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  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Written by on Friday, June 28, 2013 11:27 - 10 Comments

    Shock: Qld Govt succeeds in IT project


    blog You might be forgiven for thinking that the Queensland Government couldn’t possibly get anything right when it came to technology. After all, a recent whole of government audit of the state’s technology processes and infrastructure recently found that ninety percent of the Queensland Government’s ICT systems are outdated and will require replacement within five years at a total cost of $7.4 billion. But occasionally Queensland claws one back.

    Police Minister Jack Dempsey announced yesterday that the Queensland Police Service had successfully delivered a new Online Crime Statistics Crime Portal that allows residents to access crime statistics for any area in the state, all through an interactive web portal. Dempsey tells us in a media release:

    “The portal is another example of the State Government’s commitment to open data and is in addition to crime data already available through the QPS website. It allows Queenslanders easy access to what is happening in their neighbourhood from their desktop computer, smart phone or tablet.”

    Apparently the data contained in the portal dates back 13 years and is updated on a nightly basis, being one week in arrears. It was developed in-house, and uses, or so we’re told, Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud computing platform, as well as the company’s Silverlight web technology.

    Now, sure, this isn’t a huge project. It wouldn’t have taken a lot of effort to put this together, and it’s actually the kind of thing which you have to assume any police department would be looking at doing as a basic ‘keeping the lights on’ initiative.

    However, it’s also worth noting that the QPS’ new Online Crime Statistics Crime Portal is precisely the kind of project which a trouble-plagued government like Queensland should be trying to get across the line at the moment. It’s based on commodity cloud computing technologies, it aggregates existing government datasets, and it provides a direct service to the population of Queensland — a service that will be used. If this isn’t the definition of a good government IT project, then I don’t know what is. It’s great to see something positive come out of Queensland in the IT field, and we hope to see a lot more along these lines. Baby steps.

    Image credit: Screenshot of Online Crime Statistics Crime Portal

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    1. Ray Herring
      Posted 28/06/2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink | Reply

      Shame they went with Silverlight though, not even MS bothers too much with that. Would have been better going with HTML5.

      • Posted 28/06/2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

        HTML5 is all good on paper, but I haven’t really seen many good implementations of it in practice, when it comes to this dynamic style of website. I think people are still working it out etc. Having said that, I’m not defending the use of Silverlight — I hate Silverlight even worse than I do Flash, and would have preferred this be developed in neither.

        • Tom
          Posted 28/06/2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Google Maps? They now have a WebGL option you can turn on, if it’s not already default. Either way, it’s all done with JS/HTML5.

    2. Jeremy
      Posted 28/06/2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      There actually is a HTML5 version of this web site. It auto redirects based on your user agent string, so if you browse there with a mobile device you should end up on the HTML5 version.

      The reason for going with Silverlight was simple: there were in-house resources available who are skilled in that technology, but none in Flash or HTML5.

    3. Posted 28/06/2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve just been playing with it. It’s pretty cool.

    4. Grant
      Posted 28/06/2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Silverlight gets a bad rap – it really is a good technology that died a premature death due to (amongst other things) Apple’s no-plug-in policy on iDevices.

      It’s good to see a major website like this using it. Congrats to the team that put this together – it’s tight, fast and usable.

    5. dezzy
      Posted 28/06/2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Its good to see our governments catching up with the rest of the world, its just ~$4mil too much. Other police forces around the world have created the same (and a lot more) with smaller budgets and solutions that are specifically designed for this sort of thing.

      • Jeremy
        Posted 28/06/2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

        We looked at what other police forces were doing and couldn’t find anything similar in scope to what we were trying to achieve. What were you referring to specifically? I’d be interested to have a look.

        Also where did this $4 million figure come from?

    6. Steve Hodgkinson, Research Director IT Asia/Pacific, Ovum
      Posted 01/07/2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It is interesting that virtually the only good news stories in state-level government ICT at the the moment involve public cloud services solutions …

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