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The DBE was originally conceived under the VANZ banner

Virtual Australia and New Zealand (VANZ)

​VANZ is a federated, fully integrated, 'photo-realistic' secure 3D Data Set, that enables users to model the Natural and Built Environment across Australia and New Zealand (above and below ground, including all plant, equipment, devices and objects) at all scales and with all detail necessary for decision-making - using  any software and portal of their choice.

Its purpose is to enable users to transact in the virtual world on exactly the same basis as in the real world, in order to make changes to, or to facilitate the use of, the real world to deliver better outcomes, more quickly, at less cost and with much less risk.

It 'mirrors' not just the physical, dynamic and spatial attributes of each object (with links to all data about it), but also the legal boundaries that constrain access, use and trade in the real world.

By embedding the legal boundaries within the digital twin, it is easy to establish rights of access, use and trade in both the model and related data. Quite simply, it means you can do with the model and related data what you can do with the object that it models (not more or less), without a specific agreement to do otherwise.


​'Federated' simply means VANZ/DBE is made up of separate data sets each under the control of the owners and government organisations who own and control the property that it models

Under the proposal, VANZ/DBE would become the single 'Authorised Data Set' for all property-related activities - enabling the real world to be represented, and scenarios, plans and designs modeled through any 3D software across time, to show: historical, current and planned future states.

The '10 Foundation Data Sets' nominated by the Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council are critical to the development of VANZ/DBE, and represent a key first step in its creation.

In time, VANZ/DBE may prove to be the most important piece of 'infrastructure' created in the 21st Century - through which all other infrastructure and development takes place.

It is also expected that, as VANZ/DBE becomes the 'standard', so its 'public' (ie 'surface') data can be shared (without liability), with third-parties such as Google, Microsoft, Apple and others.  This will enable them to deliver unique 'value-add' services with more reliability at lower cost.  At present, each is required to spend on gathering their own data.  This is costly and inefficient and, as capabilities converge, adds little competitive advantage.

Importantly, with all users accessing the same public data across all providers, 'crowdsourcing' can be used with greater confidence to continually improve it... making VANZ/DBE even more valuable over time.

Freeway interchange
Virtual Australia and New Zealand Framework

This is the conceptual Framework developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders to support the creation of VANZ/DBE.

It involves a network of 'Data Banks', established under a new uniform legislative regime, whose sole purpose is to hold the VANZ/DBE data 'in perpetuity' on behalf of the community - just as banks hold our money.

The key to the proposal is for all 'operating' aspects to be delivered commercially.  These include data gathering and creation, data storage, data access and data modelling. In the first instance, these services will be paid for by developers and associated professionals - in consideration for the large time, cost and error savings they will generate. 

Ultimately, it is property owners who will pay - which they will do gladly as, overall, the service VANZ/DBE provides will mean better, quicker and cheaper property development and facility management.

The Data Banks, may be owned and operated by Government entities and Utilities to hold their own data sets.  Though it is expected that commercial organizations will be set up to provide the service for them, as well as to hold all 'private' models.  The market will sort out the mix.

The Framework also includes the development of National Legislation based on the simple principle that: "whatever rights, responsibilities and restrictions apply to any 'physical object' in the real world, as far as possible, the same should apply to its 'virtual model' in the 'Authorised Virtual World' (VANZ/DBE)".

Virtual Australia and New Zealand Initiative

VANZI was established by Michael Haines with the Founding Members in 2011 as a not-for-profit entity to broker the creation of VANZ/DBE.


In pursuit of this objective, VANZI has undertaken extensive consultation across all levels of government, with professionals in the property sector and a wide range of technology providers to identify the Benefits, Technical Capability and Challenges involved in creating VANZ/DBE.

In the process, we have also identified a 'Conceptual Framework'  aimed at solving the major challenges.

A longer term objective is to have VANZ/DBE become an official agenda item for the Council of Australian Governments and New Zealand.

In pursuing this objective, VANZI will be seeking the support of government,  industry and technology representatives to join a Steering Committee and Workgroups to critically review the proposed Framework and to assist in preparing a report to all Governments setting out a way forward.

A new Governance Workgroup has been established in 2018. Its aim is to create the framework for uniform legislation across Australia (and New Zealand). This is not the intractable problem it may at first appear, as there are still relatively few 3D data sets currently in existence, and few 3D legacy systems in place that must be reconciled. And few laws that specifically address the 3D virtual world.

​Technical Workgroups are also being established to build a VANZ/DBE Demonstrator within each Australian State and Territory and New Zealand, having regard to the differing land administration regimes in each jurisdiction.

Wherever possible VANZI will be seeking to leverage existing initiatives across national, state and local governments, as well as within the spatial and building modelling communities.


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