Welcome to the first issue of a quarterly newsletter intended to share information between the Australian hydro geospatial community across the country. Through Geoscience Australia’s (GA) visit to each jurisdiction annually we see some really great work and similar issues faced which would help to have a way to share and help each other, given the current economic climate and limited water funding. The idea was taken from Nerida Wilson’s visit to USGS, where they produce a monthly National Hydrology Dataset (NHD) newsletter to collaborators and stakeholders. Much is happening in the hydro space and we hope you will share your news in future issues. Feedback and suggestions are also welcome and we hope to keep future issues much shorter than this edition.


ICSM approved the Water Special Interest Group (WSIG) to provide a forum for all jurisdictions to discuss and resolve issues relating to the integration of jurisdictional information into the national hydrology dataset. It also provides an opportunity for jurisdictions to share expertise and knowledge. GA will chair this group and planning the first teleconference for May 2014. GA is calling for one or two representatives from each jurisdiction to be part of this group. Please advise details of your representative/s by COB 24 March 2014 to Nerida.Wilson@ga.gov.au. The draft Terms of Reference are attached for discussion prior to endorsement by PCTI Meeting on 25–26 March 2014.

GA Update

Nerida Wilson & Emilio Extremera, National Water Information Section, GA

The financial year so far has been a busy time for GA. Shane Crossman has been on secondment to the Office of Spatial Policy (now under the Department of Communications, in ANZLIC Chair and Secretary Drew Clarke’s portfolio) since February 2013 and is returning April 2014. Shane is Project Manager of the Foundation Spatial Data Framework (FSDF) and it has been a great opportunity to have a hydro champion involved, but we are looking forward to him coming back. See the FSDF Update.

Figure 1. Scales of AusHydro 2. WA scales to be added.

GA has been processing the data inputs for the Geofabric Phase 3 Pilot over Namoi and Murrumbidgee areas for release by the Bureau as mentioned in the Geofabric Update. This includes the hydrology dataset, but also a revised 1 second hydrologically enforced DEM and catchment boundaries over the areas which the Bureau will release this financial year. For 2013–14 the two areas of interest for revision of the DEM and catchment boundaries are Pilbara-Gascoyne (PG) and South East Coast Victoria (SEV) Drainage Divisions.

Work has continued on the integration and maintenance of the national hydrology dataset (often referred to as AusHydro). Many hours have been spent edge–matching features across borders and ensuring features are topologically and geometrically connected. Figure 1 shows composition of the varying scales that make up AusHydro2 (best–available scale national hydrology dataset). We still have WA, SA and parts of coastal Queensland to integrate.

GA has visited nearly every jurisdiction to share what work has been occurring in the hydro space and discuss any collaboration in the revision of hydro information.

Canada and US Research Trip — July 2013

In July 2013 Nerida Wilson and Andrew Whiting (Coordination Manager – National Topographic Information) attended the 2013 ESRI User Conference in San Diego and then undertook visits to government spatial agencies in the US and Canada. Nerida’s trip was primarily to gain an international perspective of surface hydrology programs, find possible solutions to improve efficiencies in data processing and investigate stream ordering and surface water–groundwater modelling projects that could be applicable to Australia. The visits included the following organisations and were invaluable in seeing how Australia is positioned and how we can learn from other countries’ datasets and processes:

Queensland Visit — August 2013

In August 2013, GA visited Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mine (DNRM) with representatives from Queensland’s Environment Heritage Protection (EHP), previously called EPA. GA and DNRM discussed continuing the collaboration of revision of 1:50K hydro features in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Since the meeting GA has put the second work package out for revision of Flinders catchment area which is expected to be completed in early–mid 2014. GA provided an update on the Geofabric and work being done by GA to integrate jurisdictional data into AusHydro2. EHP provided invaluable feedback on the Geofabric catchments which identified a lack of consistent three–digit numbering of Geofabric River Regions, which is required for Queensland reporting. This feedback was provided to the Bureau of Meteorology to be addressed in future releases of the Geofabric Catchment Product.

Peter Cullen Trust Science–Policy Leadership Program — Sept & Nov 2013

GA sponsored Nerida Wilson to participate in the 2013 Peter Cullen Trust Science to Policy Leadership Program which ran over two separate weeks with a group project completed in between. The program is designed for ‘mid–career rising stars’ in the water and environment fields to continue the legacy of Peter Cullen. Nerida found it an invaluable experience especially meeting people in the water industry from varied backgrounds and ways of thinking as well as personal learning through high profile speakers and experiential learning. Perhaps you have colleagues that would be interested this year – further details at www.petercullentrust.com.au/

Victoria Visit — December 2013

GA visited the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) in early December 2013. It was a chance for DEPI and GA to share their progress on the hydro datasets. It was great to hear DEPI’s data is now publicly available at www.data.vic.gov.au and allows non–hydro related features that the Geofabric requires to be easily incorporated. Coastal Victoria (South East Coast Victoria, SEV Drainage Division) will be revised by GA in 2013–14 as part of a four–year revision program using filtered 1:250,000 features and the 1 second DEM. It is hoped in future that funds can be made available to assist DEPI to incorporate their Victorian Rivers LiDAR Capture into their State DEM and ultimately improve the resolution/accuracy of features in the hydro dataset.

NSW Visit to GA — February 2014

GA and NSW Land and Property Information (LPI) met at GA in mid–February 2014 to discuss work programs, schema matching for hydro features and a data agreement between LPI and GA. The visit was very successful and a follow-up discussion at LPI in March 2014 for revising farm dam capture in areas not revised recently occurred.

South Australia Visit — March 2014

Visiting the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) in South Australia in early March 2014 gave a greater appreciation for the work undertaken by the State given its limited resources (common in all jurisdictions). The stitching of the 1:250K data with 1:50K data over the Adelaide region revised by DEWNR was discussed and whether there was a way for GA to provide resources to assist. Discussions on the way to deal with incremental updates/modifications for hydro features, as well as GA, DEWNR and Geofabric schemas, highlighted the need for a consistent schema with adequate notification of schema changes to allow lead time for SA to implement them. SA has used Strahler stream ordering for which SA has legislative requirements to use and the focus for revision, like many States, is around farm dams which have a water policy requirement.

Western Australia Visit — March 2014

An invaluable visit to Landgate in Western Australia in March allowed a greater understanding of the WA schema and revision for hydro related features. Landgate have been working on direct SDE versioning and allowing other WA agencies to edit the Landgate geodatabase virtually. This is something that would be good to explore further whether GA or other jurisdictions could use this method for state border corrections. Landgate have a very well–developed schema and similar work processes including the use of Workflow Manager and a Global ID. Potential NTICI revision was explored with the possibility of assisting in the consolidation of crossing structures which has double benefit for hydro and infrastructure datasets.

Geofabric Update

Matthew Brooks, A/g Geofabric Project Manager, Bureau of Meteorology

The Geofabric Project is led by the Bureau of Meteorology in partnership with Geoscience Australia, the Australian National University Fenner School of Environment and Society, and CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship. The aim of the Geofabric Project is to provide a suite of well maintained, evolving, authoritative data products containing a consistent representation of features, and the connectivity between features, of the Australian water system.

The Geofabric is a ten–year project with data products released in phases. Phases 1 and 2 have delivered a national infrastructure with increased functionality through successive releases. Phase 3 will deliver an improved resolution of data based on ‘best available’ hydrological information sourced from the Commonwealth, State and Territories, which will be released on a drainage by drainage division basis. In 2011 the Bureau funded a number of Modernisation and Extension Fund projects that supported jurisdictions to bring their topographic information up to a standard that could be integrated into the national topographic database. With Bureau oversight, this upgrade was managed by Geoscience Australia (GA) who have also invested heavily to implement and maintain a national database of larger scale hydrological data (Aushydro2). In addition, GA has assisted jurisdictions by investing in areas where M&E funding did not fund upgrades or revisions.

Results of a high resolution pilot over Namoi and Murrumbidgee catchments using Aushydro2 regional scale hydrological data and the 1 second DEM will be released to Beta testers in the first half of 2014. Given the outcomes of this pilot and timeframe for complete national revision, Geofabric Phase 3 (also known as V3) products will use filtered 1:250K attributed hydrological features from AusHydro2 with the 1 second DEM. Two V3 drainage divisions will be released publicly in 2014, with ongoing drainage division releases until mid 2017.

The pilot highlighted significant data processing overheads and identified a number of feature classes which may not be considered water features by jurisdictions but are required to meet the widest possible range of user requirements including hydrological modelling. The Bureau will be working with GA and the jurisdictions to include these features into Phase 3 in order to maintain consistency of hydrological features in the Geofabric products.

To access the Geofabric or for further information, visit www.bom.gov.au/water/geofabric

To express interest in becoming a Geofabric tester, send a request to AHGF@bom.gov.au

National Groundwater Information System

Figure 2. Density of bores derived from data National Groundwater Information System data.

Eloise Nation, Senior Hydrologist for NGIS, Bureau of Meteorology

The Bureau of Meteorology, in collaboration with the National Water Commission and State/Territory water agencies, has developed a National Groundwater Information System(NGIS), a nationally–consistent, spatially–enabled groundwater database. The system contains a range of groundwater data including more than 800,000 bores with associated lithology, bore construction and hydrostratigraphy logs (Figure 2). 2.5D and 3D aquifer geometries are also available for some areas (Figure 3). Hydrogeologic units within the system have been standardised for national consistency using the National Aquifer Framework. The system is based on Esri’s ArcHydro for Groundwater data model and is designed to facilitate spatial and 3D analysis of groundwater data.

The system is available in ESRI File Geodatabase format which requires ESRI ArcGIS 10 or above software. To obtain a copy, please email groundwater@bom.gov.au


Figure 3. 2.5D Aquifer data for the Daly Basin, Northern Territory.

The Bureau is developing a web mapping portal for visualising and interrogating data held in the NGIS. The portal will make this data available to all, not just ArcGIS users. The portal will use similar technology to the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas and will be released in mid–late 2014.

The Bureau is also setting up a groundwater mailing list that will be used to send out occasional emails when new and updated groundwater products are released. You can register to receive these updates by completing this subscription form. Once subscribed, you can manage your subscription or unsubscribe at any time.


FSDF Update

Shane Crossman, FSDF Project Manager

The Foundation Spatial Data Framework (FSDF) is a project developing a national framework to improve access to authoritative and accurate spatial information. The Office of Spatial Policy in the Commonwealth Department of Communications is managing the project. Spatial information is regarded as foundation if it supports a significant range of government and industry applications.

Groups of domain experts across ten themes (including water) are identifying current and future uses for foundation spatial information, and differences in governance, access, accuracy, standards, currency and coverage of existing datasets which may be barriers to future use. Plans for investment in the datasets will be developed based on these differences.

At present Geoscience Australia aggregates the various jurisdictional surface hydrology datasets into a national dataset at the request of the Bureau of Meteorology for it to meet requirements for the Water Act 2007. The Bureau of Meteorology aggregates jurisdictional groundwater datasets into a national groundwater dataset for Australia.

To coincide with the April 2014 Locate Conference, the theme and dataset descriptions for all themes including water will be officially released and a revised version published on the ANZLIC website.

For more information contact Shane.Crossman@communications.gov.au

Newsletter compiled by Geoscience Australia with some articles received from contributors. Therefore Geoscience Australia cannot guarantee that the information is totally accurate or complete and you should not rely solely on this information when making a commercial decision.