Simon Costello

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 Simon Costello

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Who can you trust? Progress on the Foundation Spatial Data Framework

Simon Costello, Branch Head, National Location Information


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5 Things You Will Learn

  1. Importance of location information for decisions that affect people’s lives, prosperity, safety and the environment they live in
  2. Benefits of FSDF include less time and money spent on managing and consuming geospatial data, ability for users to assess how trustworthy data may be for different purposes, clear mandates for suppliers, and published forward programs to show how the datasets are improving
  3. FSDF is a change program on Australia’s common asset of geospatial information, not a solution in itself
  4. Updated datasets, as well as the improved ability to find data that suits your purpose, are the main outputs
  5. Progress update on the Foundation Spatial Data Framework

Target Audience

Users of national geospatial datasets, but not just technical people. The presentation will also be focused on selling the importance of geospatial data to decision-makers and policy development – that is, to non-spatial users. Suppliers of foundation spatial data to a lesser extent as they are already heavily involved in the program.

Presentation Overview

As a user of geospatial information, are you frustrated at how long it takes to find and use the information you’re after? Do you ever know whether it’s fit for your purpose, has a warranty on it, or what the longterm plans are for keeping the data current? As a supplier of geospatial information, are you constantly having to fight for resources or sell why your work is important? These issues are important in a world where public safety, investment and environmental management heavily depend on geospatial information. The appetite for tailor-made, readyto-use products is outstripping the pace at which geospatial information can be sustainably managed.

The Foundation Spatial Data Framework was established by ANZLIC – the Spatial Information Council in 2011 as a change program on Australia’s “common asset” of geospatial information to address these issues. The FSDF will improve the recognition of geospatial information as an essential component of decision-making, as well as address data quality, supply chain, delivery and access issues. The program is managed by Geoscience Australia, the Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet and the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM). A summary of investigations into the gaps between emerging user needs and the current state of over 35 nationally-significant geospatial datasets will be outlined in the paper, as will the importance of identifying the FSDF’s benefits so as not to repeat the failed past attempts of establishing an working spatial data infrastructure in Australia. Finally, the paper will give an overview of the remaining work in the FSDF program and demonstrate the concept of the FSDF Registry, a world-first concept for geospatial information which will be a go-to point for users to find trusted national geospatial datasets, understand their fitness-forpurpose and trustworthiness, and see future dataset improvement plans.


Simon is currently Head of Geoscience Australia’s National Location Information Branch, and Program Manager of the Foundation Spatial Data Framework. Expertise in identifying opportunities to utilise geospatial information and solutions as evidence to address nationally significant issues on safer navigation, resource security, community resilience, environmental management and social policy. Improving stakeholder relationships, in particular between Geoscience Australia and major national geospatial players such as PSMA Australia and client agencies in the Australian Government. Recognised for ability to meet challenges posed by prioritisation of staffing, budgets, work plans and stakeholders, and for addressing issues around work flows, program governance and staff performance. Growing expertise and trust in staff through recognising success, providing opportunities for development, demonstrating their relevance to broader Group outcomes, and being transparent in decision-making. Completing the design and implementation of nationally consistent business practices and data products to meet the needs of Australian Government and the community. Recognised for support to: Australian crisis coordination events, recovery of North Queensland to Cyclone Larry, emergency response to Victorian bushfires, contribution to improved mapping for emergency management, and implementation of improved business practices.