If data is described as ‘open’, it means anyone can access, use or share it. All Australian Government agencies are encouraged to make their data available (using an appropriate open license) on the data.gov.au website. Since 2013, over 7000 additional data sets have been published on data.gov.au.
Government action since 2013
- An Open Data Toolkit has been created. This gives data custodians and users a central source of information on how to publish data.
- The Open Data 500 Australia survey has taken place. This helps us understand how Australian organisations are using public sector data. It also provides a basis for assessing the social and economic value of open government datasets.
- The DataStart private-public partnership provides Australian tech start-ups new opportunities to use open government data in innovative ways. The winner of DataStart, cohortIQ, was announced in January 2016.
- The Public Sector Data Management Report was released in December 2015. The report focussed on Australian Public Service practices and identified the current status and strategies for improving the use of and access to non-sensitive data.
- The Australian Government released its Public Data Policy Statement in December 2015. This statement formalises the Government’s commitment to open data and data-driven innovation.
- Progress has been made to deliver on ANZLIC’s Foundation Spatial Data Framework. In December 2015, it was announced that Geo-coded National Address file (G-NAF) and Administrative Boundaries datasets would be openly available, and the data was published on data.gov.au in February 2016.
Promoting the use of public data
Landsat satellite data
Geoscience Australia and the Australian National University are using valuable Landsat satellite data for detailed mapping and analysis of Australia’s land and water. With the Landsat images, Geoscience Australia has made maps of Australia’s surface water patterns. This provides unique information for flood risk assessment and ecosystem management. Image analysis can now be done within hours or days rather than months or years. The next phase is to apply this rich data to many more government and commercial problems, giving them real evidence for their decision-making.
The National Map
The National Map is designed to make better use of public data. The National Map is an open resource. The public can use it to visualise geospatial data. This provides valuable insights and better understanding of datasets for creating new applications and new business entities. The National Map was developed by Australia’s Information and Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence (NICTA), in collaboration with the Department of Communications, Geoscience Australia, and other agencies.