Queensland Government: Department of Natural Resources, Energy & Mines

Posted: 3 Mar 2020

Transforming data into engaging augmented reality experiences


The Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines & Energy (DRNME) helps government, industry and communities to make the most of the state's natural resources: water, land, minerals and energy.

The department supports the Queensland Government’s open data initiative by offering the public access to a variety of spatial and associated data. The department already provides some information for desktop and web applications, but they wanted to provide geographic information system (GIS) data direct to consumer devices such as iPhones via an engaging digital experience. 

Key Issues

  • Accessibility to data on consumer devices
  • Improve accuracy of virtual preview rendering 
  • Create an engaging user experience
Augmented reality


Together, Telstra Purple and DNRME came up with a solution that would deliver an accurate and immersive experience for users. 

The Telstra Purple team presented a proof of concept for a virtual and augmented reality platform named QOverlay, to provide an immersive data showcase for two developments, the Queen’s Wharf and Northpoint tower, located in the Brisbane CBD.  

QOverlay allows users to point the camera of their mobile devices at specified locations and get visualisations right on their screen. The application provides 3D overlays of the Northpoint Tower building with relevant information, such as recent sale prices and internal building structure, and offers a virtual preview of the Queen’s Wharf development.

Users can view the main layout of each floor of the Northpoint Tower, as well as tenant information for rooms, available cadastral information (ownership and tax details) for the specific floor plan, including last sale price, known land size, and categorisation. A heat map also provides a visualisation of the property’s last sale prices.

The preview rendering of Queen's Wharf allows users to see the development as if it was already completed, integrated seamlessly with the surrounding buildings, including reflections and obstructions of other buildings, despite it being a virtual model.

As part of the process we:

  • Discovered limitations in GPS and compass accuracies for alignment and developed a novel approach to aligning the digital models with the real world, allowing accurate positioning of the 3D model representations.

  • Developed a 3D plan overlay of the Northpoint Tower, which users can access simply by pointing the camera of their devices at the building. 

  • Created a preview rendering of Queen’s Wharf, which allows users to stand at one of the many vantage points around South Bank and Brisbane CBD and see the area on their screens as though it were already completed.


Stakeholders can now provide unique input on the long-term solution roadmap of how AR and 3D modelling can help Queensland’s industries, government, and constituents to use natural resources more sustainably as cities like Brisbane develop.

QOverlay allows users to point their device at a subject building, call up the overlay graphic, and source the GIS data they want, be it property sale prices or other building information. Data can be accessed from the GIS system in real-time, ensuring accuracy and authenticity.

Guided by the intention to democratise data for users—and all without requiring them to have state-of-the-art equipment, just a device that they regularly carried with them—DNRME, in partnership with Telstra Purple, was able to bring to life an idea that can change how industries, governments, and communities can build the cities of the future.