Scoping the Aus-Env website

Australia’s Environment in 2015


In March/April (probably latter) of 2015, Albert and some of his group intend to give a seminar (series) presenting their best assessment of the condition of Australia’s Environment in 2015. This would be a good opportunity to focus some web development.

The document outlining a ToC for the seminar can be found elsewhere in this folder. Essentially, it will seek to summarise the main changes in the environment in terms of:

  1. land use / land cover change
  2. bushfire
  3. weather and water
  4. rivers and wetlands
  5. agricultural land
  6. natural ecosystems
  7. the carbon balance

For each of this themes, one or a few national-scale headline indicators will be calculated to express the main environmental changes in 2015. Examples could be, e.g., (a) the amount of natural forest lost or gained; (b) the number of wetlands receiving above average water; etc. Specific indicators will be determined at a later stage based on the type and quality of data available and the meaningfulness and robustness of the interpretation. Some relevant examples could be Australia’s Sustainability Indicators or the trial environmental accounts by the Wentworth Group.

Underpinning these indicators will be spatio-temporal data summarised in tabulated environmental accounts, in which the spatial and temporal data are aggregated to suitable

  • temporal scales (probably mainly annual)
  • spatial units - probably by statistical area, bioregion, catchment and environmental asset (e.g. national park, Ramsar site)
  • spatial subunits (e.g. land cover/use categories)

Web delivery

We envisage a data exploration web site, where people having heard the seminar or its summary can go and explore the interpreted data for themselves. For example, they:

  • may be particularly interested in a particular region or location, and want to see some mapping or tabulated numbers for it
  • may wish to take their time and explore national mapping of particular variables (e.g. land cover change, flooding, etc)
  • Investigate how certain headline indicators were calculated, i.e., on the basis of what data or by what method.
  • May wish to download a data layer or table for further analysis or comparison.

Possible site structure

A promising web site structure could be to have a landing page with a set of headline indicators that summarise 2015 at a glance. This could involve up/down arrows with simple stats next to them, for example, or other infographics-type visualisations. There could be a clickable national map that allows headline indicators to be shown by region.

At this level, one might:

  1. click one of the headline indicators shown, which would take you to a theme page (e.g., natural ecosystems, or fire) where you can browse through a small number of national maps of different variables.
  2. click on one of the regions (SLAs, catchments, bioregions, assets etc.) or search for it in a list, and be shown the headline indicators for that region. This could then allow you to click through to get the detail on those headline indicators for that region (i.e. a similar map as (a) but zooming in on that region).

Components required

These are likely to include:

  1. Grid mapping (WMS, DAP)
  2. Displaying headline indicators (with some type of simple visualisation)
  3. Presenting tabular data
  1. as maps
  2. as tables
  1. graphing (in a panel or as popups) showing
  1. time series
  2. bar chart
  3. pie chart

Data sources

Likely to include the following:

  • OzWALD model-data system input and output files (0.05 degree daily).
  • Tree cover (change) mapping (1/4000 degree, one map for 2015)
  • Inundation mapping (0.005 degree, 8-daily maps)

In each of these cases, we can produce 2015 summary maps (mean, min, max, anomaly, etc) as required.