TOWN planners, emergency services and even the Girl Guides are among those expected to take advantage of a new, free Queensland Government initiative which can deliver topographical maps straight to an email inbox.
The new QTopo online service allows anyone to create and then download their own topographical map via the Department of Natural Resources and Mines website.
Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said the applications of the service, which is a key element of the Newman Government's Open Data initiative, were endless.
Residents can download maps of their own street or property, emergency services can use the service to co-ordinate live or training operations and businesses can create new maps to enhance their products and services for their clients.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps was joined by Assistant Minister for Natural Resources and Mines and Member for Pine Rivers Seath Holswich to launch the initiative at the Lawnton Girl Guides and Lawnton Scouts Group where the youngsters took part in a scavenger hunt using local maps downloaded for free from QTopo.
"We want to unlock as many data sets for public use as we can," Minister Cripps said.
"This is just one of the many ways we're helping to support business and grow the tourism pillar of the Queensland economy,
"Industry will find it to be a powerful tool for professional applications such as urban planning, mining, emergency management, education and investigating boundaries and land ownership. But equally, it will also be valuable for anyone who enjoys hiking, mountain biking or four-wheel driving."
Previously, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines only updated maps periodically, but now it is hoped thousands of people will go online and create custom-made maps for their own use.
The new application provides a high level of detail, including the location of water features, roads, urban development, railways, property boundaries and National Parks.
Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said the maps would be great for local emergency services and all other Bundaberg residents.
"Our emergency service volunteers can use these maps for training purposes and other community groups will also find them useful for their activities," Mr Dempsey said.
"They're also great for recreational uses like bushwalking, mountain biking and four-wheel-driving."
Users can select their own scale and custom define their coverage, including centring the map at their point of interest. Maps can be saved to a computer or tablet and then printed or emailed to others.
The application can be accessed through the Department of Natural Resources and Mines website or at qtopo.dnrm.qld.gov.au or as a web map service for a geographic information system (GIS) package.