The winter edition came around quickly and hopefully we’ve stuck to a shorter newsletter this time! It is also now an electronic version to make it more accessible and not fill your Inbox. This newsletter features the work of Queensland and regular updates from GA, the Bureau and FSDF. We hope in the future each state will share their work in the hydro-geospatial area and will be able to provide an update on the Water SIG.


The Water Special Interest Group (WSIG) first teleconference will be on Wednesday 27th August 2014 at 2pm AEST. Agenda and updated Terms of Reference will be sent the week prior. Any queries please contact


GA Update

Nerida Wilson, National Water Information Team, Geoscience Australia

The last few months of the 2013–14 year have been focused on the remainder of work to deliver as part of the NTICI revision and the foundation inputs for the Geofabric. GA has completed revision on the Nicholson–Leichardt and Flinders Catchments in the Gulf of Carpentaria as part of a joint revision between GA and Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM).

Significant time and effort has gone into improvements to the drainage enforcement and catchment delineation tools created by CSIRO and ANU respectively, to ensure creating the data inputs for Geofabric Phase 3 products is as efficient as possible. A number of processing steps have been reconfigured so that they are included in the ANUDEM software which is used in the drainage enforcement rather than in the catchment delineation routines. They include improving ANUDEM’s ability to remove sinks in the data and using waterbody polygons to create the DEM (not just the streams). GA and ANU are in the final stages of testing the improvements — more on this in the next newsletter.

The team at GA has been busy undertaking revision of Pilbara–Gascoyne (PG) and South East Coast Victoria (SEV) drainage divisions using the above mentioned tools. It was pleasing to see that the resulting catchment outputs using the 1 second DEM with the vector streams shows some improved variation in overall drainage basins with the existing basins that were produced using the 9 second DEM. It was hoped that the basins would be fairly consistent yet provide minor changes around the edges to be more reflective of the landscape.

Figure 1. Blue Water Day – Geoscience Australia and Bureau of Meteorology team members with Dean Djokic from ESRI US.

In May, GA was fortunate to have Dean Djokic, the developer of ArcHydro from ESRI US come to GA to conduct ArcHydro training and general surface water consultation. Staff from the Bureau also attended the training and it was a chance to learn more about the ArcHydro data model and how this might benefit the GA national hydro model in the future. Whilst Dean was here it was time for a photo for Blue Water Day so we all dressed in blue for the occasion (Figure 1).

Geofabric Update

Matthew Brooks, Geofabric Project Manager, Bureau of Meteorology

The Bureau’s Geofabric team has been busy progressing Phase 2 (version 2.X) Geofabric products, as well as collaborative work with Geoscience Australia on Phase 3 (version 3.X) Input data.

Geofabric version 2.1.1 was released in late July, and includes 3310 monitoring point locations. A sample toolset was released in April which enables users to create and define customised sub–catchments from user defined points using the Geofabric. The toolset has been used widely to create monitoring point catchments and is being developed further to meet hydrological modelling requirements. This toolset was developed as part of the Bureau and CSIRO Water Information Research and Development Alliance (WIRADA), which has been developing methods to associate, link and represent monitoring points and anthropogenic features with Geofabric stream networks and catchments. A Geofabric monitoring point catchment product is also under development, which will be delivered in V2.2. Two new Groundwater tutorials have also been released to show how you can calculate aquifer thickness and visualise the top of aquifer surfaces with the Geofabric Groundwater Cartography product.

Geoscience Australia delivered Phase 3 Geofabric input data for Pilbara–Gascoyne and South East Coast Victoria drainage divisions in late June 2014. These two drainage divisions will be released as version 3.0 Geofabric drainage division products over the remainder of 2014. Upgraded DEM and catchment processing code has been completed for processing of further phase 3 drainage divisions, providing efficiencies to deal with the increased resolution of phase 3 Geofabric input data. This work included revised handling of complex river networks in low relief areas and will result in improved Geofabric network streams and surface catchments.

The Bureau held a workshop in July 2014 to review Geofabric Phase 3 and ensure the future direction aligns to the original vision and objectives of the project. The opportunity to make use of other elevation sources captured over high priority areas such as the Murray–Darling Basin was discussed and will be investigated to see if the use of blended DEMs would be feasible.

V3 is keenly anticipated by users who require products based on the best available mapped data and the 1 second DEM. To access the Geofabric or for further information, visit To express interest in becoming a Geofabric tester, send a request to

Queensland’s Hydro Program

Ron Grove, Department of Natural Resources and Mines

Prior to 2010, Queensland’s digital drainage network was very basic. Statewide capture was only available at a coarse 1:250000 scale, but beyond that it comprised “spaghetti” line work with little structural cohesion or consistency.

Queensland had over time captured about 6% of the state, generally in the south east corner and along parts of the populated east coast for use in 1:25000 topographic mapping. This data was captured using both analogue and digital photogrammetric processes with some of the earliest data being in imperial measurements. About 60% of the state was covered by the Geoscience Australia 1:100000 MapData hard copy products and in the early 2000’s a project was commenced to digitise the drainage data in this product for use in geographic information systems. This data had some attribution, varying topological consistency and had capture dates ranging from the 1960’s to 2010. The data was of limited use in hydrological modelling, emergency management, monitoring of climate change or in online mapping applications.

In 2010, Geoscience Australia and the Queensland Government commenced a collaborative project to capture and update Queensland’s hydrographic data for inclusion in the Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric. The project (commonly called the Blueline Project) was to have 1:25000 hydrographic data covering the river drainage basins along the east coast from the New South Wales border to north of Cooktown. Cape York Peninsula and those basins that flowed into the Gulf of Carpentaria, were to be updated to 1:50000 specifications, while the remainder of the state including the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Murray–Darling Basins were to be at 1:100000. This project is at about 90% complete with only a small number of drainage basins that flow into the Gulf of Carpentaria to be completed. The updated data, combined with older data in the Gulf (where we are still updating), have been combined to create state wide hydrographic datasets that are freely available as part of the Queensland Government’s commitment to Open Data. The updated data is attributed, flow–directed, segmented and based on the Geoscience Australia Topographic Data schema with the source of updates coming from the best and latest information available over an area.

One of the requirements of Queensland’s drainage network relates to the management of vegetation along watercourses; where vegetation can and can’t be cleared as part of the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (based on a 1:100000 drainage network). Much of Queensland’s old 1:100000 drainage data has been stream ordered using the Strahler stream ordering process. This process allocates a number “one” to the first headwater streams in a network, where two number “one” streams join the resultant stream is allocated a number “two”, where two number “two” joins the resultant stream is allocated a number “three” and so on until eventually the stream meets the sea. In Queensland under the Vegetation Management Act, the distance from a watercourse that vegetation can be cleared is dependent on the type of agriculture being undertaken, the region of the state and the stream order. For example, for fodder harvesting in Western Queensland, farmers cannot clear vegetation for 10 metres from a “one” to “two” ordered watercourse, 15 metres from a “three” to “four” ordered watercourse or 20 metres from a “five” and above ordered watercourse.

As part of the Blueline Project, all those drainage basins that flow into Lake Eyre and updated by Geoscience Australia have been stream ordered by the Queensland Government. This is for the entire network, starting in Queensland, through New South Wales and South Australia eventually to Lake Eyre. This data together with the older stream ordered datasets provides most of Queensland with a 1:100000 stream ordered network. Soon this older stream ordered data will be merged into the updated Blueline data to provide a single source for hydrographic data within Queensland. The updated statewide hydrographic data comprises three scales, 1:25000, 1:50000 and 1:100000. Using the stream ordered attribute, a statewide 1:100000 network will be able to be extracted from the multi–scale data to satisfy the requirements of the Vegetation Management Act.

FSDF Update

Shane Crossman, Geoscience Australia

Since the Locate14 conference, ANZLIC has released a new website including a revised page for the Foundation Spatial Data Framework (FSDF).

Figure 2. FSDF Themes.

The FSDF page provides information on the Ten Themes (Figure 2) and associated datasets that have been documented through the FSDF thematic working groups.

The next step is to implement the FSDF with sponsors and custodians by developing the three year roadmaps for all ten themes which is expected to be released in December 2014 through ANZLIC.

In June 2014, the Bureau of Meteorology was confirmed as sponsor of the water theme which involves leading and coordinating the implementation of the FSDF.

In August 2014, the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) Water Special Interest Group will occur to discuss issues relating to the technical requirements of the FSDF three year roadmap including: data quality, supply chain improvements and data delivery improvements.

For more information contact the Bureau via

This newsletter is 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.

Previous newsletters

  • Autumn 2014