How GBS Redefined Waka Kotahi’s Mapping Platform

Redefining Waka Kotahi’s Mapping Platform

Pioneering Geospatial Solutions

In mid to late 2022, GBS embarked on a significant project with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA). This collaboration was part of Waka Kotahi’s extensive Geospatial Upgrade project, focusing on migrating bespoke widgets from the existing Geospatial Platform (MapHub) to a modern Kubernetes Platform. This task involved not only a technical migration but also a re-evaluation and redevelopment of these widgets using ArcGIS Experience Builder, tailored to both current and future user needs.

A Decade of Partnership

Waka Kotahi NZTA, a Crown entity with staff across multiple locations in New Zealand, has been working with GBS since 2012. Their purpose is to deliver transport solutions for New Zealand on behalf of the government which makes every New Zealander their stakeholder. 

Their extensive responsibilities range from:

  • Developing NZ transport strategies
  • Performing detailed planning of investment proposals 
  • Assessing and distributing funding for the State Highways/ Local Roads and other transport networks 
  • Maintaining the State Highway Network 
  • Providing access to the transport networks and; 
  • Managing the use of the transport network and monitoring the performance of the transport network so this can inform future strategy and planning.   

A milestone in this partnership was the 2012 initiation of the Common Geospatial Capability (CGC) project, where GBS played a crucial role in designing and implementing web-based geospatial tools. The success of this collaboration was marked by the launch of MapHub 1.0 in 2014, which has seen numerous enhancements over the years.

The GBS Strategy

The project presented unique challenges, particularly in balancing custom requirements with the utilisation of standard tools. GBS’s approach was marked by flexibility and collaboration, essential in navigating these complexities. The team’s adaptability was especially evident when faced with dependencies on the broader upgrade project, leading to innovative solutions such as establishing an interim testing environment for early feedback.

Achieving Compliance and Accessibility

A significant aspect of the project was ensuring that the widgets complied with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. This required a delicate balance between customisation for accessibility and maintaining simplicity for ease of maintenance, a challenge met through close collaboration with Waka Kotahi.

A Forward-Looking Perspective

While the full benefits of the new widgets are yet to be realised, the alignment with Waka Kotahi’s strategic vision and the migration to a supported framework promise substantial long-term advantages. The project also marks a step towards creating more accessible viewer-based applications, reflecting a commitment to continuous improvement. 

The benefits that existed from the previous MapHub versions still apply, and include:

  • Fits with the Waka Kotahi NZTA strategic vision
  • Migrated the original MapHub functionality to a new framework that will be continued to be supported for years to come, whilst the old framework (Web App Builder) will be out of support in the near future
  • Has started on the journey of making new viewer-based application more accessible to a more diverse user-base (we acknowledge there is still some room for future developments in this area)
  • The solution has a fit-for-purpose library of widgets which the Geospatial team can select and use within different web-based mapping applications that they build for the wider business.
  • The widgets are built on new Experience Builder technology so they are future proofed and in line with Esri best practices.

The GBS Solution in Detail

GBS’s contribution to the project was the development of several key widgets, each with unique functionalities aligned with Waka Kotahi’s requirements. 

These included:

  • Print Widget: Prints the current map extent with Waka Kotahi branded layouts/templates.
  • Layer List Widget: An extended version of the out-of-the-box layer list, allowing users to interrogate the metadata of the layer from the saved item in Portal.
  • Find Coordinates Widget: Enables users to identify the coordinates of a specified location or find a location by entering known coordinates.
  • Google Street View Integration: Displays the corresponding location from the map in Google Street View, in a new browser tab.

Charting the Future of Geospatial Innovation

As GBS and Waka Kotahi NZTA continue their journey in geospatial innovation, the potential for transformative impacts on New Zealand’s transport sector is immense.

We invite you to explore how GBS’s expertise in geospatial technology can drive your organisation’s strategic goals. Contact us to discuss how we can tailor our solutions to your unique challenges and embark on a journey towards a more connected and efficient future.

Comments are closed.