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Supporting country businesses through bushfires and COVID-19

The challenge

With the ‘Black Summer’ fires of 2019-20 still raging, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) conceived of a project to help regional businesses that were being devastated by the loss of tourism.

The department’s #BuyRegional campaign (now part of the Department of Regional NSW) aims to highlight and promote country businesses, encouraging people to buy from them online, or in person when it became safe to do so.

Sadly, the challenge for tourism-reliant stores was only just beginning. In March of 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic began to take off in Australia. States closed their borders, and social distancing was put in place. When restrictions began to ease later in 2020 though, the need to support regional businesses was larger than ever.

Map showing Orara Valley Honey open in the sidebar

The solution

There’s a banquet of products and experiences to enjoy across country NSW, whether it’s a local honey, an outback pottery studio, or a quiet farmstay. But unless you know what you’re looking for, it’s hard to find out what’s on offer.

We designed a map with a broad range of both search and discovery options, so people could get a clear and uncluttered selection of great regional businesses.

Map with the 'explore' menu open, with 'food' selected and Murrungundy Pistachios highlighted


The ‘explore’ menu on the right of the map allows people to filter businesses by type, for example ‘Food’, ‘Art & Design’ or ‘Experiences’. The icons and colours associated with each type help people link businesses on the explore menu, the map and the sidebar. Different marker types indicate whether the store has a shopfront, or is online-only.

When a business is selected on the map, the sidebar opens, showing both details of that store and other stores in the area, aiding discovery.

Map with the search bar open, searching for Bathurst

A simple but powerful search bar at the top of the map allows you to search by business name, town or region. Both stores and regions become highlighted on the map once they’re selected.

Interested in mapping solutions? Check out our recent projects, including our COVID-19 recovery platform for the UNDP, and supply-chain visualisation for Meat & Livestock Australia—or get in touch.