According to NACC GIS coordinator Emma Jackson, NARvis will eventually replace the existing ‘Natural Resource Management Strategy of the Northern Agricultural Region’ report, and is set to help decision makers combat climate change, maintain sustainable natural resources, and create investment opportunities for future environmental developments.
“The Northern Agricultural Region is recognised as a biodiversity hotspot, both nationally and internationally, but it also relies on strong agriculture and mining to maintain a viable economy,” Jackson said.
“Our largest and most important project – given agriculture accounts for a third of the region’s economy – is a comprehensive regional sustainable farming programme, dedicated to helping farmer’s tackle environmental issues”
She added that NACC is also undertaking a AU$300,000 (US$) feasibility study of ecological corridors along the 600 kilometre stretch from Lesueur National Park to the Shark Bay World Heritage Area – which contains two of Australia’s 15 biodiversity hotspots.
“Key to ensuring these projects are successful is community engagement – which is why we have used GIS technology to make our project data accessible to the public through the portal.
“GIS technology visually represents our data in the user friendly format of an online map, so the community can easily interpret information, collaborate with us and contribute to ensuring the region’s future.”
Jackson explained that projects included in the NARvis portal cover more than seven million hectares from Gingin in the south to Kalbarri in the north, and out west into the State’s wheat-belt – an area home to 60,000 people.
The portal’s icons indicate the locations of various project sites and, when clicked on, launch pop-up windows which contain images, hyperlinks to external sites and other program data.
“Users will be able to instantly access different layers of regional data – such as high resolution coastal imagery including: soil types; salinity levels; or vegetation types.
“They can also produce their own maps to accompany proposals and grant applications,” she said.
Additionally, NARvis displays photos taken via an app created by NACC to monitor changes in the coastal environment.
“The app allows NACC volunteers to take a series of images over time to have the same field-of-view.
“These photos are uploaded to a database and then transferred to NARvis to create a historical, pictorial and geographical record of environmental change.”