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Ian Kininmonth, Land Use Planner

Ian KininmonthWe all know how empowering having access to the right information or tools can be to our work. Ian Kininmonth is a land use planner whose mission is to empower people to make a difference by connecting them to the information they need to get their jobs done. Through his business, Environmental Knowledge Systems Australia – EKSA for short, Ian and his business associate, Werner Runge, provide technology-enabled information services to workgroups and projects in the land use planning and management sectors.

Ian’s journey started in 1990 when he was appointed principal planner of the Shire of Manjimup. His experience with rural planning was minimal but was significantly aided by having access to tools such as soil landscape maps and tables which enabled him to ‘read the landscape’ and understand the capabilities and risks associated with development.

This experience and understanding was carried through when he was made manager of the Department of Agriculture WA’s Land Use Planning project in 1994. A major component of the project involved packaging and extending relevant information to planners and decision makers in State and local government so that they were aware and understood the importance of agriculture in their particular regions and local government areas. A significant outcome this was the protection of a number of prime or priority agricultural areas in regional and local government planning schemes.

Ian Kininmonth 
FieldworkAnother important component of Ian’s job at the Department of Agriculture involved developing decision support tools for planners and others. Through the project Ian and his team developed products such as the AGMAPs series of CD-ROMs to enable sub-regional and property scale assessment of land use capabilities and land degradation risks. Other significant outputs included land use suitability maps and the Stocking Rate Guidelines for Rural Smallholdings which is still in wide use by local governments in the Swan Coastal Plain and Darling Scarp. Ian managed a number of outputs through the project which have received National and State level awards.

In 2005 Ian left the Department and established EKSA. With Werner Runge, Ian developed the Land Use database which now contains over 14,000 records associated with land use planning and management from across Australia. The Land Use database is used to develop a variety of information products for clients. These include reports as well as information databases and decision support tools.

Recently Ian and Werner have developed the TargetOn web-based information management and communication platform which is essentially a collaborative online database with web front end. TargetOn enables EKSA’s clients to provide and maintain information required by their customers in the one location and to use this as a central hub for communication and engagement.

This month EKSA recently completed development of the Sustainable Agricultural Practices Information Hub for long time client, the Perth Region NRM sustainable agriculture project. The information hub uses the TargetOn platform and has been initially seeded with content from the EKSA Land Use database. The information hub contains over 3,000 locally relevant best management practices (BMPs) and information resources which are now accessible 24/7 to the more than 20,000 farmers and small landholders across the region – the real people needing information to make a difference on the ground.