The Water Network

Newsletter for the ICSM Water Special Interest Group (WSIG) Summer 2015

Happy New Year! We hope you had an enjoyable, restful break and no doubt back into work like we are. The Water Special Interest Group has been delayed due to the governance of these working groups being discussed by the Permanent Committee on Topographic Information (PCTI) at the teleconference in November 2014. PCTI approved reforming of the Water Special Interest Group and it is hoped the next teleconference will be scheduled shortly. If you have any interesting articles or topics for the next newsletter please let us know at and we'd be happy to include them.

GA Update

Shane Crossman, National Water Information Team, Geoscience Australia

Over the last few months Geoscience Australia (GA) has finalised updates to the national network for releasing to the public in March 2015 through the GA maps web service. The revision of the 1 second drainage–enforced DEM, DEM streams and catchment boundaries is continuing with updates over Tasmania and North Western Plateau underway. GA plans to have revised all catchments by December 2016.

Work is continuing on the integration and maintenance of the national Surface Hydrology dataset. The North East Coast Drainage Division has been integrated with the updates supplied by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Queensland) into the national dataset. In South Australia, the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) and Geoscience Australia are finalising updates to streams and waterbodies. Updates to farm dams over NSW is due for completion in March 2015 which has been a collaboration between Geoscience Australia and NSW Land and Property Information (LPI).

Geofabric Update

Matthew Brooks, Geofabric Project Manager, Bureau of Meteorology

Beta testing of the Geofabric sample toolset V1.6.0 is nearing completion with public release planned for late February 2015. This sample toolset was developed as an example for use with ESRI ArcGIS for Desktop and data from the Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric (Geofabric). The V1.5.0 toolset with associated documentation provides a demonstration of how to perform common tasks of hydrologists centred on a workflow that involves the creation of catchments for a set of monitoring points, though any points of interest can be used.

V1.6.0 provides additional functionality to create sub-catchments, sub-catchment stream link networks, export stream links to the Unified River Basin Simulator (URBS) runoff-routing model, set preferred stream flow paths for complex divergent drainage networks, and the ability to bulk download water observations time series data from Water Data Online for selected monitoring points. The toolset is used widely within the Bureau and feedback received from both internal and external beta testers has been very positive to date.

Figure 1. Example outputs and functionality available with the Geofabric Sample toolset V1.6.0 for Bega River monitoring point stations

Version 3 Pilbara–Gascoyne and South East Coast Victoria Drainage Division Geofabric products are nearing completion for Beta test release. Version 3 products are based on improved mapped features and the 1 second Digital Elevation Model (DEM).

Geofabric processing of these first two Drainage Divisions shows that version 3.0 (v3) drainage division boundaries have remained fairly consistent with version 2.1.1 (v2) boundaries. River Region boundaries have changed a little more in v3, particularly around coastal area, with v3 data enabling improved boundary delineation informed by stakeholder feedback. These improvements were not possible to implement in v2 due to the resolution of the v2 AHGF Catchments which are based on the 9 second DEM.

As expected, greatly improved v3 AHGF Catchments have been created based on the 1 second DEM, providing improved catchment boundaries for users that better reflect the reality of regional catchment delineation. V3 also provides improved resolution and increased number of mapped features, including; rivers, lakes, reservoirs, canals and farm dams.

We encourage all stakeholders who are interested in version 3 products to get involved, even if these first initial Drainage Divisions are not in your area of interest, as this is an opportune time to provide feedback and influence the version 3.x Geofabric product suite. Similarly we are interested in receiving any feedback you have about the Geofabric, as all feedback informs the Bureau about current and potential stakeholder use and improvements that may be beneficial.

To participating in beta testing of version 3 data, or provide feedback about the Geofabric project, please contact the Geofabric team via

Victoria’s Hydro Program

David Blain and Darren McKinty (with thanks to Risk Frisina), Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are responsible for managing the Vicmap framework suite of products. Included in this is Vicmap Hydro which holds point, line and polygon datasets depicting water ground objects, both natural and manmade.

Originally captured from aerial imagery from 1975 to 1993 as part of the Accelerated 1:25,000 Mapping Program, the data has undergone periodic revision in content and completeness across the state of Victoria.

Vicmap Hydro was included in the establishment of the Vicmap suite of framework spatial datasets in the Victorian Geospatial Strategy 1997 — 2000.

The data and data model structure has been revised and upgraded through a number of projects and programs. Some examples are:

2005 — 2012ICSM NTICI state wide upgrade for water points. This resulted in a fourfold increase in the number of water points!

2007 — 2008NAPDEM upgrades and enforcement of hydro line network to match the Vicmap Elevation line work.

2007 — OngoingCountry Fire Authority brigade check maps to improve Vicmap to meet Spatial Vision's Vicmap Book publication schedule. An example is shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2. An example of CFA Brigade check map feedback.

2006 — 2012Under cross border agreements with New South Wales and South Australia jurisdictional data was incorporated into Vicmap Hydro 100km into NSW and 1 x 1:100k tile into SA as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Vicmap Hydro water poly and watercourse extent.

2010 — 2012BoM sponsored Geofabric upgrades. This included a pilot hydro hierarchy project based upon stream networks within water catchments.

2009 — 2012The Index of Stream Condition (ISC) is a baseline assessment of current river condition to evaluate conditions on the major rivers and tributaries in Victoria. This was managed by the Office of Water. State-wide Lidar capture was undertaken to provide a repeatable process that generated river heath metrics. (Figures 4 to 8).

Figure 4. Rivers Health measurements generated from Lidar imagery.

Figure 5. Digital Terrain Model derived from the Rivers Health Lidar.

Figure 6. Rivers Health Lidar point cloud with derived stream bed width shaded in blue.

Figure 7. Rivers Health stream bed cross sections every 25 metres.

Figure 8. Rivers Health Lidar point cloud with stream bed in blue.

Future Developments

VicMap logo

There are a number of drivers that are pushing the data of Vicmap Hydro. This includes emergency services requirements for water access points, custodial data programs sourcing asset information from water utilities and our own Coordinated Imagery Program providing increasing higher resolution imagery.

For instance state wide double sided streams generated by the ISC program could be incorporated into Vicmap Hydro watercourses.

The current Vicmap Hydro data model and 1:25,000 data depiction specifications may need to be revisited to meet current and future user requirements.

FSDF Water logo

Like all jurisdictions Victoria is facing mounting pressure to meet all user requirements with limited resourcing. These requirements include greater accuracy, continual verification and checking for new data and data redundancy and access to authoritative source data through custodianship agreements.

Victoria embraces the recent development of the FDSF Water theme concept as a way of providing a blueprint for future topographic data management principles.

FSDF Update

The Water Sponsor (Bureau of Meteorology) submitted a three–year road map to ANZLIC and was accepted at the November 2014 meeting on 6–7 November. The road map is published on the ANZLIC webpage along with other themes.

Additional information for FSDF roadmaps at: 
or the Water Theme at

This newsletter is compiled by Geoscience Australia with some articles received from contributors. Therefore Geoscience Australia cannot guarantee that the information is totally accurate or complete and you should not rely solely on this information when making a commercial decision.

Previous newsletters