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Aussie Govt makes sought after datasets available for free

By Catherine Knowles, Thu 28 Apr 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Australian Government has made spatial data free via a dedicated website under one of the commitments made in the National Innovation and Science Agenda announced on December 7 last year.

The Geo-coded National Address File (G-NAF) and Administrative Boundaries datasets are now available at no cost to end users from a wide range of Australian industries.

Announcing their availability, Helen Owens, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet principal adviser for public data, says, “The G-NAF is Australia’s authoritative, geocoded address file and as such it is one of the most requested ubiquitous, high-value datasets that can be made openly available to the economy.”

She added, “The Administrative Boundaries dataset is Australia’s most comprehensive national collection of boundaries including government, statistical and electoral boundaries.”

Angus Taylor, assistant minister to the Prime Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, says, “With the release of the G-NAF, Australia becomes one of only a few countries in the world to make national geocoded address data openly available.”

He says, “Denmark made its geocoded address data open in 2002 and access to this data has been estimated to have added 62 million Euros to the Danish economy in the five years from 2005-2009. So the opportunities this represents to Australia’s economy are significant.”

The value of the datasets can be gauged from one of the comments left on the government web page announcing the move, according to the Government.

“We have been waiting for this data to power some first-of-its-kind routing technology our company has been building,” the commentator said. “Before this release, we've had to compile and create datasets and maps from various partially-unreliable and incomplete data sources, do extensive cross-referencing and validation and manually correct gaps and errors.”

The datasets are produced by PSMA Australia Limited (PSMA), an unlisted public company formed by the nine governments of Australia to collate and standardise, format and aggregate location data from each of the jurisdictions into authoritative location based national datasets.

According to Spatial Source, “G-NAF is a complex database consisting of more than 30 tables of data and 13.5+million principal addresses. It is built from addresses supplied by ten contributors including the land agencies in each state and territory of Australia.

"It also consists of the official land administration boundaries, which includes six themes: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) boundaries, electoral boundaries, state and territory boundaries, local government areas, suburbs/localities, and town points.”

The G-NAF is provided as a Pipe Separated Value (PSV) file and the Administrative Boundaries dataset is provided as an ESRI Shapefile and MapInfo TAB format. Updated versions of the datasets will be published quarterly.

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