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Spatial Information Systems

Maps and databases have been used by companies and government agencies for many years to help in planning and decision-making. But all this information had been kept in separate files and could not be combined with relevant information held elsewhere. Industry believed that combining this information was impossible and unnecessary.

This opinion changed when Dr David Abel and his team at CSIRO Information Technology conceived innovative core technology that made it possible to retrieve data quickly from millions of records held in many separate databases and so provide a truly interactive information source.

The result was a Data Base Management System (SIRO-DBMS) developed in the mid-1980s, and licensed to industry in 1991. It is now used to improve handling of records for land administration in Australia, to manage telecommunications networks in the US and for strategic planning for water quality in western Sydney.

The Spatial Informatics Team have been a major force in the evolution of Spatial Information Systems from specialist, technical systems for map-making to those that are an integral part of corporate information systems in industry and government. They were awarded a CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement in 1996.