New Spatial Online Data Policy

10 October 2001

A range of fundamental spatial data sets produced by Geoscience Australia and other government bodies will become progressively available on the Internet for free.

Merger forms strong spatial agency

As part of a Government strategy for the Australian spatial information industry, the Minister for Industry Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, has announced a new Commonwealth alliance which will maximise the Government's role in providing fundamental spatial information.

"Geoscience Australia - Geoscience Australia and AUSLIG are two of the biggest Commonwealth producers and maintainers of spatial information. By merging them, we have created a more robust agency, better equipped to carry these responsibilities and to service the Australian community," said the Minister.

"The merger will also maximise benefits for both organisations, which have a long history of cooperation and collaboration," said Senator Minchin.

"One key area for cooperation is the continuing development and implementation of online services and product distribution.

"The new organisation will be able to respond well to the recommendations of the Spatial Information Industry Action Agenda and the Government's new policy on spatial data access and pricing," said the Minister.

The merged organisation will have a budget approaching $100 million and more than 530 staff. AUSLIG will contribute an operation with 115 APS employees, an annual appropriation of $25 million and product revenues of $5 million, a large base of capital assets, and a significant level of out-sourced service delivery.

The download charge has been removed from the National Geoscience Datasets by Geoscience Australia - Geoscience Australia under the Government's new spatial data pricing and access policy announced on 25 September by the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin.

Under the new policy, a range of fundamental spatial data sets produced by Geoscience Australia and other government bodies will become progressively available on the Internet for free.

The move to open up access to fundamental spatial data held by the Commonwealth Government is aimed at maximising the benefits to the community from the government's investment in spatial data.

"This measure will provide a great stimulus to the development of a viable private sector spatial information industry in Australia," the Minister said.

"It will also ensure a consistent, whole-of-government approach to the distribution of fundamental spatial data."

Under the new policy, free online access will be provided progressively to specified spatial data, as the necessary technology becomes available within the custodian agencies.

Products that cannot be immediately made available on the Internet will be supplied at the marginal cost of transfer. The new policy also removes restrictions on commercial use or value-added activities related to those spatial data.

The policy will be phased in over a six-month period allowing time for existing value-added resellers of government data to adjust to the new arrangements. While some data will be available under the new policy immediately, by February 2002 there will be a much more extensive range of data available.

Spatial (or geographic) data is information that can be mapped, including data about natural resources, the environment, social services, infrastructure, and digital versions of topographic maps and hydrographic charts.

Topic contact: Last updated: October 4, 2013