The Elevation, Depth and Imagery Working Group (EDIWG) is a working group of the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) that provides a standing panel of experts on high resolution earth observation data drawn from Australia and New Zealand government departments.

The scope of the EDIWG is as defined by the following earth observation within the Foundation Spatial Dataset Framework (FSDF):

  • Elevation and depth including coastline
  • Very high-resolution imagery from all platforms

The group has two specialist sub-groups who coordinate on:

  • Historic aerial imagery
  • 3D datasets derived from imagery and elevation


In August 2019, the former Permanent Committee of Topographic Information (PCTI) was rescoped to map against the FSDF themes of elevation, depth and imagery, with other specialist working groups taking leadership for transport, water, and other topographic information.

Structure and Operation

The EDIWG meets quarterly (virtually), with one face-to-face meeting planned annually.

The EDIWG comprises senior representatives of surveying and mapping agencies from all Australian states and jurisdictions, New Zealand, the Australian Defence Force, and the Commonwealth represented by Geoscience Australia. Members are nominated by their jurisdiction or organisation's representative on ICSM.


The purpose of the EDIWG is to provide an inter-jurisdictional forum to:

  • Develop, maintain, and promote nationally consistent standards, policies and best practice guidelines that help ensure consistency in the capture, maintenance, management, dissemination of EDIWG data themes between all levels of government, industry and the end user;
  • Implement activities that progress EDIWG focus areas identified in the EDIWG four-year Strategic Plan (which incorporates Elevation and Depth 2030) and/or as endorsed by the ICSM Executive Board;
  • Enhance collaboration between government, research and industry;
  • Identify future initiatives and gaps in standards for earth observation and derivative products;
  • Represent and work with other committees and working groups as required to enhance collaboration and information sharing between ICSM committees;
  • Identify future initiatives and standards and collaborate on outcomes (i.e. machine learning and change detection).

Elevation and Depth 2030

Elevation and depth information is critical to public safety, climate change studies and industry automation, and yet it is one of the most underutilised government data assets. The size, cost and complexity of elevation and depth data makes it difficult to acquire, curate, process and interpret, and as a consequence, it is largely used only by expert data analysts.

Being able to visualise our environment as a 3-dimensional model is one of the most significant ways we can help people make sense of their location. It is time to shift our attention to promoting and coordinating investment in the innovative use of elevation and depth data.

To make a difference to our future, we must fundamentally change the way elevation and depth data is managed, and consider new ways to collect, curate, and enable access and use for all Australians.

The Elevation and Depth 2030 strategy is about taking positive steps to achieve consistent nationwide digital elevation and depth models that people can interrogate with other information to make good decisions for the betterment of our community.
ANZLIC will use this strategy to transition the Elevation and Depth theme in the ANZ Foundation Spatial Data Framework (FSDF) to become a more valuable asset.

Download the Elevation and Depth 2030 Strategy.

Download the EDIWG Imagery Statement of Direction


Dramatic developments in the availability, integration, and capabilites for elevation, depth, and imagery technologies have resulted in these datasets being used in more ways than ever before to inform, analyse and visualise our world.

However, inconsistent and diverse product specifications, and variable data quality makes it difficult to integrate datasets across multiple epochs of time, to address issues that have regional, state or national scope, or to apply emerging methods such as GeoAl or machine learning.

To optimise investments and the ensure the usability and re-usability of both existing and future data collections, national base specifications that define a consistent set of minimum products are needed to ensure compatibility across projects and States.

The intent of the ICSM specifications and tender templates listed below is to improve on the quality, consistency, untility and compatibility of data being captured by government and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products increasingly being offered by the private sector. Moreover, the specifications and tender template provide opportunities for greater collaborative investment across all levels of government, and capacity to reduce tender and compliance costs for investors and providers.

Use of these specifications will also ensure primary data and derived products can be easily integrated and ingested into the Elevation Information System (ELVIS) and other collaborative platforms, providing increased discoverability and access to the broader user community.

Specifications are drawn from experience across all levels of Australian government, consultation with data providers, and international authorities and stakeholders. They provide a minimum base specification and are not intended to limit development of more specialised products. Nor are they intended to limit development of more specialised products. Nor are they intended to inhibit industry development and innovation. We therefore encourage interested users, investors, researchers, and suppliers to contribute to ongoing development.

Digital Elevation Data Guidelines and Specifications

Status: Under review

In November 2010 ICSM released the LiDAR Acquisition Specifications and Tender Template, Version 1.0. This is available in two formats:

In September 2011 ICSM released the New Zealand LiDAR Acquisition Specifications and Tender Template Version 1.0. Also available in both MS Word and PDF formats:

This specification builds on the previously released Guidelines for Digital Elevation Data, Version 1.0 (401KB). The Guidelines represent a first cut in the preparation of ‘best practice’ guidelines for Australia using common technologies. The Guidelines for Digital Elevation Data will be revised in the future to include the advances in understanding specifically relating to LiDAR included in the LiDAR Acquisition Specifications and Tender Template.

These guidelines are considered a living document. If you have any questions or comments on the guidelines please email the ICSM Executive Officer at icsm@ga.gov.au.

3D DRAFT Data Guidelines and Specifications

Status: Pending

Discover more

Discover and Download Available Elevation and Depth Data – elevation.fsdf.org.au

More information at Elevation and Depth Data