New national database simplifies water tracking

8 September 2008

Only about 50% of Australia's drainage basins actually flow to the sea according to a new national Digital Elevation Model developed jointly by the Australian National University and Geoscience Australia.Digital Elevation Model Version 3 map of Australia.

With fundamental information of this nature and other detailed data, the new GEODATA 9 second Digital Elevation Model, or DEM-9S, data will improve the ability to understand how Australia's water drains across the surface of the continent.

The DEM-9S data will contribute significantly to water accounting, catchment management and modelling the impacts of climate change projections as well as a broad range of emergency management applications.

It is the third version of the digital elevation model and marks the culmination of more than a decade of work to provide a grid of nationally consistent ground-level elevation points covering the whole of Australia.

With a grid spacing of nine seconds in longitude and latitude, or roughly every 250 metres, the new database also includes information on revised stream lines, coastlines, cliff lines and water-bodies as well as trigonometric points from the National Geodetic Database.

A flow direction grid included in the new database details the principal directions of surface drainage across the whole of Australia to delineate stream lines and related catchment boundaries which is particularly useful in low-relief areas where drainage is not defined reliably by elevations alone.

A high resolution image created from the data on the DVD is available as a free download. For more information visit GEODATA 9 Second DEM Version 3 or read the media release.

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