Today we celebrate Open Data Day by highlighting uses of open data shared by government and research organisations.  Many Australian government agencies make high-value datasets open via Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, provides access to data, maps and images via their Data Access Portal.  

Using open, existing data can save time and effort.  Open data repositories and digital platforms such as All-Sky Virtual Observatory (ASVO), Atlas of Living Australia, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center and Global Rock Art Database enable researchers, industry and the general public to use, test, analyse and visualise existing data.   

Existing data can also complement your own data collection and provide rich enhancements including demographic, temporal or geospatial layers.  Griffith University researchers use open government data to examine complex issues, explore history, create new knowledge, and find solutions which can be translated into practical applications. Natura Pacific & Griffith University used vegetation data from to develop the GroNATIVE App for South East Queenslanders’ to select the best native plants for their gardens, and restore native vegetation. In a tremendous research and volunteer effort, 150 years of Australian criminal trial records, sourced from Supreme Courts, Police Gazettes and Convict Registers around Australia are now available online via Griffith Criminology Institute’s Prosecutions Project.   

Dr Chris Brown and his team of scientists from the Global Wetlands Project “couldn’t survive” without open data to develop seascape models for research into marine and estuarine ecosystems. The team has developed the Mangrove Carbon Web App to help the public interpret and use data on mangrove carbon sequestration.  They also share their emissions model code via GitHub . Listen to Chris’s discussion on open data, models and tools here. 

Trying to locate open data for your research?  Check out our Library guide on Research data and get specialist advice here.