During the recent devastating flood crisis which affected much of Queensland, geospatial data, specifically digital elevation models or DEMs, were imperative to the creation of accurate flood models and for overcoming many operational challenges.

On 11 February 2011, the Australian Financial Review published an article entitled ‘Floods stress mapping needs’ which emphasises the significance of national elevation data available via Geoscience Australia‘s DEM web portal. The data, which was released on 15 December 2010, consolidates geospatial data from dozens of different agencies. Importantly, all of that data is released under a Creative Commons Attribution licence.

From 2005, Creative Commons Australia (based at QUT) and members of the auPSI team working on the CRC for Spatial Information‘s Project 3.05 (Data access and reuse: policy, law, technology and management – Enabling real-time information access in both urban and regional areas) collaborated closely with Geoscience Australia on the use of CC licences in managing geospatial datasets. Geoscience Australia resolved to use CC licences on their datasets in 2008 and since then has adopted CC BY as their default licence for all materials distributed via their website.  For more on Geoscience Australia’s shift to simplified CC licensing of its datasets see their media release from 20 November 2009.

Credits—Photo: Adaptation (crop and resize) of ‘Flooding in Australia‘ by NASA Goddard Space Centre, CC BY 2.0 Generic.