Indigenous Australian Population Geometries: Tailoring Geospatial Data Structures for Enhanced Community Service Delivery

Mr Darren Clinch1, Dr James Rose1

1Indigenous Data Network, University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Data structures used by Australian federal government agencies for spatialising Indigenous geographic population distributions omit critical features necessary for effective service delivery. Currently, the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) incorporates a so-called ‘Indigenous Structure’ derived from generic administrative geometries used for statistical purposes in wider population censuses. In this paper we present recent work on the development of an enhanced geometry, derived from linked geographic data and data structures, including Aboriginal community-controlled service providers, land councils, native title claims, language distribution maps, and other pertinent data assets. The objective of developing an enhanced Indigenous population geometry is to provide a maximally useful standard for the coordination and delivery of essential services into Indigenous communities.

This work forms part of the core activity of the Indigenous Data Network (IDN) at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. Staffed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous experts in data science, geoscience, software engineering, population health, epidemiology and social and medical anthropology, the IDN is working to develop and implement best-practice national standards for Indigenous governance of Indigenous data.


Darren Clinch is Data Analytics Coordinator with the Indigenous Data Network at the University of Melbourne. He specialises in data science, Indigenous population health and geospital information systems, with several decades related professional experience, including with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services’ Centre for Victorian Data Linkage among other organisations.

James Rose is Senior Research Fellow with the Indigenous Data Network at the University of Melbourne. He specialises in Indigenous population health, database design and development, and geospatial population modelling, with several decades related professional experience, including in forensic social anthropology, land rights, and cultural heritage protection.

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