Australian government visualises geospatial data on National Map

Australian government visualises geospatial data on National Map

Summary: The Australian government has launched a single platform containing a number of the data sets released by the government, including broadband availability and quality.


People will be able to access Australian mapping data from the one platform, with the government today launching the National Map Open Data Initiative.

(Image: Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

A collaborative effort between the Department of Communications, National ICT Australia (NICTA) and Geoscience Australia, the National Map project combines a visual map of Australia with the data sets released by the government under the open data policy, including Australian Bureau of Statistics data, Bureau of Meteorology data, and data sets from

Users can view data sets over the top of the map by selecting from a drop box on the side of the map.

The government has also included the data gathered from the Department of Communications' broadband quality and availability study, whcih was used in developing the MyBroadband website that will feed into NBN Co's revised rollout targeting areas that are said to have poor broadband availability today.

The National Map tool will be one part of the GovHack 2014 competition this week that will open up government datasets to developers to create apps and data visualisations.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that since the election there had been a "seven-fold" increase in datasets available on since the election, up to 3,500.

The New Zealand government has said its open data initiatives will change the way its measures goals and will change the budget process for the government.

It comes as a site dedicated to the National Broadband Network rollout has this week developed its own unofficial heatmaps for the potential speeds users in fibre-to-the-node trial sites will experience. Relying on publicly released information about the speeds available on VDSL technology over copper lines based on their distance from the node, MyNBN has estimated that the average download speeds for users across the eight locations will be between 36Mbps and 47Mbps.

The site determined the location of the nodes by trawling through Google Street View and determining where the existing Telstra pillars for the copper lines are located, and based NBN Co's potential nodes from those locations.

NBN Co has so far not released any indicative information on the types of speeds customers will receive on the fibre to the node network, except for one line test in Umina of 105Mbps down, and 45Mbps up on a copper line of 100 metres long.

Topics: Government, Government AU, NBN, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Very misleading

    It doesn't matter how many sites you launch and how much data you're supposedly making available if that data is inaccurate, misleading or outright false. We've already seen tremendous evidence against the the accuracy of the MyBroadband data. Launching further platforms on top of this false data is merely an attempt at distraction and erroneous placating of dissent by saying 'look how transparent we're being' when they are doing precisely the opposite.

    The reality is Australia from the states to the federal government under the Coalition is in the throes of kleptocracy - look at all the privatisation pushes and ask yourself why they are trying to sell off profitable assets for a fraction of their value, or wrecking projects that would have been profitable like the NBN prior to a firesale...
    • You've entirely missed the point of this

      This is an interactive mapping project; the myBroadband data is but one of a number of mapping layers available and a hell of a lot easier than the alternative which is to download the individual 1:250000 shape files for each standard map across Australia and combine them in a GIS.

      It is not a commentary on the MyBroadband dataset which you are free to take or leave.

      The topographic layers from the 1:250000 mapping is accurate to that scale.

      You can even add your own data (or anyone else's) provided you can serve it up in either in the OpenGIS WMS (Web Map Service) or WFS (web feature service) format.
      • Sure, it's a lovely map

        Sure, it's a lovely map, and I'msure as a map it is useful, just as iI'm sure numerous data sets are accurate and useful. But don't pretend the Government aren't using it as a political platform to lend credibility to their transparency and infrastructure mantras and they're not doing their utmost to associate it with the 'official' broadband availability statistics, the same statistics that let Turnbull off the hook for promising comprehensive and accurate data about *real* broadband availability after he got into office, but which turned out to be a cardboard cutout of a distraction most of the country has swallowed wholesale.

        So yes, it's unfair that this project which is mostly unrelated to broadband should be diminished to some sort of publishing platform for LNP ideology masquerading as statistics, but that's what happens when you let a politician attach his agenda to your coattails - the propaganda takes front and centre stage and any technical brilliance that may have existed fades into the background under the weight of scrutiny and vitriolic debate focused so strongly on the parasitic pet project of the minister.
        • Again you miss the point of this

          Interoperability has been a goal of the GIS community for the past 15 years or so, and the OpenGIS initiative was formed in response to this by international GIS users.

          Australia has been slow to implement services using the WMS/WFS protocols; the New South Wales government being a notable exception.

          This exercise by the national government is simply catch up to get to a position it should have been in at least 10 years ago.

          As I said you are quite free to take or leave any particular data set.
  • 105Mbps down...

    That was the sync speed, they actually didn't download any data.

    I can push my sync speed from 9Mb up to 16Mb, as long as I don't need any data to pass across the line.