GeoRabble Perth #3

GeoRabble #3 Perth, 25 July, Belgian Beer Cafe

A very successful event attended by 80 people, of which half had not attended before.  Several of the usual faces commented that they did not know quite a few people, so perhaps GeoRabble is succeeding in reaching out beyond the spatial nucleus.  Tom Brownlie was the Master of Ceremony and reminded people of the rules of GeoRabble – including to celebrate all things spatial.  Bringing the rabble together to quiet down and listen to the two speakers was easier than thought with the amount of chattering.  David Brady gave us a interesting talk about fact and fiction using maps as the examples.  Apparently there are lies/inconsistencies within the Asterix maps!
Lance Martin from the WA Police fascinated the audience with details of the Advanced Traffic Management Vehicle being tested currently.  Vast quantities of data are collected, processed and available to the operational base and the vehicle.  Proximity analysis is constantly undertaken to notify officers about ‘people of interest’ within the vicinity.  Number-plates can be recognised automatically with more than a 1,000 processed hourly.  Lance no doubt could only list some of the benefits of such a tool for the WA Police in the 10 minute presentation slot, however talking to him later I asked if other Police departments have similar – the answer was that WA Police are leading the way and have attracted international interest.  More information on the National Safety Agency website, such as:  Lance has kindly offered to continue involving the Spatial groups and if you are in WA during our Royal Show you can see some of the other tools the WA Police have.

Departing from the typical GeoRabble style of short presentations we trialed a panel discussion.  In a relaxed environment with drinks available, anything could happen.  The topic for discussion – unbeknownst to the panel beforehand was data, specifically the ol’ adage of junk in junk out.  Everyone works with data in some form and to prime the panel and audience were the ideas of accuracy/precising, terminology (pants – you had to be there), and what’s really on the inside.  

How did it go?  Very well, some comments from the twitter audience, the panel and the human-audience kept things going on through discussion about metadata, Surveyors thinking the world is flat (or on a disk with elevations), fit-for-purpose, and authoritative data.  The topic is certainly of interest and deserves our understanding.  Thanks to the speakers, and of course the panel Phil Beach, Richard Browne, Chelsea Samuel, Bernard O’Sullivan, and Sonny Tham.
GeoRabble happens in various locations around Australia, is free and open to anyone, but frequently sells out.  If you would like to talk at a future Perth GeoRabble event, please send and email with the title and a short description to

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