The Torres Strait islands are subject to a combination of pressures that have significant adverse effects on economic development opportunities for both communities and individuals.
RPS Conics was commissioned by the Torres Strait Regional Authority – the Australian Government body which administers the islands – to work with the indigenous communities to prepare detailed land use plans for six islands to ensure that any future development is sustainable. The project involved collecting and assessing data on ecology, infrastructure and social issues.
Given the geographical spread of the islands and the insular and complex heritage of the communities, the fundamental key to success was effective interaction with local people – overcoming language & cultural barriers and developing innovative methods to display complex spatial information. Computer-generated 3D replica models were constructed of each island – and because they were easily understood, much more time could be spent in discussing land-use issues and future plans.
This approach to the multi-island consultation process ensured that all the objectives were successfully achieved – and the project won the People & Community and Overall Excellence awards in Queensland’s Spatial Excellence Awards for 2009.