Marine Data Seminar

Today I spent much of the day at the Western Australian Marine Science Institution seminar, “Data to Knowledge”.  It was an interesting event, especially in the light of our work with the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), and my previous project work with the Online Zoological Collection of Australian Museums, and even as far back as the Pilbara Biological Survey Database.

If you follow Twitter, you would have seen my tweets throughout the day, where I tried to summarise talks and bring up key points. You can find these at

There were a few talks about portals, namely Luke Edwards from iVEC and Roger Proctor from IMOS, who launched the day with discussions about the upcoming WA node of the Australian Ocean Data Network. It’s worth checking out the AODN portal at A later talk by Ben Radford outlined another portal, the Ningaloo Atlas ( These talks made me think of some of the lessons I’ve learned from my previous portal projects.

Rod Nowrojee from the Office of the EPA gave a talk about their upcoming work on the Shared Environmental Assessment Knowledge project, after a great overview of the Office of the EPA. If you don’t know what this regulator does then Rod is someone to ask.

There was also a pretty impressive talk from John Hedley from ARGANS about modelling shallow water environments. It was pretty cool to see fully virtual models of light in shallow water coral environments, watching the virtual light play off the coral and the udersides of the waves – and then John brought this back into a practical use by showing this from above the surface. I realised that this would be great for people trying to classify benthic habitats from remotely sensed imagery.

A few other talks were in there, Murray Dolling (Landgate) giving a talk about how hard it is to include the high water mark in the cadastre, and Ralph Talbot-Smith (Department of Transport) gave a talk about the way data about navigational aids is managed here in WA and across the nation.

There was a cool bit at the end of the seminar: the interactive stuff.  Little keypads were handed out, and as Luke showed us questions on the screen, we pressed the answer on the keypad and it polled our results.  It was a pretty useful, anonymous way of getting feedback, and I hope to get to use that again next time I want to gather requirements from people!

It was a great overview of a range of topics, and I’ll digest the portal parts a bit more – especially when I get to review our own work in an upcoming trip east to the ALA again – and blog a bit more about that another time. That’s a “glass of red wine” blog, I think.

The event was definately worth attending. If you work with marine data and aren’t involved with WAMSI, you should be. Get in touch with them at their web site.

Contact me on email, or leave me a comment below this post.


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