Expanding the knowledge base of WA’s marine environment by improving the Environmental Impact Assessment process and leveraging Australia’s eResearch infrastructure investment.

Mr Gordon Motherwell2, Mr Chris  Gentle3,4, Mr Peter Brenton5, Mr Luke Edwards1,3

1Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, Perth, Australia
2Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Perth, Australia
3Western Australian Marine Science Institution, Perth, Australia
4Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute, Perth, Australia
5Atlas of Living Australia, Canberra, Australia

Until recently, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) practice was to use environmental information submitted with a proposal for the purpose of that proposal’s assessment only. The actual data was not submitted. As part of Digital Environmental Impact Assessment effort, centralising the collection and access to this data gathered and used for regulatory processes will reduce future approval and project delays and reduce effort, uncertainty and risk.

The Index of Marine Surveys for Assessments (IMSA) is a Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (the department) project, implemented in partnership with the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI). IMSA is the first platform of its kind to deliver systematic capture and sharing of marine data taken as part of an EIA. With an estimated $50 million spent annually undertaking marine surveys for EIAs in WA, IMSA was developed to centralise this data and make it publicly available. IMSA provides access to marine surveyed reports, metadata and map layers through the department’s BioCollect online portal (provided by Atlas of Living Australia), as well as processed data products and raw data packages (hosted at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre).

This talk will showcase “eResearch in Action” by describing how Government and private industry can work together to bring many benefits to the community.  IMSA was able to be implemented quickly by re-using existing NCRIS supported eResearch infrastructure and will enable future opportunities to better understand and manage the marine environment.


Luke undertakes various outreach, engagement, support and training activities to drive uptake of Pawsey services.  He also currently works as the Data Manager for WAMSI (Western Australian Marine Science Institution) and Facility Manager for ASDAF (Australian Space Data Analysis Facility).


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