Improving access to Geoscience Australia's spatial data

26 August 2014

A screen shot showing the user interface of National Map.

A screen grab from the National Map.

Geoscience Australia's ability to provide data in useable formats for stakeholders and the public is key to maximising the uptake and use of our data.

Speaking at the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute ACT Regional Conference, Geoscience Australia data scientist Danielle Beaudreau said the concept of spatial data interoperability is extremely important for Geoscience Australia and its stakeholders, to ensure our data is accessible to users regardless of their choice of software platform.

One of the easiest and quickest ways for Geoscience Australia to make data available for clients is through the use of web services that conform to international geospatial standards.

"For example, spatial data interoperability is particularly important to community safety, since it is vital for information to quickly reach those who need it during emergencies," Ms Beaudreau explained.

Geoscience Australia is currently involved in two major projects that are working on improving ways of accessing and distributing data to stakeholders and the public.

The National Situational Awareness Tool (NSAT) project lead jointly by the Attorney-General's Department and Geoscience Australia, aims to integrate state, territory and Australian Government emergency management information into one common national operating procedure. The primary focus of the NSAT project is to aggregate and re-use existing web services across jurisdictional boundaries to make them available at both state and national levels to help decision makers during times of crisis.

Geoscience Australia is also working in collaboration with the Department of Communications and NICTA on the National Map project, a web mapping application that provides public and government users with intuitive access to a wide range of geospatial data from many Australian government agencies, from the federal level to the local level.

The National Map architecture is based on open protocols and formats to allow straight-forward incorporation of data services from many existing systems and initiatives. A number of government agencies already publish spatial data web services and catalogue services, which allows their data to be discovered and shared through online portals such as and FIND.

A beta version of National Map was released by Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications in the week leading up to GovHack. Additional datasets and functionality will be added to National Map in the coming months.

All current Geoscience Australia web services can be discovered and accessed from the Geoscience Australia Web Services page, Geoscience Australia's Data and Publications Search or FIND.