This is our secret list of tips for how to cyberstalk a property in Queensland like a structural engineering professional.
This simply marvellous list of resources will help you find (just about) all you need to know about a (Queensland) property you own or are interested in buying.
Cyberstalk a Property’s Pipes with Dial Before You Dig
We’re big fans and regular users of the free Dial Before You Dig website and it is an essential bit of kit for checking out underground services that might exist on a property.
Get an account and then lodge an enquiry.
Just remember the website comes with a few disclaimers and the size, diameter and depth of underground services will still need further investigation. See our Section about Urban Utilities if you are located within an UrbanUtilities supply district.
Special thanks to Alexandra for letting us know about Brisbane City Council’s newest cyber-stalking tool.
It’s called “Developmenti“, and it’s the sprightlier version of Brisbane City Council’s previous attempt to enter the electronic era (pdonline – which can still bring a tear to your eye if you’re a sucker for punishment (and who doesn’t like to do things the hard way now and then??!))
Developmenti lets you search by location (to cyberstalk a property) or by Applications (to see who is doing (or has done) what or simply by zooming around in a map.
You can register to use the site but if you are a cyber-stalker like me, then you’re not yet willing to share your details, and you don’t really have to.
The mapping tool is like a Google Maps view on steroids – you can easily tell a property street address and find applications in a local area by scrolling around on the map – pretty handy!
I couldn’t find the old 1946 map of Brisbane (is it even on Development.i?) so if you need to know your post-war status you can always go back to pdonline (watch this video by Peta to find out about the Traditional Building Character overlay: https://youtu.be/JO1RMIdHpvk)
Overall the pdonline pages you might stumble into are:
or the (half-hearted) ‘interactive’ mapping system:
https://cityplan.brisbane.qld.gov.au/eplan/ where you can get a quite useless Property Holding Report.
Yay Brisbane Council for coming of age and saving us from pdonline.
Cyberstalk a Property using Queensland Globe
The spectacular Queensland Globe has some handy mapping layers that will be very useful if you have to cyberstalk a property.
The aerial imagery is good and current and the property boundaries and naming layers are all pretty handy.
We made a video on Youtube to show how we use Queensland Globe to create an aerial photo for use in a report.
Queensland Globe also has the ability to look at previous aerial photos so that makes it super-useful if you are working out how a building came to be.
In case you didn’t know, Urban Utilities is a semi-government corporation charged with supplying drinking water, recycled water and sewerage services to a large part of South East Queensland.
Until recently you had to be an e-ninja to be able to get information about their in-ground pipes. Well, Urban utilities have made your life a lot easier with their Open Data Map.
Ignore the weird name. Just click on the link and discover the world of underground pipes, pumps and pits. https://quu.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=3d33e3db46894d46a9cffca08eae68b9
This information is going to affect you if you are building, extending or modifying a building that comes within cooee of existing underground pipes.
You will have already become aware of these pipes being within your vicinity when you ran a Dial Before You Dig.
This tool by Urban Utilities fills in some more of the blanks. Pipe diameter. Check. Pipe depth. Check (maybe). Pipe manholes and sewer connection points. Checkity check.
Save yourself some heartache before you begin your planning process. Cyberstalk your pipes and keep clear of them. Digging near them is a pain in the pipe!
Cyberstalk a Property with Realestate.com.au
If a property has been bought or sold in the last 20 years then photos of that property will be held here for all to see.
- Wondering if a carport was built in the last five years, check to see it here.
- What does your neighbour’s lounge room look like? Have a look.
One of our favourite tricks: if a house hasn’t been bought or sold in, like, forever, is to cyberstalk the neighbouring properties to see if the external photos capture the property you are interested in. Groovy. (We especially use this trick to work out the cause of flooding or collapsed retaining walls!)
Don’t forget these photos are captured by photographers that like to bend light (make rooms and yards bigger than they are) and colour things in (colour grading) so remember to keep it real.
If you know an address you can find out the lot and plan number. If you know the lot and plan number you can find out the address.
Lot and plan numbers are the way surveyors and developers refer to properties. It’s just another way to identify your property and you might need to enter this information from time to time.
Google StreetView is a late addition to this list but I don’t know why. We use StreetView to see how the front of a building has changed over time. Sometimes we’ve even managed to identify who built a building just by finding the builders signs in an old StreetView photo.
The handy bit is, like Google Earth, you can turn back time to previous 360 photos of your cyber-target.
Sometimes you have to go way back in time to see how changes have been made on a property.
Back to when you didn’t even realise they could take photos from planes. That’s where this website comes in.
It is difficult to use because it is not intuitive but the information is there. You just have to work for it.
Great little website for finding previous applications and documents related to cyberstalking a property within the Sunshine Coast Council area.
The only bad point is that every time you follow a link a new page opens.
Our old favourite keeps getting better and better with the way aerial photos have been turned into 3d images and (fairly recent) historical aerial photos are easy to find.
Use the Pro version for free (you used to have to pay for it) because it is way better.
If you think our website looks homegrown, then you should head over to Mackay City Council’s online mapping system Mimaps. It makes our website look good!
But with one big difference: Mimaps lets you search Mackay regional properties and add contours to a map. Very handy for wind classifications.
By far the handiest bit of information is the sewer mapping overlay which lets you locate the sewer mains and manholes on the map. Most sewer lines also have the ability to be clicked for more information. Ahead of its time at one time and now behind its time – just proof that time does stand still.
I like this website because it is quick and easy to use. We use it to find underground services in Gold Coast Council’s area.
It has the usual shortcomings of not having all the information on all of the infrastructure but it’s a pretty good start.
There is nothing more real-time, accurate and current than taking your own aerial photos with a drone from DJI. At Cornell Engineers, we use Cornell Aerial. They fly the DJI Mini 2 and DJI Mavic Pro.
Their drone photos are spectacular and custom – exactly what we want from the angle we want.
Of course, you can always grab a DJI drone for yourself and get custom aerial images like this. Check out this guide to Mavic’s amazing photography drones.