by Shahida Sweeney

Geoscience Australia opens up access to spatial data

Aug 28, 20142 mins
Big DataFinancial Services IndustryGovernment

Geoscience Australia is embracing international geospatial standards and integrated Web platforms to share spatial data in an open environment. The focus is on interoperability, says the agency’s data scientist, Danielle Beaudreau.

Interoperability is critical to encouraging the use of spatial data across government, communities, and business. “This ensures our data is accessible to users regardless of their choice of software platform,” Beaudreau says.

Offering data in useable formats opens up access to vast repositories of information. “Spatial data interoperability is especially important for community safety. During emergencies, it’s vital for people to have access to information.”

Mapping the terrain

Geoscience Australia has spearheaded key projects that improve ways to access and distribute spatial data. Among these is the National Situational Awareness Tool (NSAT) project, which brings together the Attorney-General’s Department and Geoscience Australia.

This NSAT collaboration integrates emergency management resources for nationwide agencies. The project aggregates and re-uses existing Web services, while improving response time and services during emergencies.

The peak geoscience agency has also teamed up with the Department of Communications and NICTA on a national mapping project. The initiative integrates Web mapping tools with spatial data sets.

The spatial mapping architecture uses open protocols and formats, while incorporating data from different services, ICT systems and government-industry initiatives.

A popular iPhone mobile app from the agency now navigates users through the earth’s 4600 million year history. This downloadable app features a “TimeWalk” through the earth’s geological history. It draws on 3D, animation and visual maps to make learning intuitive and interactive.

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