Government launches geospatial data portal

‘theLink’ offers to datasets drawn from federal and state agencies

The government has launched an online portal that offers access to federal and state spatial datasets.

The new platform — theLINK (Location Information Knowledge) — is part of the Foundation Spatial Data Framework program.

The government’s assistant minister for cities and digital transformation, Angus Taylor, announced the public launch of the platform yesterday.

Datasets are grouped in 10 themes: Administrative boundaries, elevation and depth, geocoded addressing, imagery, landcover and land use, land parcel and property, place names, positioning, transport, and water.

The site will allow users to access datasets as well as a range of related governance and history information.

“Linking information to location is fundamental to making informed decisions,” Taylor said in a statement.

“Government entities hold a significant amount of location information which is a strategic national resource. Accurate location information is a key influencer of productivity, and will pave the way for new and innovative applications that increase efficiencies.”

Data held by the federal government was deemed a “strategic national resource” under government policy released in 2015. In December 2015 the government released the Public Data Policy Statement to coincide with the launch of its $1.1b innovation agenda.

Under the policy, government has committed to an approach of open by default for non-sensitive data sets and to collaborating with researchers and the private sector to expand the use of government-collected data.

In February last year the government made the Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF) and Administrative Boundaries datasets freely available through its open data portal, data.gov.au.

The government’s open data agenda suffered a blow after data released by the Department of Health on data.gov.au was improperly de-identified.

The government has since sought to introduce a controversial law banning re-identification of data released as part of its open data push.

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