The challenge

Making geo-spatial data available for everyone

The Pacific is home to a multitude of unique countries and territories, with a combined population of 2.3 million people calling hundreds of islands scattered across 15 per cent of the earth's surface, home.

The opportunities geospatial data and it's utilisation present are vast and hugely beneficial to the area, however, this methodology has not been previously been employed in the region.

Geospatial data is data about objects, events or phenomena that have a location on the surface of the earth. The location may be static, in the short term (e.g. the location of a road, an earthquake event, children living in poverty), or dynamic (e.g. a moving vehicle or pedestrian, the spread of an infectious disease).

Geospatial data combines location information (usually coordinates on the earth), attribute information (the characteristics of the object, event or phenomena occurred), and often also temporal information (the time or life span at which the location and attributes exist).

Much geospatial data is of general interest to a wide range of users. For example, roads, localities, water bodies and public amenities are useful as reference information for a number of purposes.

Our response

PacificMap

Developed by CSIRO's Data61 in collaboration with the Pacific Data Hub (PDH) and the Pacific Community Secretariat (SPC), The Pacific Data Hub is the central repository of open data and knowledge on the Pacific region.

Figure 1: Data on marine pollution in the Pacific visualised through PacficMap.

Figure 1: Data on marine pollution in the Pacific visualised through PacficMap.

It centralises a range of complex datasets, presenting their insights in a sophisticated and easily accessible online platform that incorporates population, fisheries, geoscience, agriculture, aquaculture, energy, education, human rights, climate change and oceans statistics.

PacificMap has been intentionally designed to democratise the use of geospatial data in the Pacific, ensuring individuals, small and medium enterprises and local, regional or country Governments equipped with a smart device or computer can view accurate, comprehensive and multiple versions of spatial information when required.

The results

Easy access to data for decision making in the Pacific region

PacificMap is facilitating the opening of data by federal, state and local government bodies, by leveraging existing services to provide an open framework of geospatial data services that supports commercial and community innovation. People can now interact with social datasets in a web browser without any specialised software, licences or training.

A region-mapping standard for pacific geospatial data in .csv format has been developed (similar to the csv-geo-Au developed for NationalMap) to make the publication and access to geospatial data easier in the context of pacific countries (which have multiple and varied regions).

Over 1500 administrative boundaries have been compiled from across the Pacific region into cohesive layers that can now be used by PacificMap users.

The development of PacificMap is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the ANU through the Data for Development initiative, and works on a range of predictive analytics, data governance, data capacity and skills development. Pacific women in technology, policy research and others.

Further developments will include the SPC Data Hub having a web-based map, integrated with their data catalogue, which will potentially improve the access to data from 22 countries.

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