Providing Fundamental Geographic Information


Australia has a vast and rich landscape. Geographic data provides the nation with a multifaceted view of Australia's landscape through time.

Geoscience data and information are a significant national resource with enduring value for the Australian community. Understanding and analysing when and where things are happening is essential for government, industry and researchers to make decisions and improve national economic, environmental and social outcomes for the nation.

Our Role

Provide reliable national fundamental information about the geographies of the nation.

Desired outcomes

  • Australia has an authoritative source of national fundamental geographic information including maps, data and global navigation information.
  • Australia has timely and accurate geospatial information to monitor changes to the natural and built environment through time.

Work Activities and Capability

Digital Earth Australia

Geoscience Australia, through its Digital Earth Australia program, provides environmental monitoring products and services to government and industry through the preparation and analysis of Earth observations from satellites and other remote sensing platforms. Geoscience Australia uses images and information recorded by satellites to detect physical changes across Australia in unprecedented detail and makes this available to governments and industry for easy use.

Geoscience Australia's work enables the processing, interrogation and presentation of Earth observation data in response to the government's priority information needs. It also supports Australia's developing digital economy by providing businesses with access to reliable, standardised satellite data that can be used to build new products and services for commercial purposes. This will generate new opportunities, particularly for small to medium sized enterprises where such data was previously out of reach.

National Location Information Framework

Australia's set of foundation spatial datasets underpin a diverse range of public safety, service delivery, policy making, law enforcement, environmental protection and economic investment decisions. Across all these sectors, informed decision making by government, business and the community depends upon access to accurate, reliable and relevant location information, that is easily accessible and able to link to other data.

Geoscience Australia, in collaboration with other government and private sector entities, will operate components of the Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure and lead the curation of, and connection of users to, Australia's national foundation spatial datasets, including datasets related to Australia's maritime and other administrative boundaries, place names and topography.


A national positioning infrastructure capability will provide Australians with access to highly accurate and reliable positioning information anytime and anywhere. An improved positioning capability will enhance a range of location services including, help farmers reduce costs and waste, enable the Royal Flying Doctor Service to land in more locations, make it easier to dock a ship in a busy port, and improve safety on construction and mining sites.

Geoscience Australia is responsible for maintaining Australia's geospatial reference system, contributing to the global geospatial reference system, and providing access to these systems through positioning and geodetic infrastructure, analysis and service delivery components.

In response to new Australian Government measures and funding, Geoscience Australia will work to make reliable positioning data accurate to 10 centimetres available throughout Australia's onshore and offshore jurisdiction. Areas with mobile coverage will have access to positioning data accurate to 3 centimetres.

This will involve testing how Australia could potentially benefit from investing in a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS). SBAS augments and corrects positioning signals transmitted to Australia by GPS, improving accuracy, availability and reliability. Additional work will focus on establishing a national ground station network, improving coordination across government and the private sector, and ensuring Australian industry has access to world-leading software tools for positioning.

Strategic Priorities and Performance Criteria

Geoscience Australia's work program is delivered through six key strategic priority areas. Each priority area outlines the role of the organisation, the desired outcomes to be achieved, and the core work activities and capabilities.

Geoscience Australia's performance will be assessed using a number of qualitative and quantitative measures to communicate a comprehensive view of performance that will be presented in the organisation's annual performance statement. Performance measures will include assessment against key work deliverables, key performance indicators and case studies.

Deliverables 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022
Digital Earth Australia        
Deliver projects in partnership with Australian government entities that improve their efficiency and/or effectiveness through the use of Earth observation data
Work with business to enable them to capitalise on Earth observation data, and create new capabilities to increase efficiency, productivity and employment opportunities.
National Location Information Framework        
Maintain Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure collection management, governance, discovery and delivery systems
Provide leadership and advice to develop and operate the Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure in line with the Australian Government's Spatial Data and Open Data Policy functions
Develop and deliver information products identified in the Foundation Spatial Data Framework to support Australian Government onshore and offshore programs
Complete satellite-based augmentation system Testbed Program including financial benefits analysis report      
Procurement satellite-based augmentation system follow on services      
Implement national positioning information capability Open Data Sharing policy      
Completion of the satellite-based augmentation system follow- on program and the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability program      
Key Performance Indicators 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022
Geoscience Australia's foundation spatial data products, including authoritative representations of Australia's maritime boundaries and topography, are updated and/or accessible through interactive mapping platforms 75% 80% 85% 90%
Geoscience Australia's spatial data products meet the requirements of relevant legislation and policy implementation 100% 100% 100% 100%
Delivery of Surface Reflectance product from initial receipt of satellite data < 90 days < 30 days < 14 days < 7 days