Planting SEEDS to Maximise Data Potential

Margie Smith1, Heather Riley1

1Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia,


Geoscience Australia is Australia’s pre-eminent public sector geoscience organisation and the nation’s trusted advisor on geoscience and spatial data.  A key objective for Geoscience Australia is to transform this data into information and knowledge in order to address important national issues, and deliver a broad range of products that assist Government and the community to make informed decisions about the use of natural resources, management of the environment, and community safety.

In order to maintain its reputation as the custodian of geoscientific and spatial data and knowledge, Geoscience Australia must strive to maximise data’s potential. ‘Maximising Data Potential’ is one of the four pillars of the OneGA vision. To achieve this pillar, Geoscience Australia has recently developed and endorsed an enterprise Data Strategy.

The Geoscience Australia Data Strategy was developed through a rigourous consultation process in order to analyse the current state of data at the organisation, and understand the future directions the organisation needs to take to achieve its vision.

From these consultations and analysis it became clear that Geoscience Australia holds a wealth of data and information, but to truly maximise data potential, strong foundations for data and its management need to be laid. The vision for data at Geoscience is for data to be:

  • Accessible
    • Data is open and can be easily retrieved when required
  • Discoverable
    • Data can be found easily and when required
  • Reusable
    • Data can be used again and again, in ways beyond its original intention
  • Managed throughout its lifecycle
    • Data is not managed at a ‘point in time’ during the scientific process; it is part of the scientific process
    • Data is managed to ensure ongoing value can be derived
  • Trusted and quality is well described
    • The strengths and limitations of the data are transparent to users
    • Users have confidence in the data and information Geoscience Australia provides

For Geoscience Australia to successfully maximise data potential, a number of objectives will need to be achieved. These objectives can be referred to as SEEDS

The SEEDS are:

  • Streamline data processes, systems and tools
  • Embed best practice data management
  • Encourage and reward data management
  • Develop data capabilities
  • Strengthen and embed data governance

For a seed to grow and flourish, the right conditions need to be provided. The Geoscience Australia Data Strategy is planting seeds for changes, and providing conditions under which data at Geoscience Australia can grow and flourish so it’s potential can be maximised.

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