Auscope, a $43m project to share geosciences and geospatial information, is now underway after being launched by science minister Kim Carr late last month.
The aim is to collect, organise and provide ready access to information about the structure and evolution of the Australian continent.
AuScope is a not-for-profit organisation, made up of ten universities, the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation, Geoscience Australia as well as state and territory geological survey organisations.
In addition to federal funding, over $70m in co-investment has been committed by the participants.
Geologists, geographers, hydrologists, environmental scientists, archaeologists as well as those employed in the minerals, energy, agriculture and construction sectors are all expected to benefit.
Geospatial research will be one of two key areas of research for the project, with the other being climate change.
“We know there’ll be a lot of activity in this field in the next five years, including the anticipated launch of over one hundred global navigation satellite system satellites,” he said.
“That activity will generate a new demand for the sort of data AuScope can generate, particularly in the disciplines of geodesy and precise positioning.”
Carr said it is hoped that making the new data, information and knowledge available outside the research community will result in new and improved science, business, educational and policy applications.
“This major project combines cutting-edge technology with specialist knowledge and research capabilities from our best institutions. It will put Australia at the forefront of international earth science and geospatial research,” he said.