NZGS recently ran a survey on behalf of the funders (MBIE and EQC) of the New Zealand Geotechnical Database (NZGD). The purpose of the survey was to get a better understanding of the spread of the users of the database, potential barriers to uploading data and other possible datasets that are stored separately and could be uploaded to be incorporated in the NZGD.
Of the 67 respondents, just over 60% confirmed they are a regular user of the NZGD. Of the users who do not regularly use the NZGD, we found that this is generally due to a lack of existing data presented in their geographical area of work. This indicates to achieve an increased user base, more seed funding of the NZGD is required to increase data uploading from public agencies (i.e. councils and other government agencies) and private consultants to increase the geographical coverage of data.
Of the regular users of the NZGD, half of these do not regularly upload new data, with data generation, no client approval, difficulty of data uploading or having someone else in the organisation to upload the data being the key reasons for not proactively uploading data. The feedback provided an insight into the challenges of consistent data uploading, and provided recommendations for improvement. Furthermore, almost half of the users of the NZGD do not routinely include a clause in their contracts confirming agreement with their clients to upload geotechnical data to the NZGD.
To encourage increased uploading of geotechnical data some standard wording that some consultants are adding in the “Variation” section of the Standard IPENZ/ ACENZ Short Form Model Conditions of Engagement or other standard consultancy contracts follows:
One third of the respondents provided further detail on additional datasets that currently aren’t presented in the NZGD, which may add more value to the NZGD. If you would like to assist further with the discussion on additional datasets please contact either Nathan firstname.lastname@example.org or John email@example.com. Otherwise MBIE and EQC intends to contact the respondents that suggested these additional datasets with the intent to gain approval to upload to the NZGD. The results of the survey can be found on the NZGD website.
In summary, the feedback received was valuable in aiding MBIE and EQC in prioritising work to increase user uptake and engagement of the NZGD. The NZGD is an internationally unique data sharing resource that has economic, business efficiency and carbon reducing benefits. That being said, while use is on the way up it is apparent there is still a long way to go to make use of the NZGD a routine part of business practice and MBIE, EQC and NZGD users all have a role to play in this regard to safeguard the future of this invaluable resource.
The survey also highlighted a number of common questions are arising from users and shortly a FAQ section will be placed in the NZGD Help section to answer these questions. In addition, a list of client approvals from various agencies will be placed in the Help section and this will be regularly updated as more approvals are obtained.
With regard to other related news, a business case for the NZGD is near completion and will be socialised around government and key stakeholders in the near future. This business case will also likely include a strategy outlining the future direction for the NZGD.
Nathan Schumacher, senior geotechnical engineer,
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment