Surveying and Planning through Electronic Applications and Referrals

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is ePlan?

An ePlan is a digital data file in the LandXML data format which represents cadastral and administrative information related to a plan. This includes a subset of survey data which is also contained in the Abstract of Field Records, used to connect to MGA.

An ePlan is created using the SCFF methodology, which uses a DXF CAD file as the basis for providing plan and survey geometries. The SCFF is converted to ePlan using the ePlan Portal and associated services which validate the ePlan and allow for additional administrative data to be supplied (for example, easement information).

A completed ePlan includes survey measurements, parcel dimensions, easement, road and reserve information, land parcel descriptions and identifiers, administrative information, owner’s corporation schedules, and more.

Once the ePlan is complete, it can be used in SPEAR by fitting it to a new or existing SPEAR application. The ePlan will appear in SPEAR as a visualised PDF plan. The visualised PDF plan is used as the legal visual representation of the plan upon registration.

For more information please refer to the ePlan Fact Sheet.

What are the benefits of ePlan?

ePlan improves data quality, minimises duplication, and paves the way for end-to-end digital data workflows throughout the lifecycle of a plan. This enables streamlining and automation of existing manual processes for faster, reliable, and consistent plan registration.

Key benefits of ePlan include:

  • data pre-population and re-use of data from authoritative cadastral systems, reducing manual entry and processing times

  • automatic data validation, achieving higher quality plans, reduced requisitions, and faster registrations

  • visualisation of plans in compliance with the Registrar’s Requirements and the Victorian Cadastral Survey Practice Directives

  • high integrity updating of cadastral databases, including the Victorian Online Titles System, the digital cadastre, and the survey control network.
  • What is the Single CAD Format File (SCFF)?

    The SCFF represents a defined structure of cadastral CAD layers in the Drawing Exchange Format (DXF) version 2010. The SCFF format was co-designed in 2020 through collaboration with the surveying industry.

    The SCFF is used as the primary building block for creating an ePlan. There are 73 standard layers in the SCFF, which are used to define boundary, textual and survey information. Most CAD drawings only require a small subset of these layers.

    Applying the SCFF layering requirements enables a licensed surveyor to create an ePlan.

    What are the defined cadastral layers in the SCFF?

    There are 73 cadastral layers in the SCFF that define boundary, textual and survey information. The data in these layers is validated in the ePlan Portal against a comprehensive set of rules.

    The SCFF layers cover:

    Boundary parcels and lines layers:

    Lots, stage lots, reserves, roads, common properties, easements, Crown land services, restrictions, administrative boundaries, Crown allotments, Crown portions, building boundaries, building returns, connections, splays, offset, unsurveyed and natural boundaries.

    Textual labels and descriptions layers:

    Parcel identifier for lots, stage lots, reserves, roads, common properties, easements, Crown land services, restrictions, Crown allotments, Crown portions, and 9 figure number for survey control marks.

    Survey layers:

    Traverse lines, radiations, traverse points, survey control marks, and reference marks. There is provision to include additional layers to the CAD file, however these should be used for internal purposes only, as they will not be validated and will not be shown on the final ePlan.

    What plan types are supported by the SCFF/ePlan process?

    SCFF supports the creation of ePlan for cadastral plans under the Subdivision Act 1988. SCFF does not currently support text only plans, or any plan that requires a cross section (e.g. 3D building subdivisions). Instructions for the supported plan types are located here

    Does the SCFF/ePlan process support Abstract of Field Records and Surveyor’s Reports?

    Although a subset of survey data is included in the ePlan file, the full Abstract of Field Records and Surveyor’s Report are not supported by the SCFF/ePlan process. The preparation and submission of the Abstract of Field Records and Surveyor’s Report is still required in PDF via SPEAR.

    Must the SCFF include connections to MGA?

    While initial versions of the SCFF may be on a local coordinate system, the expectation is that the final version of the SCFF/ePlan will be connected to MGA. This is in line with the Victorian Cadastral Surveys Practice Directives. MGA connection will assist in streamlining the Vicmap Property and Digital Cadastre update process.

    The SCFF can be connected to MGA using the survey related CAD layers, i.e. survey control marks, reference marks, traverse points, traverse lines, and radiations

    Surveyors should ensure that the survey data in their latest version of an ePlan (in SPEAR) is consistent with the survey information shown on the Abstract of Field Records (PDF). Inconsistency between the two may result in delays at the time of plan registration at Land Use Victoria.

    Do I need to show parcel dimensions in the SCFF?

    No, dimensions are not required in the SCFF. They will be applied on the visualised PDF plan.

    Do I need to supply Digital Survey Geometry in SPEAR to support an ePlan application?

    No, the Digital Survey Geometry (DSG) requirement is not applicable to ePlan applications in SPEAR, as the ePlan contains the necessary information to update Vicmap Property and the Digital Cadastre.

    Can the SCFF layering structure be changed / modified?

    Layer names in the SCFF must not be changed. Not adhering to the layer names will result in an invalid SCFF. Other changes to the layer structure are not recommended as they may result in validation issues. There is provision to include additional layers to the CAD file, however these should be used for internal purposes only, as they will not be validated and will not be shown on the final ePlan. Layer colour, linetype, lineweight, etc. can be modified to suit surveyor’s preference.

    What software do I need to produce an SCFF / ePlan?

    There is no specific software requirement for producing an ePlan. The only prerequisite is that your software package can produce a DXF (version 2010) and that the DXF is complaint with the SCFF layering definitions. The DXF file is uploaded to the ePlan Portal, where it is validated and enriched to produce an ePlan.

    How do I start creating ePlans?

    All surveyors are encouraged to start producing ePlans. The first step is to adopt the SCFF layering structure to produce a compliant DXF file. Please visit the Getting Started - Training Resources’ section for further information including guidance notes, instructions, templates, and other training materials.

    Once a SCFF-complaint DXF is produced, the file is uploaded to the ePlan Portal, where it is validated and enriched to produce an ePlan. The ePlan Portal allows the surveyor to define additional plan information such as easement details, restriction information, notations, and other administrative data required of the plan.

    How is an ePlan supplied in SPEAR?

    Once an ePlan is finalised, surveyors can easily fit it to a new or existing SPEAR application by selecting it from a list of created ePlans stored against their organisation/site in SPEAR. Listed ePlans can also be viewed and edited in the ePlan Portal, as well as previewing the visualised PDF plan. The selected ePlan is attached to SPEAR application along with its visualised PDF and validation report, and digitally signed in-line with current SPEAR plan processes. The visualised PDF is used as the legal visual representation of the plan upon registration.

    If an ePlan is supplied at the beginning of an application, the following information will be pre-populated in the ‘create application’ screen.

  • Applicant reference number

  • Application parcels

  • Subdivision Act section/dealing type

  • Plan number / stage number

  • Number of lots
  • What is the ePlan Portal?

    The ePlan Portal is accessible through the SPEAR System and is a single platform consisting of all of the services, functions, and tools needed to create, update, and manage an ePlan file.

    What is the ePlan Dashboard?

    The ePlan Dashboard is part of the ePlan Portal which allows surveyors to view their ePlan activity, including access to current and previous versions of their ePlans and associated files (SCFF, LandXML, Owners Corporation spreadsheet and Enhanced Diagram file).

    Surveyors can also use the ePlan Dashboard to perform the following tasks:

  • upload new plan versions in SCFF
  • search for plans based on keywords, SPEAR Status, Applications Type or Dealing Type
  • remove ePlans that are not fitted to SPEAR applications
  • export Dashboard data to Excel
  • change the configuration of the Dashboard based on their preference.
  • What is the ePlan Editor?

    The ePlan Editor is accessible when the surveyor has uploaded an SCFF-compliant DXF file into the ePlan Portal. Data in the SCFF is converted and pre-populated into the ePlan Editor for the creation of an ePlan. Required data relevant to the surveyor, administrative areas, subject parcels, and survey control marks is also pre-populated from cadastral systems and databases, such as SPEAR, SRBV, Vicmap and SMES. All pre-populated data can be reviewed and edited, and new data can be entered. The ePlan Editor also presents the surveyor with validation warnings for incomplete data. An ePlan is generated when the process is completed, which can be validated by the ePlan Validation Service, and a PDF plan is automatically generated from the Plan Visualisation Service.

    What is the SCFF Validation Service?

    The SCFF Validation Service provides advice to the surveyor on whether their CAD plan drawing has been prepared in compliance with SCFF requirements. A number of validation rules are checked and a ‘Validation Status’ report is provided as to whether the SCFF has passed or failed. Validation messages are displayed for any validation rules failed, and these are accompanied by a preview of the SCFF using the SCFF Viewer. A link is provided between geometrical features causing errors within the report and SCFF elements to enable the surveyor to better interpret the errors.

    What is the SCFF Viewer?

    The SCFF Viewer is a tool that will assist surveyors to understand and address validation issues with their SCFF. The SCFF Viewer enables the surveyor to view the SCFF and interact with any CAD layer and select features of the CAD drawing, which are highlighted when selected. This tool provides two types of search: a) DXF Feature ID, and b) Coordinates.

    The current list of SCFF validation rules can be found here.

    What is the ePlan Validation Service?

    The ePlan Validation Service is used to validate the ePlan LandXML file against a suite of business rules. This generates an ePlan Validation Report which identifies any errors and warnings that must either be addressed or justified by the surveyor.

    The current list of ePlan validation rules can be found here.

    What is the ePlan Validation Report and can I add comments to it?

    The ePlan Validation Report provides a summary of the ePlan validations that are used to support plan lodgment and examination processes. The validation rules are listed with their pass, error or warning result. Once an ePlan has been fitted to a SPEAR application, a justification or comment can be added to provide plan examiners with additional information about any errors or warnings that cannot be addressed.

    What is the Plan Visualisation Service?

    The Plan Visualisation Service generates a PDF plan from the ePlan file. For small and simple plans, the visualisation may not require any further enhancements to satisfy plan presentation requirements. For larger and more complex plans, the visualisation will require enhancement using the ‘Visualisation Enhancement Tool’ (VET). This will allow for improvements to be made to the plan presentation.

    What is the ePlan Visualisation Enhancement Tool (VET)?

    The VET enables the surveyor to enhance the presentation of the PDF plan which is automatically generated from the Plan Visualisation Service. Enhancement to the plan presentation may be required, particularly for heavily detailed and complex plans. This can be achieved in the VET by editing labels/arrows, introducing key sheets, defining additional sheets, creating enlargement diagrams, and exaggerating features. The enhanced plan is used as the visualised PDF plan for council certification, contracts of sale, and subsequently as the title diagram when the plan is registered by Land Use Victoria.

    Should grid distance or ground distance be used in the SCFF?

    Ground distance should be used in line with the Survey Practice Directives.

    Is there ability to supply provisional plans when submitting ePlan applications in SPEAR?

    Yes, provisional plans can be created using the SCFF/ePlan methodology and stored within the ePlan Dashboard. ePlans can be maintained and modified (new versions) for as long as required before creating the application in SPEAR.

    If I started a SPEAR application with a PDF plan, can I convert it to an ePlan application?

    PDF based SPEAR applications can be converted to ePlan applications using the ‘Modify’ plan function in SPEAR. If this is done before certification, the ePlan will be shown as latest version of the plan. If this is done after certification, the applicant contact will need to apply for a re-certification. In this case, the ePlan would become the proposed plan until council accept the re-certification request.

    Once accepted, the ePlan will become the latest version of the plan.

    If I attach an ePlan to my SPEAR application, but need to make changes to the plan later, what happens?

    Plan versioning is supported by the ePlan Portal. The ePlan Portal will retain the administrative data entered into the ePlan Editor and the enhancements made to the plan using VET for the next version of an ePlan, provided the geometry of the features in the plan remains the same. The new version of the ePlan can then be fitted to the existing SPEAR application by modifying the plan, which is the same process as adding a new version of a PDF plan.

    Can I fit a new version of an ePlan into a SPEAR application without changing the plan version number?

    Your initial ePlan will require a version number to be supplied, this can be numeric and/or alphabetic. Subsequent ePlan versions will provide the option to update the version number or leave it unchanged.

    The version number entered into the ePlan will be extracted automatically by SPEAR when the ePlan is fitted into SPEAR application. This will become the ‘surveyor’s plan version’ in SPEAR.

    Where can I get support with SCFF and ePlan?

    The SPEAR Service Desk is supporting surveyors with SCFF/ePlan adoption. Please email fcrne.vasb@qryjc.ivp.tbi.nh if you require assistance.