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The AuScope portal displays geospatial data obtained from a number of organisations around Australia. The portal provides a way to find geospatial data and display that data on the map. Finding the data to display is managed by the data services panels at the left hand side of the window.

The AuScope Portal

The data services are a collections of web-based services from organisations around Australia that provide geospatial data, such as Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, State Governments and several Universities.
The following sections describe the portal: the first section of this document is an overview of the portal. Later sections provide details on the portal's operations. The Examples section contains steps to perform common activities.


Data Services

Various organisations provide data to the portal: it may be as simple as satellite imagery or a view into a geospatial database. The data provided by these services are drawn as layers overlaying the background map. Selecting the data to view is managed by the panel to the left hand side of the window.

Data service panels

Status Report

To view a data service you have to:

  1. Select a layer from one of the lists, by clicking on the layer category, then the layer name
  2. Select the "Filter" panel by clicking on the its tab
  3. Optionally filter the data (for example, a specific mineral type); and
  4. Add the data as a map layer by clicking on Add Layer button in "Filter" panel

The panel implements these steps:

  1. The panel lists the data services that have been registered with the portal. The services are grouped into several different themes – see Layer collections below.
  2. The filter display expands when a layer is selected. Depending on the type or complexity of the layer's data you can filter it to obtain a subset of the original data. If the data service provides a view into a database you will be able to filter the data by entering specific values for database fields, for example the name of the mineral being mined or selecting the data provider. Filters include plain text and wildcards to match database fields or select lists containing data values fetched from the database or service.
  3. Click the Add layer button to apply any filters to the data and display the results on the map.

Note that adding a layer may not display the data immediately: the data has to be fetched from the providers and so it may take a few minutes and be displayed in batches.


The map area is a standard web-based map display: showing a background map with zero or more layers overlaying the map to display selected features. You can zoom in or out by using the mouse wheel and move the map by dragging the mouse around. The map is based on several standard web technologies provided by OpenLayers

Portal operations in more detail

Filter Panel

Filter Panel

Each layer provides different ways to filter the data depending on the structure its data. The following image shows a sample of the filters from three different mining layers. Note that each filter provides fields of several types: plain text, dates and select lists.

  • Plain text fields match the data exactly, but case insensitive. Some data services also support wildcards to match portions of the field.
  • Date fields are in the format: yyyy-mm-dd and also provide a pop-up calendar to selected the date (invalid dates are indicated with a red border around the input text box).
  • Select lists are populated from unique values from the data.

Some layers may not have any filters. Layers that supply imagery may only provide a filter to change the layer's opacity when the images are drawn on the map.
Some layer fields are numeric, for example the amount of ore processed. There are no checks to verify that you have entered a numeric value in these fields. Entering non-numeric will result in either no data or the filter will be ignored.
Click the Add layer to map button to apply any filters to the data and display the results on the map. If the layer is already active it will be replaced by a layer with the new filter.
A number of data services provide data from external sources and when they are added to the map a copyright notice will be show.


Wildcards are special characters that allow filters to match all or part of a text field. They may also position the match at the beginning or end of the field.
A data provider may choose not to implement wildcards (for example, to reduce processing overheads) or limit their behaviour. This means a filter on a text field may accept any of these matching rules:

  1. A strict match of the entire text field, usually case insensitive.
  2. A match to any portion of the field. For example a filter of "old" will match "goldfield lease" and "the folding chair".
  3. A "match any" beginning/end wildcard (asterisk: ). For example "sil" will match "silver mine" and "silicon chip". Similarly "*ts" will match "hot spots" and "polar orbits"
  4. A "single character" wildcard (Hash: #). For example "*9#" will match "bore 295" and "mine number 1294"

Info Panel

Clicking on the tab marked "Info" will open up the info panel like that shown below. A map of the coverage of each provider's service and some other general information about the service is revealed.

You can mouse over provider name and its coverage will be highlighted in pink on the map (below second picture from left).

Click on provider name to display service details (rightmost picture below), including any service availability warning messages.


Info Panel                                                                                                      Mouse over provider name to display its coverage on map               Click on provider name to display service details

Download Panel

Download Panel

If you would like to perform further analysis on the data being viewed in the portal you can download the data to your workstation by selecting the Download Tab.

If you click on the Download button, you will download all the data from all providers. This request may fail if there is too much data, as the connection may time out.

Often it is advisable to use the Select Bounds button to reduce the size of the download request.

Selecting a bounding box to limit the download size

If you click on the Select Bounds button it shows a message "Click on the map to select bounding box". (shown above) You must then create a bounding box by clicking twice in the map area, once in the top left corner and again in the bottom right corner as shown above.

Download Panel with bounding box filter

Once a bounding box has been defined, the Download Panel will display its coordinates (above), and you can click on the Download button to get the results.

Searching and filtering layers

Searching and filtering layers

You can search for layers using their name: enter part of the name in the search box and click the magnifying glass or press Enter. The list of layers will be reduced to the ones that match the text you entered in the search box.
The search string matches the beginning of each word in the layer name. For example "bore" will match layers "All Boreholes" and "Borehole view" but will not match "Arboreum."
To remove the search filter in order to see all layers again click the X button next to the search box.

Allows the filtering of the displayed layers based on

  • Active Layer: Only display layers that are currently active on the map.
  • Data Layer: Only display layers that contains data.
  • Image Layer: Only display layers that contain only image data.

Custom Layers

Custom Layers allow you to add layers from any mapping server in the world. You will need the link (URL) to the web service and enter it into the field in the panel:

Custom layers

Press Enter or click on the magnifying glass to connect to the service and the portal will query the service's capabilities. In the above figure provides precipitation and cloud maps amongst other weather data. These capabilities are treated like normal map layer and can be added to the map by selecting the row and click the Add layer to map button.
Custom Layers are not saved – you will have to add them again when you revisit the portal.
Some WMS services are not compatible with the Portal. They may provide capabilities that are not supported by the portal or provide data in a format that cannot be used. The most common problem is the service provides data in a "spatial reference system" ( SRS ) that is not supported by the mapping software.

Service Availability Messages

If you click on the bell icon in the top right hand corner of the browser window, you can get a list of messages regarding service availability.

Message Feed

Permanent Link

If you would like to save the current state of the portal, e.g. view and (some) layers, use the Permanent Link button at the top-right of the map to generate a special link (URL) that can be sent to other people or saved as a browser bookmark. The link contains encoded information recording the map's viewpoint, zoom level and which layers are displayed. An example link is: /portal/gmap.html?s=XQAAAQBDAAAA9776I776J776iNyzvv783 OwsD776KbVnvvpvvv4jvv6Hvvp0m77+6S++rTnv v60iBn/vv4bvvqDvv6gKFRlNNu+ u3zvv6pm776s 77+Geu+nui/mUtX7777+zaO/nQA=&v=3

This is very long, so a "URL Shortening in progress..." message is displayed and the message will disappear once a shortened URL is created.
Clicking on the clipboard button will copy the URL to the local machine's clipboard, so it can copied into another application.

Some layers, such as Custom Layers, cannot be saved.

Map Navigation

Map controls

Using the magnify button to zoom to a certain area on the map

There are several ways to navigate around the map.

  • Using the Zoom button, click the plus  or minus - signs to zoom in or out.
  • Magnify button can be used to zoom to a particular area on the map:
    1. Click Magnify
    2. Click at the top left hand corner
    3. Click at the bottom right hand corner

  • Using the mouse:
    • Move the map: hold the left-mouse button down and move the mouse.
    • Zoom in and out: use the mouse's scroll wheel.


Example 1: National Virtual Core Library

The National Virtual Core Library (NVCL) is a geospatial database holding high resolution pictures of drill samples to help explore the mineralogy and composition of the upper 1-2 km of the Australian continent. The drill samples in the library come from a number of sources including State agencies and industry.

Example core sample

The following steps display the NVCL data on the portal's map and view the details for one of the core samples. Images of the each step are shown below.

  1. Select Boreholes from the list
  2. Select the National Virtual Core Library V2.0 from the list of layers.
  3. Click on the Add layer button to draw the data points on the map. You may also filter the data to a subset using the options in the filter panel (remember to select the filters before adding the layer to the map).
  4. Click on a coloured marker on the map, a popup dialog box will appear
  5. Click on borehole id to open up details panel
  6. Click on Analytic tab
  7. This shows thumbnail images of the borehole cores. Next, click on Scalar tab.
  8. This shows all datasets obtained from measurements of the core samples. For example infra-red spectroscopy measurements of the samples. You can click on the "Definition" link to get more information about what kind of sample was taken. The next action is to select a dataset or more by clicking in the tickboxes.
  9. Click on graph icon to display a graph of the selected mineral measurements

NVCL Boreholes: Steps 1,2,3 & 4

NVCL Boresholes: Step 5

NVCL Boreholes: Step 6

NVCL Boreholes: Step 7

NVCL Boreholes: Steps 8 & 9

A typical graph of the mineral measurements is shown below. A user can hold the mouse pointer over a point in the graph and the depth and sample count at that point will be displayed, e.g.

NVCL Boreholes: Graph of borehole minerals

NVCL Boreholes: Details of graph controls

NVCL Borehole Service View

In Step 7 above, you can click on a thumbnail in the AuScope portal and get a high resolution image of the borehole drill samples from the relevant NVCL service website.

At the left and right hand side of the image there are arrows which can be used to view borehole images at lower and higher depths (see below).

NVCL Data Service carousel showing

If you double click on this picture, you can see spectral data plots taken from the samples, as depicted below.

NVCL Borehole Service detailed image and spectral data plots

Example 2: Filter By Geological Province

Step 1: Filtering by name, add geological province layer
Step 2: Click on layer

Step 3: Click on "gml:ProvinceFullExtent ..." link to reveal details as shown above

Step 4: Click on "Add to clipboard" button, close dialog box

Step 5: Add NVCL borehole layer, using the "Polygon BBox" filter, making sure "Apply clipboard BBox" checkbox is ticked.

5 Glossary




Catalog Service for the Web (Catalog Service - Web)


Geoscience Australia


Geography Markup Language


Open Geospatial Consortium


Spatial Reference System


Web Coverage Service


Web Feature Service


Web Mapping Service


Extensible Markup Language

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