Govhack | celebrating Govhack CSIRO Geoscience Australia

GovHack | celebrating science

CSIRO and Geoscience Australia are excited to be sponsoring GovHack 2015 as data providers and as National Agency Supporters. As two of the largest producers of national-scale, open science data in Australia we're keen to see what contestants can mash out of our huge variety of datasets.

We're also very excited to be offering prizes and bounties in the "Celebrating Science" category - we'll post these once the hack starts on Friday July 3 so we don't spoil the GovHack team's suprises.

Here we've put together a little collection of sciency resources and ideas to get you started. Many of our datasets are available through national science portals, most of which allow you to search for data semantically or spatially. Many of the datasets here have counterparts both in Australia and NZ, and we've also included some public data from the Crown Research Institutes (the NZ equivalent of the CSIRO). You can see an overview and search through all the dataset listings here.

A selection of datasets & ideas

Human impacts on Australian Biodiversity
Getting to know scientific data
ideas A lot of the science datasets can feel a bit intimidating because they sometimes require a lot of specialist knowledge to interpret, and it can be difficult to know how to interrogate them correctly.
Sentinel HotSpot Data
Landsat 5 and 7 Imagery
CSIRO Science Image
aus and datasets CSIRO Science Image provides a curated set of over 4000 photographs from the CSIRO archives, covering the full breadth of Australian science. These images are free to download and use under a Creative Commons License (as they have been on this site!).
Geoscience Australia Data and Publications
datasets and portals Geoscience Australia has an extensive catalogue of data, publications, online tools, maps and videos. These cover topics from astronomy, earth observation and satellite imagery, energy, geographic information, hazards, marine and costal, minerals, positioning and navigation and water.
CSIRO Data Access Portal
datasets and portals The CSIRO Data Access Portal provides access to data published by CSIRO across a range of disciplines. It gives access to CC-BY and CSIRO Data License datasets with a diverse range of subjects including pulsars to viruses, ontologies to genomics, seabed sediments to solar radiation
Water Observations from Space
Atlas of Living Australia
aus, datasets, and portals The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) is a collaborative, national project that aggregates biodiversity data from multiple sources and makes it available and usable online.
AODN Ocean Data Portal
aus, portals, and datasets The AODN Ocean Data Portal is the primary access point for search, discovery, access and download of data collected by the Australian marine community.
Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network
aus, datasets, and portals The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) connects ecosystem scientists and enables them to collect, contribute, store, share and integrate data across disciplines. Collectively this increases the capacity of the Australian ecosystem science community to advance science and contribute to effective management and sustainable use of our ecosystems.
Landcare Research
nz, datasets, and portals Landcare Research’s core purpose is to drive innovation in the management of terrestrial biodiversity and land resources. The conduct science across land resources, defining land biota, managing biodiversity, invasive weeds and pests, measuring biodiversity change and supporting trade. The Landcare data page has a bunch of links to New Zealand-based datasets relating to land and ecological resources.
An interactive geological map in Minecraft for Raspberry Pi
GNS Science data
nz and datasets GNS Science, Te Pü Ao, is New Zealand’s leading provider of Earth, geoscience and isotope research and consultancy services. Their purpose is to understand natural Earth system processes and resources, and to translate these into economic, environmental and social benefits.
National Instutite of Water and Atmospheric Research
nz and datasets NIWA, Taihoro Nukurangi, is NZ’s Crown Research Institute covering water and atmospheric research, conducting research in aquaculture, atmosphere, climate, coasts and oceans, fisheries, natural hazards. They also run NZ’s active oceanographic research vessels.
AuScope Portal
datasets and portals The AuScope portal contains a variety of Australia-wide geospatial and geoscientific datasets from the CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the state Geological Surveys and several Australian universities.

Need more information?

Are you a competitor in Govhack 2015? We'll have data mentors from GA and CSIRO available for the duration of the weekend to answer your questions, help you with project ideas and with finding any extra data you might need. The GA mentors will be at the Canberra event, and the CSIRO guys will be in Perth, but we'll also watch the GovHack Hackerspace forum for your questions, and we can all be contacted online.

Mentors from the CSIRO

Jess Robertson
I’m a geologist/physicist/data scientist at the CSIRO. I work on a range of science projects across the organisation, generally using geoscience and geospatial data with machine learning and data analysis to improve exploration and production strategies for the minerals and mets sector. As well as science-y things, you can ask me about webservices, maps and geospatial data. Python is my poison of choice. Ping me on twitter @jesserobertson, or send me an email:

Jens Klump
I’m the CSIRO Science Leader for Earth Science Informatics. I'm interested in data driven science, including simulation, remotely operated instruments, and high performance and cloud computing. I also work with organizations like ANDS on long-term preservation of research data, and I can help you find some of the more interesting datasets in the Research Data Australia and CSIRO data archives. I'm on twitter @snet_jklump, or send me an email:

Mentors from Geoscience Australia

Kristin Milton
I can tell you how to use web mapping services in your apps and visualisations, or any general geo geekery. I can provide advice on interacting with OGC web services, catalogue services and how to find other GA data you might want to use. I can also get you started using the GA landsat services. Contact me via Google Plus at +KristinMilton.

Norman Mueller
I analyse satellite imagery to understand the surface of the earth and how it is changing. My main focus is surface water (rivers, lakes) and flooding. I also do a lot of work responding to natural disasters using satellite imagery. You can talk to me about the Water Observations from Space (WOfS) dataset, what it shows, how it was made, what its limitations are and its applications. Contact me via email at

Frank Fu
I develop web applications which provide interfaces for Australian community to access to various geoscience datasets. You can talk to me about object-oriented software design and development, web application frameworks, Spring/JPA and AngularJS, etc. I have broad experience in programming using Java, C, Python and Shell script, etc. Contact me via email at

Mehra Jagdish
I am GA's GovHack coordinator. Contact me via email at or via phone on 6249 9059.

Are you a data mentor for GovHack and have some stuff to contribute? Please feel free to submit a pull request to the github repo or just flick me an email with the relevant details at