The Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure (ASDI) is a national framework for linking users with providers of spatial information and is similar in concept to a national highway or railway network. The ASDI comprises the people, policies and technologies necessary to enable the use of spatially referenced data through all levels of government, the private sector, non-profit organisations and academia.

Some elements of the ASDI are already developed, including policies, guidelines, the Australian Spatial Data Directory (ASDD), national data models such as ICSM’s Harmonised Data Model, metadata records and institutional arrangements. Since its inception in the 1990’s the spatial environment has changed significantly. On-line systems (eg Google Earth) bring a form of the SDI to everyone, autonomous devices that know, think and communicate (sensor networks) are becoming available and progressive institutions (eg OGC) are being established. Web services are improving the ability of applications to access the SDI. The concept of Virtual Australia has emerged and been adopted as a key initiative by the CRC-SI together with projects to support the development of the Australia New Zealand Spatial Market Place (ANZSM).

The Australian Spatial Data Directory (ASDD) has now been replaced by FIND the Australian Government’s spatial data catalogue and in conjunction with provides access to a network of open government data. FIND allows you to search and download a wide range of spatially-referenced datasets created by both the Australian and State and Territory Governments.

2008 ICSM Review of the ASDI

ANZLIC - the Spatial Information Council (ANZLIC) has stated that it believes that there is need for an ‘infrastructure’ that achieves the outcome of improving discovery of, access to and use of spatial information and services. The challenge is to bring all spatial data and services under a similar approach.

In line with this, in 2007 ICSM engaged Geomatic Technologies to review the current status of the ASDI and to make recommendations for appropriate actions to ensure the continued vigour of the ASDI. In January 2008 they released a Comprehensive Report. In June 2008 this report and a subsequent ICSM Review Report was then endorsed by ICSM and its ASDI Working Group. Both reports were then submitted to ANZLIC for their consideration and they are now able to be released for general comment.

These ICSM Reports can now be accessed:

Prior to this, in August 2006 ICSM sponsored a focus group meeting with representatives from academia and industry. This meeting developed a vision for the ASDI based on the concept of Spatially Enabling Australia. This sees the spatial dimension playing a ubiquitous role in a digital world that is ‘Virtual Australia’. It was also recognised that in many cases users do not know, or care, that there is a spatial dimension; they will just have their question answered or service provided.

The ASDD and ASDI have been replaced by the Find website.