. It’s BAU for a lot of people. It’s business-critical for a lot of organisations and companies.”
Jan sees Koordinates as fundamental to the success of the LINZ Data Service. “It is a world-leading product. You can't go past that. No other platform that we've seen — and we've done our research, looking at products all over the world during our procurement rounds — can actually do what Koordinates does. This is the best product platform in the world, and we feel lucky to have worked with Koordinates so closely over the years.
“We're really proud of the impact that the LINZ Data Service has had — and it’s not over yet. It’s going from strength to strength. We're bringing on users all the time. And whenever we tell people about it, their first reaction is, ‘this is awesome.’”