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New South Wales coastal waterways geomorphic habitat mapping, Version 2 (1:100 000 scale digital data)

Note: This metadata describes the dataset in accordance with the ANZLIC (Australia New Zealand Land Information Council) Core Metadata Guidelines Version 2.

Dataset citation

ANZLIC unique identifier: ANZCW0703007482

Title: New South Wales coastal waterways geomorphic habitat mapping, Version 2 (1:100 000 scale digital data)


Custodian: Geoscience Australia

Jurisdiction: Australia



This dataset maps the geomorphic habitat environments (facies) for 134 New South Wales coastal waterways. The classification system contains 12 easily identifiable and representative environments: Barrier/back-barrier, Bedrock, Central Basin, Channel, Coral, Flood- and Ebb-tide Delta, Fluvial (bay-head) Delta, Intertidal Flats, Mangrove, Rocky Reef, Saltmarsh/Saltflat, Tidal Sand Banks (and Unassigned). These types represent habitats found across all coastal systems in Australia. Most of the estuaries of New South Wales are under intense land use pressure with approximately 80% of the State's population living near an estuary (NSW Dept of Land and Water Conservation) .

ANZLIC search words:

  • GEOSCIENCES Geomorphology Mapping
  • MARINE Estuaries Mapping

Spatial domain:

locality map

Geographic extent name: NEW SOUTH WALES - NSW - State or Territory - New South Wales

Geographic extent polygon: 149.8 -28.5, 153.6 -28.5, 153.6 -37.5, 149.8 -37.5, 149.8 -28.5,

Note: The format for each Geographic extent name is: Name - Identifier - Category - Jurisdiction (as appropriate) See GEN Register

Geographic bounding box:
North bounding latitude: -28.5 °
South bounding latitude: -37.5 °
East bounding longitude: 153.6 °
West bounding longitude: 149.8 °

Data currency

Beginning date: 2005-03-10

Ending date: 2005-03-24

Dataset status

Progress: Complete

Maintenance and update frequency: Not Known


Stored data format:
DIGITAL - shp ArcView shape file ArcView Geographic GDA94
Available format type:
DIGITAL - shp ArcView shape file ArcView Geographic GDA94

Access constraints:

Licence required.

Data available for download from the OzEstuaries website (

Order Product

Data quality


Data source:

Georeferenced 30 metre resolution Landsat TM 5 and Landsat ETM 7+ images. Georeferencing performed using image processing software (ER Mapper), with 10-15 ground control points per image, against 1:250 000 scale topographic maps. Aerial photographs ranging in scale from 1:10 000 to 1:80 000.


For individual coastal waterways, the Landsat images were printed at an appropriate scale, ranging from 1:15 000 to 1:50 000. Boundaries of geomorphic habitats (facies) were mapped by hand over these printed images, with the assistance of aerial photographs and enhanced Landsat images. Where Landsat imagery was unavailable, digital images of 1:100 000 topographic maps were used.

Digital capture:

Hand drawn interpretations digitised on-screen over Landsat imagery, using ER Mapper software. The scale at which each coastal waterway was drawn was no greater than 1:5 000, with a window size of 650 by 650 pixels. The projection was Transverse Mercator and the datum AGD66. ER Mapper vector files converted to AutoCAD dxf files and then to ArcInfo coverages (one coverage for each coastal waterway), and polygons attributed with geomorphic habitat type. Attribution checked against the original interpretation. Logical consistency checks performed on all coverages, and the projection and datum converted to Geographic, GDA 94. Coverages merged into a single shape file, using the Geoprocessing Wizard in ArcView 3.2.

Newly mapped, 3 Near Pristine estuaries were hand drawn over Landsat ETM7+ 15m resolution panchromatic band. The interpretations were scanned at 400 dpi as binary TIFF files and vectorised in microstation. Maps were attributed in microstation and converted to ARC/INFO coverages in Geographic, GDA 94. Further attribution and logical consistency checks were performed on all coverages, then merged into a single shapefile, using the Geoprocessing Wizard in ARCGIS 8.3.

Positional accuracy:

Geomorphic habitat unit boundaries have horizontal positional errors up to 100 metres, as they were digitised over 30 metre resolution Landsat TM 5 imagery. Positional accuracy checked by on-screen comparison of the data to Landsat TM 7 imagery. Coastal waterways with consistent errors greater than 100 metres block-shifted, to more accurately match Landsat 7 imagery. Inconsistent errors greater than 100m do exist in these data, when compared to Landsat 7 imagery; due in part to changes in coastal waterway morphology over time.

Interpretations which were scanned, were hand drawn at scales no greater than 1:25000 on 15 metre Landsat ETM7+ imagery.

Attribute accuracy:

The classification scheme divides coastal waterways into 13 easily identifiable geomorphic habitat environments, representative for all Australian coastal waterways. The classification was defined by Heap et al. 2001. Further information is available from Ryan et al. 2003.

The classification scheme was applied by subjective interpretation of Landsat imagery and aerial photography. Attribute values were checked y comparing the digital data to the original hand drawn interpretations. No ground truthing was performed to check interpretation accuracy.


feature Feature type

ufi Unique Feature Identifier - unique number for each polygon

gh_symb Geomorphic habitat symbol

gh_type Geomorphic habitat type

est_num Estuary number

est_name Estuary name

state State

Heap A., Bryce S., Ryan D., Radke L., Smith C., Smith R., Harris P., and Heggie D. 2001. Australian estuaries and coastal waterways: a geoscience perspective for improved and integrated resource management: a report to the National Land and Water Resources Audit theme 7: ecosystem health. AGSO Record 2001/07. Australian Geological Survey Organisation, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. (Available from the OzEstuaries website -

Ryan, D. A., Heap, A. D., Radke, L., and Heggie, D. T. 2003. Conceptual models of Australia's estuaries and coastal waterways: applications for coastal resource management. Geoscience Australia Record 2003/09. Geoscience Australia, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. 135pp.

Logical Consistency:

All polygons are labelled with only 1 label. All attributes are populated with valid values. All lines intersect at nodes. No dangling arcs exist.

Overlapping polygons do exist in the data. They exist where smaller coastal waterways occur within larger coastal waterways (Eg: George's River within Botany Bay) and where neighbouring coastal waterways share geomorphic habitat units.


The data contains information for 134 New South Wales coastal waterways. Some New South Wales coastal waterways are not included - the total number of coastal waterways recognised by the National Land and Water Resources Audit is 134.

For included coastal waterways, the data contains an interpretation for the whole coastal waterway.

More information for each coastal waterway is contained in the OzEstuaries database, available from the OzEstuaries web site (

Contact information

Contact organisation: Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia) (GA)
Contact position: Manager Client Services
Mail address: Cnr Jerrabomberra Ave and Hindmarsh Dr
Mail address: GPO Box 378
Locality: Canberra
State: ACT
Country: Australia
Postcode: 2601
Telephone: 02 6249 9966
Facsimile: 02 6249 9960
Electronic mail address:

Metadata information

Metadata date: 2013-03-08

Additional metadata

Metadata reference XHTML:

Metadata reference XML:


Authors:Dyall, A. Tobin, G. Galinec, V. Creasey, J. Gallagher, J.G. Ryan, D.A. Heap, A.D. Murray, E.