About the Far North Queensland GIS Group Inc.

We are a non profit association established as a local forum for knowledge exchange on GIS, and to promote the use and awareness of spatial information technology across the far North and beyond. 

What is GIS?

GIS is more than just mapping software.

It is technology coupled with skilled personnel and business process pillars that provide a foundation for mapping and analysis used in science and almost every industry.  It links information about where things are with information about what things are like, and the software contains tools that allow you to perform sophisticated analyses of these relationships, resulting in better informed decisions.

History of FunGIS

In 1988 several FNQ GIS enthusiasts started a local user group to share information about this exciting new technology (Esri was the first to release commercial GIS software in 1981).

This bunch of spatial innovators really wanted to get together with other spatial innovators to talk about GIS possibilities, and so in September 1990 Far North Queensland GIS Group Inc (affectionately known as FunGIS) was incorporated as a not for profit GIS user group, a legal entity that could run workshops and conferences, and provide a forum to promote awareness and use of spatial information technology across far north communities and beyond.

Here we are now, 35 years later, and two of FunGIS’s founding members – Atherton Tablelands surveyor Bob Peever and Cairns consultant Les Searle – are still attending FunGIS events.  This kind of longevity is unusual in the not for profit sector, in which organisations are run by volunteers.

Spatial Innovator Shaun Kolomeitz has referred to FunGIS as “THE premier spatial group in Queensland (maybe Australia)” and commented in February 2024: “When I was running DIGGARS down here [Brisbane] over 20 years ago we aspired to mimic the reputation and success of FunGIS. We did have a great group back then but nothing has happened here in over 15 years. That’s very sad and disappointing as USQ has such a great surveying and spatial area. [FunGIS has] kept on going, and gone from strength to strength, with an awesome spatial community.”


Here’s a sample of conferences FunGIS has run:

In 2006 Cyclone Larry hit far north Queensland and FunGIS came to the fore with the ‘Sandbags and Sandals' Conference 

In 2012 FunGIS partnered with SSSI to run the 'Combined LiDAR Technologies' Conference.

In 2013 FunGIS celebrated its 25th (from inception) anniversary with 'Ground to Cloud: Maintaining the edge on Spatial Information'.

In 2015 we were 'Keeping It Spatially Simple'.

In 2018 we looked in to 'Spatial technologies of the Future'.

In 2019 we were 'Dealing with Data - it's everywhere!'

In 2022 we were 'Mapping on the Move'

FunGIS MapChats

In response to members' continuing requests for face to face spatial networking events, in 2016 the FunGIS Exec established FunGIS MapChats for sharing of GIS projects and ideas in local, informal settings.  MapChats happen after work, with one spatial innovator sharing a current project and others invited to comment.

The Exec has always aimed to host a FunGIS MapChat once a month throughout the year, however this depends on volunteers having time and is not always a realistic expectation.  Nevertheless we have had some great spatial presentations and discussions over the last 8 years, as these examples show:

In September 2016 Alistair Hart from Mangoes Mapping Pty Ltd kicked off FunGIS MapChats at the Cape York Hotel in Cairns, then in March 2017 Darryl Lyons from IoTAustralasia talked about use of IoT in precision agriculture at the Yungaburra Pub on the Tablelands.

In 2018 a MapChat about a project to map yellow crazy ant eradication, held at the The Bluewater Hotel in Cairns, was well attended. 

Then in 2019 the challenges of mobile data collection were discussed in the context of setting up an app for the yellow crazy ant eradication program.

During the covid years FunGIS MapChats, like everything else, were held online.  The September 2020 MapChat discussion of cartography in action at the community level generated quite a lot of interest. 

Then in 2022 community action was again the focus in a discussion of mapping an alternative route from the Tablelands to the coast.  

The November 2023 MapChat was held face to face in two places (Cairns and Townsville) and was live-streamed as well - the preferred format for the future!


Check the FunGIS Events page for upcoming MapChat events