Platforms for Open Data Projects

As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), Data61 is working with Australian government agencies on R&D projects that aim to increase the number and availability of high-value datasets between government agencies, and to the public. The projects under the Platforms for Open Data program will:

  • facilitate more use of public data by providing better search and discovery
  • make more high-value datasets available ensuring a high level of privacy protection, and
  • lead the use of public data by performing advanced analytics on data.

These projects use an iterative approach to develop new technologies based on the needs of the partner agency, ensuring that the technologies are applicable across multiple agencies. The end goal is to use these technologies to make more high-value government data available to more people while preserving privacy.

Opportunities to participate in future R&D data projects are managed via the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet .

Making more open data accessible

Making Australian Government Data Available

Partner agency: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Data61 is expanding the existing and NationalMap infrastructure to maximise the discoverability and reuse of high-value open data in government, industry and the community sectors by streamlining publishing, improving data quality and enabling better search and discovery.

In March 2017, we released the first version of our new approach to making more government data discoverable. The new architecture and interface makes searching easier and faster by moving from a data catalogue approach to a data search engine approach, and giving users the option to limit their search results by publisher, location, date-range and file format. Try the new search engine here or read about the new approach at the blog .

Open Data Tiger Teams

Data61 Open Data Tiger Teams will work with government agencies to assist them in making their high-value datasets available from open data platforms such as  (while preserving privacy) and, where applicable, accessible from the NationalMap .

To improve the quality of public datasets available through , the Tiger Teams will help agencies use best practice standards, formats and workflows to produce best-in-class machine readable datasets, and develop methods for accessing, analysing and displaying these datasets. These workflows and artefacts, discoverable through , will share the knowledge openly with others and drive interest in datasets, building a portfolio of exemplar projects and approaches.

Making sensitive data more accessible while preserving privacy

Secure API access for the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project

Partner agency: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Data61 is developing prototype software that will allow public data platforms to interactively access aggregated data which is confidentialised on-the-fly from unit record datasets. The prototype API is being developed initially to provide secure access to the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP) dataset.

The MADIP dataset is being developed in a partnership between the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Department of Human Services, Department of Social Services, Department of Health, Department of Education and Training, and the Australian Taxation Office. The MADIP project creates an enduring, linked, research dataset to help government agencies and researchers respond to nationally important policy and service delivery questions.

The Secure API Access for the MADIP project aims to demonstrate how customised queries can be produced from public datasets using standard systems while maintaining privacy. The prototype API will enable data to be made more openly available to policy makers, academics and researchers, and reinforce the 'open by default' principle of access to data.

Open Data Access Infrastructure

Partner agency: Department of Social Services

Data61 is developing prototype software and a user interface for data researchers to access large sets of de-identified government data at the unit record level and to access longitudinal survey data. The project will optimise the value of the Department of Social Services’ Priority Investment Approach data by enabling auditable data extraction and delivery into a secure environment for policy and research purposes by authorised users. 

Significantly improving our understanding of Australian firms

Partner agency: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Data61 is working on new technologies to improve the accessibility of the Business Longitudinal Analytical Data Environment (BLADE), and thereby provide data to better understand economic activity in Australia, building up from firm-level data. The project will perform research and technology development to enable mediated access to researchers and prevent spontaneous recognition of entities within the data.

Synthetic Social Security Payments Dataset

Partner agency: Department of Social Services

Data61 is developing algorithms that enable the safe release of a synthetic representation of a dataset covering 15 years of social security and family payments. This synthetic dataset could be made openly available, as it removes the connection between real individuals and their data, alleviating confidentiality risks while retaining the overall characteristics of the original dataset.

Regulation as Data

Regulation as a platform – business tools to reduce cost burdens

Partner agency: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

This proof-of-concept project aims to demonstrate how an open database of business regulation can operate as a digital platform to support advanced regulatory and compliance tools. The platform will provide a computable version of Australian regulation encoded in a logic format that the software industry can leverage via open APIs. An open platform that can be maintained by government is intended to support an open market ecosystem for the development of business tools and enable the use of analytics and advanced computation to guide reform and improve whole of regulatory system design capability. Find out more about our work on Regulation as a Platform.

Getting value from Spatial Data


Partner agency: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet 

The NationalMap is a technology for map-based access to spacial data from Australian government agencies. NationalMap provides easy access to spatial data and provides an open framework of geospatial data services that supports commercial and community innovation. Find out more about our work on the NationalMap.

Extending the NationalMap platform to leverage the Australian Geoscience Data Cube

Partner agency: GeoScience Australia (with Department of Environment, National Computational Infrastructure, and CSIRO Land & Water)

This project will provide current and historical satellite imagery of the Australian continent via the Australian Geoscience Data Cube (AGDC) and NationalMap . The NationalMap platform will be extended so that it can access data from the AGDC to view 30 years of remote sensed imagery from the entire continent. Agencies such as the Department of the Environment have expressed a requirement to have a direct visual comparison through time of any location of interest such as a paddock, lake, or city. The project will provide an open API to provide easy access to visualise data from the AGDC.

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