The NSW Urban Observatory is a key component to the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN)’s ( http://aurin.org.au/ ) engagement activities with planners and policy-makers. The Observatory is responsible for hosting and managing a number of state based datasets across NSW which are made available through the AURIN portal. The Observatory also provides expert advice on the What if? scenario planning, based on evidenced based approaches to strategic planning ( http://aurin.org.au/projects/portal-and-infrastructure/what-if/ ). In 2016, the Observatory is also hosting a series of workshops across Sydney with key stakeholders to increase the awareness of AURIN’s potential in an era of big data, analytics and smart cities.