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NSW Spatial Services Takes the Leap to the Cloud

NSW Spatial Services

The Brief

As part of the government’s open data initiative, Experience Digital was selected by NSW Spatial Services as a trusted partner to drive its digital transformation efforts. 

They were seeking to replace two of their important systems.

  • One system provided a platform that managed the process of road naming. It is a seemingly simple function of government, but critical in circumstances like waiting for an ambulance to arrive at your address to help with an emergency.
  • The other system has a primary function of providing the master data record for all geographic locations across the state. This includes parks, lakes, mountains, rivers, and beaches, as well as their indigenous name and history of the location.

Both systems processed legislative and regulatory requirements and managed important datasets. Changes or additions to the records in these systems were subject to strict business logic and procedural controls.

Over time, Spatial Services realised that these two systems were hindering their ability to deliver the desired service to stakeholders. The outdated and unsupported technologies caused instability, high operational costs, and posed a risk of irreparable failure, data loss, and significant damage to their reputation. Additionally, certain components relied on expensive proprietary technology.

Their pain points included:

  • Inadequate support for regulatory and legislative functions
  • Poor user experiences leading to high support demands
  • Lack of essential features like workflow support, input validation, and reporting
  • Labor-intensive user creation and management processes
  • Absence of self-service features, relying on multiple instances of offline processing
  • Difficulty in adapting to Machinery of Government changes due to legacy data structures
  • User interface accessibility and file format support not meeting required standards (WCAG) and business needs.

Our Approach

Experience Digital, an AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner, is often engaged by clients for application modernization and legacy data migration.

It was clear from the beginning that the Spatial Services project required a modern cloud architecture to host the replacement applications and overcome infrastructure challenges.

We worked with Spatial Services to design and build a new solution, and to migrate data from the old platforms to the new. This involved creating a migration script that could be run and re-run multiple times, and reauthoring a legacy database driver to extract and transform the data.

Using an Agile approach to developing this new application, we first detailed the use cases and validated the technology requirements. We then designed the user interfaces with the business outcome in mind. Subsequent sprints focused on building the front-end interfaces and developing the back-end support, with JIRA as a workflow engine.

Our team also prepared training material for all user types, migrated the data, and initiated support channels. Finally, we implemented Continuous Deployment and Continuous Integration pipelines to support simple and fool-proof future releases.

AWS Lambda’s Role in the Approach

AWS Lambda was used to run Node.js functions in a microservices architecture. This allowed us to create a highly available and scalable solution that met the client’s requirements.

We used AWS Cognito for authentication, and AWS SQS for queuing messages. Initially, AWS Amplify was used for deployment and proof of concepts, but we eventually switched to a custom cloud formation template to accommodate more complex requirements.

The Outcome

Experience Digital delivered a responsive, WCAG-compliant public-facing web application that provided detailed information to various user types and offered a pleasant interactive user experience.

The Spatial Services Road and Place Naming application project was successfully delivered and has gained a welcome reception as one of the Departments of Spatial Services’ most successful projects in collaboration with the private sector.

One of NSW’s largest councils, which had previously refused to use the legacy system, was the first to embrace the new one. This is a testament to the quality of the work that Experience Digital did on the project. We conducted a thorough handover of the platform, which is now maintained in-house at the DFSI headquarters in Bathurst, NSW.

If you’re interested to know more about the technical details of this project, you can read the following:


NSW Government Spatial Services


Spatial Services, a division of the Department of Customer Service, plays the central role in New South Wales Government’s spatial and land information services. Their authoritative data products provide the foundation for NSW’s mapping and spatial information systems and are used for building better services across the community, government, industry and the environmental sectors.

Authoritative spatial and land information is a vital tool that enables the community, business and government to derive maximum benefit from land and property information to generate economic growth and prosperity. Spatial information is also increasingly used for socio-economic and demographic initiatives.

“We needed a service provider to gain a deep understanding of the challenges we were facing, and to assist us to build a new service that would firstly, overcome those challenges so we could do a lot more than we were previously able, and then provide a platform upon which we could execute some of the key strategic objectives we had for the near and mid-term future. Crucially all of this needed to happen without any business interruption. The team achieved that with aplomb, and we are incredibly appreciative of the role their AWS skills and expertise played in the success of the project.” – Christian Dowling, Senior Project Manager.

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Experience Digital is a trusted national digital software, data, automation, and systems integration house that has vast experience in assisting clients to transition to a digital future.

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