High Impact Project Update: Linking the Illawarra Data Repository

The Illawarra Data Repository (IDR) is a regional, integrated data repository that was established in 2013. Data is collected, at various spatial and temporal resolutions, from the local government areas of Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama in New South Wales on electricity and water consumption, residential solid waste, and Internet of Things sensor data.

The repository includes data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Remondis, Endeavour Energy and Sydney Water. It’s full of SMART research data that has been collected and created over the last nine years, giving local councils access to utility data, demographic data and transport and land use models. This data enables the testing of planning policy scenarios and assists in evidence-based planning and integrated development across the Illawarra region.

A recently funded AURIN High Impact Project from the 2021-2022 round will link the IDR to the AURIN network. The project, led by Tim Davies of the University of Wollongong, will lead to the creation of a suite of tools and data that will connect the IDR to the AURIN community. This project will also provide a blueprint for developing a federated data repository, allowing other regions in Australia to build their own local models based on the IDR.

The project will build upon the already existing IDR to provide tools and data to the AURIN community. Some of the datasets will include:

    • Long-term utility consumption data and residential solid waste data
    • Illawarra road network data
    • Illawarra demographic land use and transport data
    • IoT sensor data monitoring transport and air quality

The longitudinal utilities consumption data made available in this project will help identify the impact of government policies on consumer behaviour—for example, the solar rebate and water saving measures. The real-time sensor data will help city councils understand how traffic moves through their community and the impacts this traffic has on air quality.

The IDR contains tools that will also be delivered as part of this project. These existing tools include:

    • Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) pipelines written using open source software
    • Schema and data warehousing architectures developed using open-source PostgreSQL relational database management system with PostGIS extension to store spatial data
    • Geoserver-based Web Feature Service (WFS) to serve spatial data
    • Python-based data visualisation stack

The project will also develop a Geonetwork-based metadata management system for IDR to manage and serve metadata to the AURIN community. Tools and protocols delivered as part of this project will allow AURIN’s network of partners to develop federated data and metadata repositories.

The Linking the IDR project is an AURIN High Impact Project (HIP). Through the HIP program, AURIN engages with Australian urban, regional and social planning communities—including researchers, planners and policy makers from academic, government, NGO/NFP and private sector organisations—through collaboration and co-investment in high-quality, high-priority, high impact projects.

The Linking the IDR project will deliver new datasets and tools and will demonstrate the value and potential of its use within the existing AURIN Platform. As a pilot study, it will demonstrate how AURIN can achieve sustainable data provision to its users via a federated model.