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Created by the Public Governance Directorate

This website was created by the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI), part of the OECD Public Governance Directorate (GOV).

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Land iQ

Land iQ (1)

The NSW Government has developed a whole of government spatial tool to improve planning and pre-development processes. The tool modernises the traditional approach to strategic planning, site assessment & land use evaluation and provides user friendly access to GIS capabilities where multiple agencies can work together on a project in NSW public sector. Through this, government agencies are enabled to make faster, better informed, more transparent and consistent decisions on NSW land.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Land iQ is a spatially enabled whole of government strategic land use evaluation tool which was found by NSW Government. The tool was created to make better use of land with consideration of social, economic, environmental and financial impacts. The tool was developed to reduce the number of related, yet different methodologies and tools used across Government to assess the impacts of different land uses and reduce due diligence timeframes and government spending on consultants. The tool offers a more streamlined, collaborative and data-driven approach to decision making by leveraging a common database of inputs and assumptions. It enables users to analyse land and property assets in a more consistent and strategic way. It also provides a sandbox for testing designs and applying and modelling planning outcomes.

Innovation is embedded at the core of LandiQ. This spatial tool integrates over 40 land use typologies and 180 datasets into one single platform and provides advanced analytics and scenario planning capabilities to consider the impact of change on land use. The tool has 4 main functions (modules):

  • Data library: a comprehensive data library including typology assumptions sourced from government delivery entities
  • Geographic-centric analysis: a comprehensive analysis of a particular location against benchmarks and other geographies. Users can understand and compare local government areas performance against sustainability, productivity and liveability metrics, as well as against targets and state, metro and regional averages.
  • Site search: advanced multiple-criteria site searching including ownership, size, planning controls, constraints and risk, environmental and climate change impacts, proximity to services / infrastructure / amenities / constraints and many more.
  • Scenario planning: land use scenario analysis to understand impact of change in land use across social, economic, environmental and financial metrics, including impact on a local government area.

The tool is accessible to all NSW Government agencies with a license. The benefits of the tool are huge, including:

  • Providing a holistic and strategic approach to land use decision making,
  • Creating a centralised and comprehensive data register and API direct data links to many government databases and digital systems,
  • Providing a robust digital visualisation planning tool which leverages urban analytics to support scenario planning and business cases,
  • Delivering an in-house solution and making it easier for government agencies to work together by providing a collaborative spatial environment for sharing projects, datasets and developing scenarios to test potential use of land, and
  • Delivering improved community outcomes focusing on big picture.

Change is the most certain aspect of our world and the primary purpose to innovate is to adapt and respond to the constant and everchanging needs and growth. Land iQ offers a coordinated and streamlined platform in response to this change, with the potential for new datasets to be integrated to reflect ever changing factors in NSW. The tool transforms and improves government processes by:

  • Identifying priority development and land use opportunities to align with existing and planned infrastructure
  • Undertaking preliminary due diligence and assessing site suitability for certain development
  • Generating or uploading 3D designs and landscape features
  • Using all modules to consolidate statutory and strategic planning considerations

Land iQ is intended to serve as the host platform for other appropriate digital systems in NSW government to reduce double-spend and maximise alignment. In this regard, the tool is planned to have stronger connection and integration with other major digital systems such as the NSW Spatial Digital Twin.

As it provides a scalable system to assist place-based decision making, Land iQ can be applied to any state or territory, or the private and non-profit sectors. Interest from the private sector and other states and the Australian federal government indicate Land iQ could also be a promising revenue stream for NSW government, to enable the tool to be self-funded in the future. A business case for the future expansion of Land iQ is currently developed. In fact, trial use of Land iQ by Local Government (councils) is currently being investigated.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

Land iQ offers advanced analytics and scenario planning capabilities that can be applied on a project-by-project basis. The tool can be used to identify sites with a set of criteria, undertake site layouts/feasibilities, make preliminary assessment of business cases, and assist strategic planning and development assessment by analysing the local context from street/suburb scale, to LGA and regional context to understand the existing economic, social, demographic, cultural and environmental context. Users of the tool experience benefits including reduced timeframes with faster/in-house due diligence, and budget improvements along with an enhanced adaptability of existing functions to support delivery of project needs.

A key difference between Land iQ and other digital tools is that it is underpinned by over 40 land use typologies for a consistent approach to scenario analysis across government. It is designed to be agile and modular to evolve for the future needs of its users.

What is the current status of your innovation?

Land iQ was launched on 28 July 2022 for use of state agencies and 110 licenses were initially procured. We are working with agencies to increase awareness and usage of the tool. The immediate focus is on ensuring the data and functionality of Land iQ meets the needs of users across the NSW Government.

We also commenced development of a business case for the long-term solution for Land iQ, which will look at options to bring the tool completely in-house or continue with the partnership arrangement currently in place with the private sector. The business case will provide an opportunity to develop a financial model to cover the ongoing cost of the tool.

We are also working on a pilot project to extend access of Land iQ to Local Government, subject to ensuring appropriate security and access provisions are in place for sensitive data.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

Land iQ was developed by DPE as the product owner and holder of the intellectual property rights, in partnership with companies WSP as the provider of analytics and data functionality and Giraffe as the spatial platform host, with high-resolution maps provided by Aerometrex.

Since its inception, we worked with NSW agencies including Treasury, Greater Cities Commission, Water, Customer Service, Transport, Education, Infrastructure and Health to ensure the tool responds to the needs of agencies.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

NSW government agencies are the key beneficiaries of Land iQ, as it enables them to undertake comprehensive analysis in a rapid way to expedite their work and leverage data and analytics that would not be possibly done in a fast way in-house.

The wider community also benefit from the tool since the decisions are made by government are faster, more consistent, and evidence based. We believe this tool will increase trust in government decisions on land.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

The tool can help Government to save up to $15 million a year. There are numerous costs associated with current practice, including site identification, due diligence, cost planning, master planning, the time associated with the procurement of consultants etc. Land iQ helps to cut time, and therefore cost, from all these processes.

Land iQ currently addresses land use projects across health, education, energy, infrastructure, housing, and transport with further scope to include measurable outcomes of these impacts. The tool also provides real solutions for those in vulnerable situations in a timely and efficiency manner. The tool is used to support the NSW Government’s response to the major flood events experienced across eastern Australia in 2022. With the help of Land iQ, government identified surplus suitable land for temporary accommodation in the fastest way possible. The work we have done would have generally taken several weeks or months but it took just days.

Challenges and Failures

Producing a minimum viable product of an advanced analytics tool for whole-of -government on a very constrained budget and timeframe was the most difficult part of the innovation. But we overcame this issue by working closely with our internal IT product development team and formed collaborative arrangements with major actors in the NSW government.

It was also challenging to co-design a digital tool with so many diverse agencies while ensuring efficient project delivery. Having an open communication since the project inception and effective stakeholder engagement helped us to develop a robust tool accepted widely by stage agencies.

Lastly, gaining access to sensitive government data and making this available to users was challenging. As part of our engagement plan, effective communication and data governance framework, we built trust and reduced friction involved in sharing data.

Conditions for Success

Endorsement and support from senior executives were crucial to the success of Land iQ. Co-designing the tool with key stakeholders and effective engagement with state agencies were also significant for the success of the tool. The tool is agile and highly adaptable which is considered as a key factor for its acceptance across government. Users can add their own data sets and customise certain aspects of Land iQ which is a unique offering across government.

Going forward, further user acceptance, automation of the manual data management practice, piloting a new interface for local government and securing ongoing funding/budget for the future enhancements will be essential for the sustainability of the tool and to achieve its long-term vision.


Land iQ was launched 3 months ago and since then, it has received significant interest across the sector including local government and the Victorian Government (another state in Australia). There has been interest from users particularly in Transport for NSW and School Infrastructure agencies to build new functionality such as infrastructure feasibility into the tool.

The tool is designed to constantly evolve, and a governance structure has been established to deliver future enhancements. A community of practice will also be established soon to foster further innovation in the design and application of Land iQ. In the future Land iQ will be applied to respond to climate and population pressures, assist in alignment between infrastructure delivery and planning for new communities.

While the platform is currently only available to state agencies, the plan is to continue to refine the tool and develop license options to make it available more broadly in the future to Local Government.

Lessons Learned

  • Aim big and be open-minded. As the development team, we have constantly gone out of our comfort zones and learned from each other to progress the development of this innovative tool. By being open to new ideas and researching new areas the tool has become more robust and it provides more value.
  • Make sure decision-makers are on-board, understand the value of the innovation and make them the main advocates of the project.
  • Co-design, collaborate and listen- Engage with stakeholders from day 1 to contribute to the design of the tool. Promotion of the tool internally has been most successful when we have taken the time to work on specific use cases related to our colleagues’ work to be able to illustrate how the tool can directly improve the way they work (regarding better quality, saving time and money and accessing to information easily).

Anything Else?

Please view the 1-hour panel video which took place in September 2022 for more context.

A demonstration of the tool is also presented in this video. Please note that, as this is a spatial tool, it is hard to do it justice or accurately explain it without showing it.

Project Pitch

Supporting Videos