Spatial information (also referred to as geospatial science) relates to where things are. Spatial information enables us to make sense of the world and is a fundamental and important element of everyday life.
Spatial information and geospatial science
Spatial information describes a location or is information that can be linked to a location.
Government and the private sector rely on spatial information to efficiently deliver their products and services.
Geospatial science is the measurement, analysis and presentation of geographic information. It is used to describe the relationship between the physical geography and almost any subject matter you may want to investigate.
Geospatial scientists collect, analyse and model data based on a particular location, then use creative ways to map or represent the data simply and meaningfully. They build a deeper understanding of this data, including how it relates to the surrounding environment and the ways it changes over time. What they learn can help shape every aspect of our world.
Watch a video explaining geospatial science:
Spatial technologies in use
Spatial technologies are any software or hardware that interacts with real-world locations.
The most commonly used spatial technologies to visualise, manipulate, analyse, display and record spatial data include:
- remote sensing technology that collects data from satellites, aircraft, UAV/drones and scanners
- Global Navigational Satellite Systems (e.g. GPS) that tell us where we are
- Geographic Information Systems or mapping applications (e.g. Queensland Globe or Google Earth) that turn spatial data into useful information.
Spatial technologies are also used to robustly manage and protect critical government-held information in the interest of the community such as the:
- secure land title of your property
- current value of your property
- street address and locality of your property
- surveyed land boundaries of your property
- environmental information about our land.
Current major projects utilising spatial technologies include:
- Cross River Rail, Brisbane (currently under construction) – an underground railway project through central Brisbane, its modelling and construction rely on accurate spatial information.
- GDA2020 – Australia has upgraded its geocentric datum to GDA2020 to keep pace with changing technologies and the dynamic nature of the Earth's surface.
Accessing spatial information
Queensland Government is building a trusted data ecosystem that makes important and non-sensitive data open for anyone to access, use and share. Queensland Government's online spatial services include:
- Queensland Globe – an online interactive tool to explore Queensland maps, imagery and other spatial data.
- Mapping – free online maps, services and data, including digital data products (including flood maps, topographic maps – QTopo, mining and resource maps, administrative maps, cropping, vegetation, property boundary, energy, planning and historical maps).
- Imagery – aerial photographs, satellite imagery and other Queensland spatial imagery products(including historical imagery, aerial photography, satellite imagery, Lidar data and flood imagery)
- Spatial data – digital cadastral, topographic, natural resources, mines and water data, and open data (including Queensland Spatial Catalogue – QSpatial – a geospatial portal providing access to Queensland Government geospatial data and information).
Spatial as a career
A career in spatial can take students anywhere – working in an office, in the field, in Queensland or anywhere in the world. The spatial industry is evolving and at the cutting edge of technology.
Spatial graduates could be:
- mapping the movement of migrating whales
- measuring the impact of global warming
- finding the best place for a new housing development
- identifying the potential lava streams of a volcano
- analysing the areas where most crimes are committed.
Students with spatial skills are in high demand.
- Read about career pathways in Geospatial science.
- Learn more about a career in land surveying by visiting A life without limits.
Access online mapping applications
- Geospatial Revolution – educational videos show the influence and reach of geospatial information
- Google Earth – a 3D representation of the Earth developed by Google
- Google Maps – a web mapping service developed by Google
- NASA Earth Observatory – a series of images, maps, stories, and discoveries about the environment, Earth systems, and climate
- National Geographic Mapmaker – a tool to create and share customized maps
- National Map – an online map-based tool allowing access to Australian government spatial data
- Open Street Map – built by a community that contribute and maintain the mapping data
- Scribble Maps – create, embed images and map data for free
- Atlas of Living Australia – a collaborative, digital, open infrastructure that gathers Australian biodiversity data from multiple sources, making it accessible and reusable
- Global Forest Watch – explore data related to the drivers and impacts of forest change
- Map of Life – built on a scalable web platform for large biodiversity and environmental data, this website assembles and integrates data describing species distributions worldwide
- Queensland Police Online Crime Map – provides information on crimes in Queensland over the past 2 years
- Australia Hotspot Map – a national bushfire monitoring system that provides timely information about hotspots to emergency service managers and critical infrastructure providers
- Disaster Mapper – the Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub is a national, open-source platform that supports and informs good practice in disaster resilience
- FloodCheck – Queensland Government’s interactive map gives access to flood information and data
- USGS Earthquake Mapper – information about the latest earthquakes around the world
- SunCalc – shows the movement of the sun and sunlight-phase for a certain day at a certain place
- What Powers the World? – discover how much of the world’s electricity is still reliant on coal, oil and gas
- Australian Cancer Atlas – an online, interactive platform showing how cancer diagnosis and survival vary across small areas for many different cancer types across Australia
- HealthMap – global distribution of major disease outbreaks and incidences
- WHO Health Emergency Dashboard – a platform that aims to share information about public health events and emergencies, refreshed every 15 minutes
- GeoResGlobe – provides an online, interactive experience to view Queensland's mining and exploration data
- Water Monitoring Information Portal – find out about river height and stream flow values, groundwater levels and historic streamflow data
- Flightradar – a global flight tracking service provided in real-time
- Marine Traffic – information and positions of vessels around the world
- Last reviewed: 2 Feb 2021
- Last updated: 2 Jun 2021