Geoscience Australia’s maps move to digital

4 October 2019

Geoscience Australia is committed to providing fast and easy access to our mapping services for the community.

Due to falling demand, our large scale topographic maps (1:50 000, 1:100 000, 1:250 000 and over 1:500 000) will be solely available online from 13 December 2019. These maps are used for high-level planning, rather than on-the-ground activities such as hiking and navigating around town.

Geoscience Australia’s Acting Chief of the Environmental Geoscience Division, Dr Martine Woolf, said even though this feels like a new change for people, Geoscience Australia has provided maps online for over 10 years.

“Over a number of years, we’ve seen a rapid decline in demand for hardcopy maps and we can no longer sustain the storage, maintenance and delivery costs of our paper map services,” Dr Woolf said.

“We understand people really value hard copy maps – we also love maps here at Geoscience Australia, and we’re committed to providing the best information available.

“There are a number of commercial and state-run services that can provide printed topographic information across the same scale as the maps we previously provided in hard copy.

“There are a lot of advantages to digital maps, including better access to up-to-date and reliant topographic information.

“We believe the future of topographic maps is in providing accurate and freely available information for anyone, anywhere to create their own maps – for example, our maps are covered by Creative Commons and can be recreated by commercial businesses with the attribution to Geoscience Australia.

“If people need a printed hardcopy map at short notice, they can also download our maps and take them to a local provider to print at the size and quality to suit their needs.”

Geoscience Australia encourages members of the public to check out our new digital maps website ‘Geoscience Australia Interactive Topographic Map Index’ with all maps now indexed in a single place for free download.

Update: As of December 2019, many map retailers have ordered our paper topographic maps to meet the needs of their map-users – if you would like to purchase a printed map please check your local map retailer. Digital topographic maps are also available to download from our website at no cost. These can be viewed onscreen or printed through your local or online print provider, more information can be found on our Topographic Maps page. Geoscience Australia is reviewing how we provide topographic information and will give updates via our website and map retailers on how to access our topographic maps in future.