Resolving multidisciplinary challenges of seamless integration of data on people, business, and the environment through applying a Discrete Global Grid System Framework

Crossman Shane1, Bell, Joseph1, Bastrakova, Irina1

1Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia

Increasingly, crisis situations require the ability to rapidly integrate diverse data from many sources: this is essential for timely and effective delivery of complex solutions to enable effective decision and policy making. Solutions commonly have to simultaneously cover multiple diverse use cases (e.g. social, environmental and economic) and be transparent, verifiable and trusted. The 2020 Australian bushfire crisis and the global COVID-19 pandemic are examples of these complex crisis events.

The unifying factor for these events is location: everything is happening somewhere at some time. Inconsistent representation of location (e.g. coordinates, statistical aggregations and descriptions) and the use of multiple techniques to represent the same data creates difficulty in spatially integrating multiple data streams often from independent sources and providers. A Discrete Global Grid System (DGGS) is a developed through OGC emerging cutting-edge technology. It provides a common framework capable of integrating very large, multi-resolution and multi-domain datasets together, and is a very efficient way of handling multiple data streams. The DGGS is changing the way how spatial data are enabled leading to an endless range of diverse and powerful data integration possibilities.

The DGGS aims to greatly increase the amount of location intelligence by flexibly linking big and small data in multiple formats, types and structures, and provides a framework for quick, reliable, repeatable, reusable infrastructure and codes. It fosters cross community collaboration and facilitates quick responses to stakeholder needs and for multiple use cases.

This paper will outline how Geoscience Australia and its partners implement the DGGS to address cross-portfolio needs around location-based data to provide a consistent way for seamless integration of data on people, business, and the environment.  Two use cases will be highlighted:

  1. Providing a good analytical basis to understand the environmental health issues such as human vulnerability during extreme natural events such as heatwaves; and
  2. Allowing for rapid and repeatable analysis of cross-portfolio information and decision making in response to devastating events of the 2020 Australian Bushfires.


Shane Crossman has worked in the Geospatial industry for the past 25 years working collaborative between Commonweath and State governemnts to build foundation spatial data.

About the GSA

The Geological Society of Australia was established as a non-profit organisation in 1952 to promote, advance and support Earth sciences in Australia.

As a broadly based professional society that aims to represent all Earth Science disciplines, the GSA attracts a wide diversity of members working in a similarly broad range of industries.