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Frequently Asked Questions

You can find frequently asked questions for the Digital Mapping of EPIs below. This content will be continuously updated to ensure it is accurate and relevant at all times.

Is adoption of digital mapping of EPIs mandatory for councils?

No, adoption is optional. Interested councils should contact the relevant DPE planning regional teams or by emailing [email protected].  

Have any councils already adopted digital mapping of EPIs?

Yes, click here for a current list of councils that have adopted the digital mapping and for those in various stages of the transition.

Are there any training resources for councils?

Yes, interested councils will receive an initial demonstration session, which will be followed by a training session.  There are also resources on the Portal that can be accessed at any time. Please click here for training material. Ongoing support will also be available for councils as they transition to digital mapping.

Will the transition to digital mapping impact the “Standard Technical Requirements for Spatial Datasets and Maps”?

Yes, the “Standard Technical Requirements for Spatial Datasets and Maps” has been updated to accommodate the digital mapping of EPIs. It now includes new information on the spatial-data lifecycle and governance, as well as the data-management process. Sections on PDF maps have been revised to reflect the shift to digital mapping and the eventual retirement of those PDF maps.

Please click here to access the draft revised requirements.

How long does the initial transition to digital mapping take?

It should take approximately four to six weeks. For dependencies that may impact that timeline please use the link in the previous question.  

What is each council’s role in preparing of the data for digital mapping? 

Councils are required to continue to provide the data, identifying the areas to be amended as part of a Planning Proposal. The biggest difference is in the timing of the delivery of that data.

In the current approach (PDF mapping), councils provide the data at the time of gazettal. For digital mapping of EPISs, this will change - councils will be required to provide the data as early as possible in the Planning Proposal process. 

For more detail, please refer to the Data Lifecycle and Governance section of the updated “Technical Standard Requirements for Datasets and Mapping” document.

Who owns the EPI datasets?

The copyright for EPI datasets is owned by the Crown (NSW). Please refer to Section 2.2 of the “Technical Standard Requirements for Datasets and Mapping” for more information.

Are councils required to provide any digital data as part of the initial transition to digital mapping of EPIs, given we have already provided all data by way of ongoing LEP amendments? 

No, this isn’t necessary. The Department can use the existing data in NSW Planning Database, unless a council, upon reviewing that data on the Spatial Viewer, decides it needs to be amended. Councils can then provide an updated dataset.

During, and after, the Planning Proposal process, how do councils access the digital maps?   

The Department has enhanced its existing digital mapping environments and introduced new viewers to support the transition to digital mapping of EPIs as part of the Online Planning Proposal process. 

Depending on which stage a council is at in the Planning Proposal process, digital maps are made available from the following environments:

  • During the Planning Proposal process, councils can use the Planning Proposal viewer, which allows councils to conduct data reviews, finalise mapping in collaboration with the Department, consult with agencies, conduct a public exhibition and finalise amendments. 
  • After the Planning Proposal process, councils can use the Historical Viewer, which displays the current LEPs and any historical amendments since going digital.
  • Councils can also use the existing Spatial Viewer, which continues to display the current EPI data, as well as providing “property search” and “property report” features.

Please refer to the Spatial Data Lifecycle in the Planning Proposal Process section of the updated “Standard Technical Requirements for Spatial Datasets and Maps”.

Is the digital mapping (Historical Viewer) accessible through the NSW Legislation website?   

Yes, it is. A link is provided on the relevant EPI page for each council on NSW Legislation site. This link will redirect the user to the relevant section of the NSW Planning Portal depending on whether a council has transitioned to digital mapping or not.

If a user is searching for a council that has transitioned, they will be redirected to the Historical Viewer. If the council has not transitioned, the user will be redirected to the relevant PDF maps page.

Will the non-standard LEPs be included in the digital mapping process?

No, direct transition of non-standard LEPs in their current form is not possible. These LEPs will need to be migrated into a Standard Instrument LEP (SILEP) before they can be transferred to digital mapping. 

Will the maps be made available to view from the time of gazettal , or will we have to wait up to 3 business days for that to take effect as is the current situation?

The digital data is being updated within the 3 business days at the moment. 

Can councils access the EPI spatial data at any time? If so, how? 

Yes, councils can request for a copy of the data at any time by emailing [email protected]

What legal status will the digital EPI maps carry and how can they be used in a courtroom scenario?

Digital maps have the same legal status as PDF maps so long as they comply with clause 1.7 of the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan. It is worth noting that the digital maps on the NSW Planning Portal have been referred to in a courtroom in the context of the Coastal Management SEPP.  

Does the digital mapping of EPIs require councils to do any system development? 

No, it doesn’t. The Department has built all the necessary digital environments to facilitate the transition. Councils can access these environments through their existing NSW Planning Portal logins.  

Can digital mapping accommodate large and complex LEP amendments?

Yes, there are no constraints in regard to the size or extent constraints to support making of an LEP through the digital mapping process.  

How are the various iterations of the data that supports digital LEP mapping going to be managed?

At every significant step in the LEP amendment process, the Department saves a snapshot of the data in NSW Planning Database, which can retrieved at any time.

For more information, please read the Spatial Data Lifecycle in the Planning Proposal Process section of the updated “Standard Technical Requirements for Spatial Datasets and Maps”.

What mechanisms will be put in place to prevent any alterations to the digital mapping outside the formal Planning Proposal process?

The Department has stringent data-management processes to prevent any unintended changes.  If you would like to know more, please email [email protected]