Spatial data

Agencies as diverse as the Australian Electoral Commission and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority are using spatial data to augment the information provided on their sites.

Why should I?

Spatial data and information can be applied in a diverse range of situations. Spatial information is becoming increasingly important in:

  • service delivery
  • personalised services
  • industry growth
  • land administration reform
  • natural resource management
  • emergency management and national security
  • local government
  • national research priorities.

What should I do?

When delivering spatial data online you need to consider three distinct aspects:

  • the spatial data
  • the information technology
  • the output form.

A variety of services use spatial data. These include:

Interactive maps
Map services include the provision of maps that can be manipulated online. The user can zoom in and out, re-centre the map and use other features. An example is the MyBroadband from the Department of Communications.  
Routing information
This is information that gives the user directions about how to get from point A to point B, which may or may not include a map (e.g. National Public Toilet Map).
Geocoding / Reverse geocoding
This is the generation of a geographic coordinate given an address or, alternatively, of the generation address given a geographic coordinate (for example, Geoscience Australia’s Place Name Search).
Web services
These provide access to data, which can be distributed across multiple agencies so that other applications can use this data for their own purposes. In the case of spatial data, web services may provide data for presentation in a map. The NSW Natural Resources Atlas relies heavily on web services to provide the spatial data requested.

How do I?

The Better Practice Checklist Spatial data on the internet provides guidance on how to publish spatial data.

Last Reviewed: 2012-09-04