This page provides help for Geoscience Australia's Data and Publications Search.

Help Topics

Known Issues

The following lists the known issues and limitations of the system:
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 - whilst this site will function adequately when using Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, performance will be degraded in comparison to using a more modern web browser.
  • Layers disappear when panning East of New Zealand - The layers haven't actually disappeared but rather moved. When you pan past the dateline which runs roughly North/South to the East of New Zealand the layers have moved across the date line. There is no fix planned and it suggested that users are aware of the limitation and use zoom levels and panning that keep the layers within the current field of view.
  • The WFS client does not re-position the map to view added features if they are out of the displayed bounds and the advanced section is not intuitive.
  • Site is not optimised for mobile devices.
  • Can't search from a single point on the map.

Access Keys

The dialog available on pressing the number zero access key.
Use the "0" access key to view all access options.
An access key provides the ability to immediately navigate to a specific section of the site via the keyboard. This site supports the following access functions by key:
List Access keys
Search for Products
Show Help (new window)
Show Map View
Show List View
Show Split View
Toggle distance measure tool
Show map layers control
Reset Map
Re-display last message

Interface Overview

The Data and Publications Search interface is composed of several distinct parts: [Top]

Interface Header

Shows the quick links, product search input and search button, the advanced search toggle and the help icon link.
Interface header controls
There are a number of functions available on the right hand side of the interface:
  • Quick Links
  • Product search field
  • Advanced search
  • Delete all search criteria. Clicking the cross beside the Advanced link will remove all search criteria. The cross will only appear when there are search criteria entered.
  • Re-show last message. Clicking the balloon icon, which appears to the right of the delete all search criteria button, will re-show the last message shown. No balloon icon appears until there has been a message shown.
  • Help (You are currently reading the Help file).
Shows the look of the quick links and its content

Quick links when expanded

The Quick Links list provides links to the following frequently visited GA web pages:
  • Data and Publications Search
  • Place Names Search
  • Hazards - Earthquake Hazards 2012 map
  • Floods - The Historic Flood map

Product Search

Shows how the product search appears on the page
Product search input and button.

The Product Search field provides the primary input field for searching. Click on the search icon, or press the enter key to initiate the search.

By default this searches title, keywords and abstract (multiple search terms are treated as a Boolean 'OR'). More recent publication dates are also weighted in preference to older products. A well chosen small set of search terms is often better than having a larger number of search terms. Reducing the number of terms often narrows your result set to more relevant results.

To search for specific phrase, enclose the phrase in double quotes ("). For example a search for "murray river" (with quotes) searches for all GA products that contain the phrase murray river. A search for murray river (without the quotes) searches for all GA products that contain the word murray or the word river. Search terms are case-insensitive.

Please note that a Delete all search criteria icon (X) will appear after you have entered search text into the Product Search field.


Advanced Search

Shows a view of the functionality available on the advanced search

The advanced search input section.

The Advanced Search interface allows you to further refine your search criteria using spatial and temporal search elements. Please note that the Acquisition date options and Choose location by lat/long are minimised by default.

Filter by

  • National datasets only
    Checking this box will limit your search to GA National Datasets.
  • Theme
    The Theme drop down list allows you to apply a specific theme as a filter for your search, for example, limiting your search to bathymetry data only.
  • Product type
    The Product type drop down list allows you to limit your search to specific product types, such as multimedia files.
  • Author surname
    The Author surname text input allows you to limit your search to specific authors. Author's names are most often stored as surname followed by a comma and a space, then one or more initials where each intitial is followed by a full stop. Using surname alone is usually enough to limit your search.

    More than one author can be searched upon by separating names with a space. Boolean operators can also be used. For instance jones AND logan will find those products where both a Jones and a Logan authored the product. Note that the AND is case sensitive and a lower case and will be treated as a name.

    More advanced searches can be made using the prefix of author: followed by your search terms in the top product search text input area. See detailed search information for information and examples of creating advanced searches.

Choose location on map

  • Draw area on map
    After clicking the Draw area on map button, use the mouse to draw a box on the map to select your area of interest. This will set the search criteria to the coordinates defined by the box. To complete the search, click on the search icon ( Show the appearance of the button that initiates a search. )
  • Set to map extent
    This option sets the bounding box slightly smaller than the current extent of the map.
  • Choose location by lat/long
    This function allows you to manually enter location coordinates in decimal degrees.
    The location defined by the coordinates will become a search parameter.

    When entering values, the following rules must be observed:

    • N. Lat must be a numeric value between -90.0 & 90.0
    • E. Long must be a numeric value between -180.0 & 180.0
    • S. Lat must be a numeric value between -90.0 & 90.0
    • W. Long must be a numeric value between -180.0 & 180.0

Select Dates

  • Publication year
    Select the Publication year from the drop down list.
  • Publication year range
    Select the From and/or To publication date range from the drop down list.
  • Acquisition date
    Please note that the Acquisition date panel is minimised by default
    • Date
      Manually enter an Acquistion date in dd/mm/yyyy format, or click on the calendar icon and select an acquisition date using your mouse.
      Keyboard shortcuts are avilable for the calendar date picker. Please refer to this list of keyboard shortcuts
    • Date range
      Manually enter a FROM and/or TO date in dd/mm/yyyy format, or click on the calendar icon and select a FROM and/or TO acquisition date using your mouse.
      Keyboard shortcuts are avilable for the calendar date picker. Please refer to this list of keyboard shortcuts
  • Search
    Click the search button to perform your search.

Clicking on the "Advanced" link again will minimise the Advanced Search Interface.


Keyboard shortcuts for the date picker

While the datepicker is open, the following key commands are available:
  • PAGE UP Move to the previous month.
  • PAGE DOWN Move to the next month.
  • CTRL+PAGE UP Move to the previous year.
  • CTRL+PAGE DOWN Move to the next year.
  • CTRL+HOME Move to the current month. Open the datepicker if closed.
  • CTRL+LEFT Move to the previous day.
  • CTRL+RIGHT Move to the next day.
  • CTRL+UP Move to the previous week.
  • CTRL+DOWN Move to the next week.
  • ENTER Select the focused date.
  • CTRL+END Close the datepicker and erase the date.
  • ESCAPE Close the datepicker without selection.


Shows what is available from the tool bar.
The toolbar provides views of the search results and map and tools to interact with the map.
The Toolbar contains the following search input and results display tools:

Map View

Image depicting the map view button.
The map view button
Clicking on the Map View button, displays only the map on the user interface, allowing the user to work with the map in greater detail.

All search tools and functions work as normal, regardless of the view selected.

Split View

The split view button
Clicking on the Split View button displays the map and the search results on the user interface. This feature allows you to view and select search results on the map.

All search tools and functions work as normal, regardless of the view selected.

List View

The list view button
Clicking on the List View button displays only the search results on the user interface. This allows greater detail of the results to be shown in a full screen display.

All search tools and functions work as normal, regardless of the view selected.

Distance Measure Tool

Enable distance measure
This tool provides the ability to measure the distance in kilometres between two or more points. Click on the map to start a path, each click marks a point on the path. Double click ends the path. Closing this dialog or clicking the Distance Measure button again ends recording of the path and erases the path from the map.

Map Layers

A view of the map layer control toggler button.
Toggle map layers dialog button
A view of the map layers control dialog.
A view of the map layers control dialog.

Clicking the Map Layers button allows you to toggle the map layers dialog and select the map base layer & overlays you wish to display on the map.

Each type of overlay provides visual information to help interpret and understand the map data.

The Map Layers tool is also used when displaying information as a web service on the map. Data available as a web service are identified by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) symbol Demonstrates the appearance of the OGC symbol icon used to show OGC web service manipulation capability..

The dialog allows toggling between base layers, showing or hiding other layers, changing the opacity of selected layers and showing the legend for a layer.

If you add layers using other functionality within the application you can remove them from the dialog by clicking the delete icon Demonstrates the appearance of the OGC symbol icon used to show OGC web service manipulation capability..

Reset Map

Shows the appearance of the reset map button.
Reset map button
Clicking the Reset Map button resets the map to the default zoom level and centres the map on the Australian mainland.

Search Results

Search Criteria

Shows the search criteria used to get the latest list of results.
The search criteria used to create the results set.

The search criteria are displayed after initiating a search and reflect the criteria used for the most recent results. The summary area displays the following information and functionality

Send search criteria by email

Shows the button used to initiate an email to up to three recipients with a link including the search criteria used to get the latest results list.

The email search criteria button

Clicking the envelope button allows you to send a link that contains the current search criteria to up to three email addresses. The dialog for the email details has three fields, two of which are mandatory.
  • The mandatory field for email addresses that you would like to send the criteria to. The email addresses must be valid and there must be between one and three email addresses provided. If more than one then the email addresses must be comma separated.
  • The optional text field to give extra context to the recipients of the email so that know why the link has been sent
  • The mandatory validation numbers or Captcha to ensure that the sender is human. The four digits from the image need to be typed into the field. Beside the image containing the four digits.
    • The Refresh link allows a new image to be presented for those instances where the image is too hard to read and
    • The speaker button allows the numbers to be read out to aid completion of the validation field.

Save search criteria as a bookmark

Shows the image to be clicked to get a bookmarkable link that will run the current search
The bookmark search criteria button

Bookmarked search criteria can be saved as a bookmark or copied for other use such as emailing. When the saved link is clicked it will restore the search criteria and initiate a search. The returned results list is likely to be the same list as when the link was saved or bookmarked but it may change as products are added or removed or if the metadata describing the products changes.

Results summary

Initial searching returns at most 50 matched products. The results summary will state the approximate number of matched records, e.g. 50 of 7,513 results displayed. If there are more results they will be fetched in blocks of 50 results until they all are retrieved. Extra requests are initiated by scrolling to the bottom of the results on the split view or hitting the More... button on the bottom of the list view.

Showing all results on map.

Shows the icon to initiate showing those results that have bounding boxes on the map. If all are shown it will remove all result's boxes from the map.
Toggle display of bounding areas button.

Most products have a bounding area that can be shown on the map. The display of the bounding areas (if available) of the listed products can be toggled using the button with the map of Australia.

Individual product's bounding areas can be toggled on or off via their own toggle button in the results list.

OGC web services

The OGC service allows you to interact with the dataset using a generic web service client, via XML, or allows you to consume the dataset through your own third party web services tool. When using the web services clients (below), the selected services will be rendered on the map and can be interracted with using the Map Layers control.

WMS web service

Show how the WMS dialog looks.
WMS web service client (click image to show in new page)

The WMS web service client is available for those products that have a WMS service listed in their metadata. Once the dialog has appeared a list of layers that exists within the WMS service are listed and these layers can be chosen to be presented on the map by selecting them via their checkboxes and hitting the Show button.

Hint: Drag a layer up or down to change its rendering order. Layers are ordered so that the layer at the top of the list is rendered first with subsequent layers rendered over it. The dialog allows the dragging of a line up or down to change the rendering order.

WFS web service

Show how the WFS dialog looks.
WFS web service client (click image to show in new page)

The WFS web service client is available for those products that have a WFS service listed in their metadata. There are some steps that allow you to view WFS features on the map.

  • If the product has multiple services a service selector will appear that allows you to interact with a single service.
  • A service can have multiple feature types. To proceed pick one from the drop down list.

Clicking the Show Feature button will render the default number of features. Some features can be quite complex and take some time to render so the default is set low to allow you to determine the acceptable rendering time.

The advanced section allows you to restrict features to a given bounding area or to add filters to the query.

The Property Name is pre-populated from the feature type meta data, in this case the XML schema definition (XSD) which can be viewed on the XML tab under the heading WFS Feature_Type Details. The coordinates of the bounding box are taken from the bounding box on the map. The bounding box is included in the query if the Set Bounding Box check box is checked. You can add or change the bounding area by clicking the Draw button. The Choose location on map section of the Advanced section allows you to add, change or delete a bounding box.

Other filters can be applied using the appropriate values for other fields mentioned in the XSD by clicking the Add button.

WCS web service

Show how the WFS web services dialog appears.
WCS web service client (click image to show in new page)

The Web Coverage (WCS) Service allows you to download different output formats from a single service, where that service response can be restricted to a defined area and to a particular projection.

The raw data from the phases of the service interaction can be viewed on the XML View tab where:

  • WCS Endpoint. This can be used in other richer third party tools that specialise in WCS consumption or within your own tool.
  • WCS Get Capabilities Response. Contains metadata about the WCS service and data holdings.
  • WCS Describe Coverage Response. Delivers XML descriptions of coverages (such as their location in space and time).
  • Download URL. Once the download button is pressed on the WCS tab, the generated URL used to download the product is replicated into this field.

The Draw button allows dragging a bounding area on the map whose coordinates are used to restrict the area rendered once the download button is pressed. Those bounds are immediately below the button.

Services can support coverages in a variety of formats and those formats supported by the service currently being used are listed in the Output Format select box. Some output formats may require specialised tools to use.

CRS is the projection. While the application uses the WGS 84 as its default projection, others may be more relevant to you. You can select the most relevant projection for your needs from the drop down list.

Preview thumbnail

Shows the icon used to show the preview of the result set as thumbnail image
Button to view thumbnail
The magnifying icon is used to preview a thumbnail image of the search result if a thumbnail image is available.


Shows the icon used to initiate a
Download button

The download icon is used in two ways:

  1. To provide an immediate download of the product if there is only one format available.
  2. To display alternatives if the product is available in more than one format.

Click to view area on map

Shows the icon that is used to toggle viewing a result's bounding area on the map.
View bounding area button
The map icon is used to view the search result area on the map.

If the map icon is greyed out, it means that the dataset has no spatial boundaries, and therefore the search result cannot be viewed on the map.

Title hyperlink

Shows the appearance of the metadata link on the page
Image of the metadata link on the search results list.
The title of search results also acts as a link to the metadata on the specific search result. Click this link for detailed information on the resource.
Shows the look of the download capability from the metadata popup page.
Download from metadata page

Where applicable, the product can also be directly downloaded from the metadata information page. If the product is not available for immediate download, you will be informed of the contact details for the product owner, or prompted to enter your contact information if the product has to be retrieved and/or processed from an archive storage location.


Zoom, Pan and Scale

Zoom Controls

Shows how the xoom control appears on the map.
Zoom control on map
The zoom control allows the user to zoom in or out of the map to see greater or less detail. Dragging the slider up or using the top arrow will zoom in on the map. Dragging the slider downwards, or using the bottom arrow, will zoom out. Alternatively, you can use the mouse scroll button to zoom in or out, if this is available on your mouse.


You can pan, or move around the map by clicking on the map, holding down the mouse key and dragging to where you wish to view. Alternatively, you can use the Reference Map (below) and drag the red box to a new point on the map.

Reference Map

Shows how the reference map appears on the map.
Reference map
The Reference Map is a visual indicator of the current map extent. By default, the Reference Map is minimised. Click on the the Reference Map button to expand it. Dragging the red box pans the map.


Shows the map scale appears on the map.
Scale indicator
The map scale is a visual representation of the scale of area displayed on the map. The scale varies as you zoom in and out of the map itself.

Topic contact: Last updated: June 19, 2013