GNAF & location data update

Overview of PSMA's May data release including updates about GNAF and other news from PSMA Australia.

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In this issue:


Capturing the built environment

Three months after the Australian Government's open release of GNAF and Administrative Boundaries, I'm often asked ... what's next for PSMA?

As many of you will know, we are working on a new product, Geoscape.

Geoscape data showing building footprints, primary roof material and maximum building height.

Figure 1 - Geoscape data showing building footprints, primary roof material and maximum building height.

Geoscape uses satellite imagery to capture key built environment data such as 3D building attributes, land cover, tree heights, roof materials, swimming pools and solar panels.

What makes Geoscape different is that it is a dataset to support analytics at the continental level:  

  1. Geoscape will capture the whole of Australia
  2. The dataset will be maintained on a regular basis so that it depicts the built environment as it changes
  3. It includes linkages to other important geospatial reference datasets including geocoded address, property boundary data and the transport network.

Geoscape's innovative approach has already been recognised by an international award. I was honoured to attend the awards ceremony in Rotterdam and receive the Geospatial Excellence Award on behalf of PSMA. We are pleased to be supported in this endeavour by the state and territory land agencies as well as DigitalGlobe.

We have completed processing of our first capture phase, taking in 16,500 square kilometres focused on Adelaide, South Australia.

A 25 square kilometre area of this data is now available for evaluation, simply review and sign the licence here.

If you do download the evaluation dataset, please let us know what you think. Geoscape is still in development and we are interested in all feedback to ensure that the final product meets the broadest market needs.

Geoscape data showing surface cover, including trees, buildings and built up areas.

Figure 2 - Geoscape data showing surface cover, including trees, buildings and built up areas.

Please keep the feedback and discussions coming, whether that's with PSMA's Marketing and Engagement team, through social media (#geoscape) or our website.

Dan Paull, CEO, PSMA Australia


2016 ABS Census data

The 2016 Census will be Australia’s first Census where more than two thirds of Australia’s population are expected to complete the Census online on 9 August 2016. 

The ABS has advised PSMA that the ASGS Volume 1 – Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas will be released in July 2016, prior to the Census.

If this is the case, PSMA will include this data in the August 2016 release of Administrative Boundaries. This will involve some changes to the data model.

ABS Theme in Administrative Boundaries

Currently there are eight (8) layers in the ABS Theme including the ABS Mesh Blocks (MB) 2011 layer.

PSMA will restructure the ABS Theme to create:

  • ABS Boundaries 2011
  • ABS Boundaries 2016

The ABS Boundaries 2011 will include the current layers while the the ABS Boundaries 2016 will have a single layer for 2016 ABS Mesh Blocks and Statistical Areas.


New NSW Councils

On 12 May 2016, NSW Premier Mike Baird and the Minister for Local Government Paul Toole announced 19 new councils in NSW.

PSMA expects to update the new Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries in the coming months. We will advise you prior to updating our datasets.

Figure 3 - New NSW Councils - courtesy of


Postcodes and GNAF

The PSMA Support team often receives enquiries in relation to postcodes in GNAF. In response, we've included some quick facts here .

Fact #1 - Postcodes are designed to support Australia Post’s delivery network and are not always related to localities
A common misconception is that postcodes are exclusively linked to localities. They may be associated with one locality but this is not always the case.

  • A postcode may cover many localities (e.g. 2570 belongs to over 20 towns and suburbs around Camden, NSW)
  • Some towns and suburbs may have more than one postcode (e.g. Melbourne has 3000 and 3004)
  • Some localities are gazetted but do not have an allocated postcode as they are not part of Australia Post’s delivery network.

There are large sections (shown in white) of the ACT without an allocated postcode.

Figure 4 - There are large sections (shown in white) of the ACT without an allocated postcode.

  • Unofficial localities with ambiguous boundaries are sometimes given a postcode.
  • Postcode boundaries often change (or remain fixed) to meet postal distribution requirements independent to locality definitions and developments.

Fact #2 - Postcode values in the LOCALITY table do not refer to Australia Post postcodes
Postcode values may be found in two places in the GNAF data model:

  • LOCALITY table – [primary_postcode]
  • ADDRESS_DETAIL table - [postcode]

The [primary_postcode] field in G-NAF’s LOCALITY table is used to distinguish between more than one locality of the same name in the same state or territory. For example, in NSW there are six localities named Back Creek.

In most instances this field is not populated. It is important to note that when a value does exist, it is NOT necessarily the correct postcode for that locality but only a value used for differentiation.

Back Creek in NSW

Figure 5 - [primary_postcode] field used to distinguish between different localities in NSW that are all named Back Creek


Out and about with PSMA

We've been out and about at many geospatial and end user conferences over the last few months.

Our CEO, Dan Paull, attended the Geospatial World Forum in Rotterdam in May 2016, at which we were delighted to receive the Geospatial World Excellence Award for our work on Geoscape

Dan also made presentations to the Eurogeographics Extraordinary General Assemblyand GEO Business 2016.

Also in May, PSMA worked with Pitney Bowes to stage a briefing on digital government and location intelligence. Guests heard from Joe Francica, Managing Director of Geospatial Industry Solutions, Pitney Bowes, Gemma Van Halderen, General Manager, Australian Bureau of Statistics, and Helen Owens, Principal Adviser, Public Data Policy, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

PSMA also had a strong presence at various conferences including Locate16Connect Expo and CeBIT where we shared a preview of Geoscape based on the Adelaide capture phase.

We were overwhelmed and very excited at the level of support and interest inGeoscape as well as PSMA's suite of datasets, including G-NAF. If you're not already subscribed, please sign up to receive updates on Geoscape, events and more.

geospatial world award

Figure 6 - Dan Paull receives the Geospatial World Excellence Award for Geoscape

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