AustNZ Australian historical imagery

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Australian Historical Imagery - National Library of Australia


This is an initiative of the Australia/New Zealand chapter of the Open Source GeoSpatial Foundation.

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A Rich Archive Historical Imagery dating back to 1928

Dr Martin Woods, Curator of Maps at the National Library of Australia has highlighted the existence of a rich archive of historical imagery dating back 70 years to 1928.

This imagery covers large parts of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Antarctica, and are currently held by the National Archives, Geoscience Australia, UPGS, National Library of Australia and several other agencies.

Much of this imagery has been used to produce historical mapping.

It is currently in hardcopy formats.

A report describing the holdings may be found here.

Potential for rich digital data sets to support spatial analysis

This data is invaluable for current and future spatial analysis that requires a multi-temporal understanding of our environment.

Ideally, for maximum ongoing benefit to be derived from this data from now into the future, the imagery would need to be:

  • scanned at an appropriate high resolution;
  • orthorectified;
  • stored in an open format;
  • made available via a Creative Commons license; and
  • made available free of charge.

An example of how this type of data is being handled internationally (National Library of Scotland) has been provided by Dr Martin Woods.

Business Case will be needed

A Business Case will be needed if the rich potential of this data is to be realised.

Let's try using a collaborative approach to try and help build up the arguments to support this Business Case.

If you can think of uses, benefits and ideally quantifiable benefits that this type of data would provide your projects, please add this data to the table below.

We would appreciate it if you would also add your contact details, but in a bot unfriendly way (e.g. bruce dot bannerman dot osgeo at gmail dot com).

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Organisation / Contact Use Benefit
A dot Watkins at bom dot gov dot au To help monitor the affects of coastal erosion over time. To assess current climate change theories on sea level rise etc against historical imagery.
A dot Watkins at bom dot gov dot au To help monitor for subtle affects on weather observations over time, e.g. shifts in wind direction over time at observation sites caused by the growth of trees or the construction of buildings. A better validated Climate Record. Less time spent searching for historical records, where none may exist.
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