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Digital Transformation in Government Insight #61: Bushfire monitoring moves to the cloud

A move to the cloud for Geoscience Australia’s Sentinel Hotspots, a bushfire mapping service, sees it up for a Public Innovation Award this year.

Salsa Digital 10 July 2018

Sentinel bushfire mapping

Sentinel bushfire hotspot mapping service is a national service that maps bushfires across Australia and nearby countries such as New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Users can zoom into specific areas to find out about bushfires in their area.

Moving to the cloud

In 2015, Geoscience Australia decided to start using the cloud for applications and data analysis. Sentinel Hotspots was one of the areas identified for an initial move to the cloud. At the time, it was hosted on-site and in the 2015/2016 bushfire season the website’s availability was 90%. The outages were during times of high demand (when the service was needed most) and were due to a range of problems, including an unreliable infrastructure, lack of availability within the site design and poor monitoring. (Read more.)

Sentinel Hotspots was moved to the cloud in 2016.

Benefits of the cloud

There are many benefits to moving to the cloud, but a Mandarin article reported an 80% drop in maintenance costs for Geoscience Australia and the site’s availability went from 90% to 100% (over the 2016/2017 bushfire season).

The Public Innovation Awards

Sentinel Hotspots’ move to the cloud has earned Geoscience Australia a position as one of four finalists in the Digital and Data section of the 2018 Public Innovation Awards.

Salsa Digital’s take

The cloud provides many opportunities for digital transformation in government. Sentinel Hotspots is a great example of how the move to the cloud delivers tangible benefits to both government and citizens. The eResearch conference paper also talks about the challenges of moving to the cloud, such as changing the internal culture and overcoming security concerns — challenges that are often faced during digital transformation projects.

We’re looking forward to hearing about the winners of the 2018 Public Innovation Awards.


The Mandarin’s APS agencies can go their own way with cloud computing

Sentinel Hotspots website

2018 Public Innovation Awards

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