The National Drought Map

The National Drought Map is a Central Analytics Hub (CAH) project which aims to help meaningful support reach drought affected farmers and communities. It also makes drought data easy to access by the public.

Bringing data together is difficult. Australia is a vast country and governments, the private and non-profit sectors are all generating a wealth of data about the drought. This complexity makes it difficult to bring data and information together and makes it harder to develop solutions to nationwide issues like the drought.

The solution needed a collaborative approach. CAH brokered a relationship between technical and policy partners to meet this need. We worked with Data61 (CSIRO) and the Joint Agency Drought Taskforce to create the National Drought Map using the TerriaJS open source platform.

The map helped to build a culture of data sharing and collaboration. We built the National Drought Map as a federated data sharing platform. The Drought Taskforce brought together 16 data custodians across Government. The federated model allows data custodians to maintain and host their own data, giving custodians full control over what is displayed.

The public now has easy access to key information about the drought. The National Drought Map brings together population data and information on drought and support services provided by the Australian Government into a powerful online interface. The Map allows users to overlay data and compare different geographical regions, examples include:

  • People-centred information including the uptake of government benefits
  • Services information including the location of the mobile drought service centres
  • Climatic information including rainfall and weather patterns over time

Users with unique data needs can also upload their own data sets for analysis alongside existing information.

Delivering drought assistance and services to the right people. The National Drought Map provides a clear picture of the drought’s impact and where best to deliver Government services to affected communities. It also assists local governments improve their communications to drought affected residents and for private companies to provide targeted banking services to communities.

The National Drought Map is available at map.drought.gov.au. It is based on the National Map, another useful tool for policy makers across the Australian Government.