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Geomorphic Features 2006

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: ANZCW0703014955

Title: Geomorphic Features 2006


Custodian: Geoscience Australia

Jurisdiction: Australia



The data set provides outlines for the maximum extent of geomorphic units for the North West Marine Region. The dataset is clipped from Geoscience Australia's original Geomorphic Features of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to the East Marine Region extent. These data were compiled as part of Geoscience Australia's integrated digital information system to provide improved accessibility and knowledge relating to the environmental management of Australian's oceans resources. The geomorphic units are to be used as surrogates for benthic habitats and can be best applied to the construction of bioregionalisations of the seabed. The data set also includes the name of units in the attribute table, where known, the source(s) of the names, feature

codes, province codes, as well as the area and perimeter of each unit. The data are accompanied by Geoscience Australia Record 2003/30.

Dataset has been updated (2006) to correct errors in original file.

ANZLIC search words:

  • GEOSCIENCES Geomorphology Mapping
  • MARINE Mapping

Spatial domain:

locality map

Geographic extent name: AUSTRALIA EXCLUDING EXTERNAL TERRITORIES - AUS - Australia - Australia

Geographic extent polygon: 92 -8, 172 -8, 172 -60, 92 -60, 92 -8,

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

Geographic bounding box:
North bounding latitude: -8 °
South bounding latitude: -60 °
East bounding longitude: 172 °
West bounding longitude: 92 °

Data currency

Beginning date: 2006-01-01

Ending date: 2009-11-01

Dataset status

Progress: Complete

Maintenance and update frequency: Not Known


Stored data format:
DIGITAL - shp ArcView shape file ArcView Geographic WGS84
Available format type:
DIGITAL - shp ArcView shape file ArcView Geographic WGS84

Access constraints:

This material is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence.

Free Data Download

Data quality


The geomorphic features were captured in 2002 as part of a program run by

Geoscience Australia and the National Oceans office to create a spatial

inventory of benthic habitats for Australia?s marine jurisdiction. The

geomorphic features are defined by the International Hydrographic Office

(IHO, 2001), and were identified using a 250 m spatial resolution

bathymetry model with reference to previously published geological studies.

In most cases, the feature boundaries corresponded to already published

boundaries or were defined based on obvious bathymetric features,

supplemented by high-resolution seismic reflection and sedimentary data.

Where appropriate, the feature boundaries and classifications are

consistent with United Nations Law of the Sea boundaries. The

identification of shelf valleys and submarine canyons on the continental

slope was aided by the use of predicted drainage maps. All the features

were identified on the contour and false colour maps and drawn by hand

onto transparent compilation maps. When completed, the compilation maps

were scanned, georeferenced and the separate polygons were digitised and

stored as an ARC/GIS shape file. Care was taken where separate maps sheets

joined to ensure that features were correctly identified and retained

their identity across the boundaries.

Positional accuracy:

Positional accuracy of individual geomorphic features boundaries varies

depending on the source data. Due to the scale of the map, and quality of

the source, the smallest feature that could be reliably resolved was

approximately 10 sq km.

Attribute accuracy:

No attribute for data quality exists at this stage. This attribute will be

updated once a reliability map for the source bathymetric data has been

generated. The reliability map will be based on the spatial distribution

of soundings.

Logical Consistency:

All bathymetric datasets once reduced to 9 x 250 m grids for the Australia

EEZ were examined visually for data consistency. In some circumstances

individual datasets were identified as inconsistent within the grid and

either left out of the final grid or were corrected.

Terms and nomenclature used to describe geomorphic features of the seabed

are based on definitions endorsed by the International Hydrographic

Organisation (IHO, 2001). Adopting ISO terms ensures a standard

nomenclature that is widely recognised. Regional data sets were then

compiled as a single national coverage. Tests were also carried out on the

data for completeness, correct spatial representation, attribute accuracy,

and logical consistency and correctness.


Coverage: The geomorphic units cover 100% of the Australia Exclusive

Economic Zone. The raw data that makes up the bathymetry grid is derived

from numerous sources and has been obtained opportunistically hence the

actual data coverage is generally patchy and irregular. A data density map

for the bathymetry grids has not yet been produced.

Classification: A total of 21 separate categories of geomorphic feature were

selected for mapping (IHO, 2001). A category for sandwaves and sand banks

were also included to capture important geomorphic features on the shelf.

Terms and nomenclature used to describe geomorphic features of the seabed

are based on definitions endorsed by the International Hydrographic

Organisation (IHO, 2001). Further details of these terms and documentation

underlying their adoption by IHO may be found at the following internet


B6efEd3.pdf for complete IHO documentation (IHO, 2001). Due to the often

sparse nature of the bathymetric data and the coarse resolution of the maps

some features in the geomorphic units map were identified through a

literature search and not directly from the bathymetry grids. This was often

the case for features such as sandwaves on the shelf, which occur on a scale

to small to be resolved within the 250 m bathymetry grid.

Verification: Field verification was limited to reviewing published

literature of prominent marine features within the Australian EEZ.

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: 2013-04-15

Additional metadata

Metadata reference XHTML:

Metadata reference XML:


Authors:Heap, A.D. Harris, P. Sbaffi, L. Passlow, V. Fellows, M.