The last 3 months have seen some changes in the availability of data for those of us that like mapping and other geeky things.

In December, the Tasmanian government started releasing some spatial data via an “Open Data Portal” where its possible to download GIS vector data such as the road network, rivers, streams, lakes, contours and even property parcels. All this data can be used with the QGIS software we are using. Just about every state is now starting to make data available which is great for volunteer organisations working with lean budgets. The data is being released with Creative Commons licencing so be sure to attribute your maps appropriately.

There has also been a change to the supply of TASMAP digital raster maps. These can now be downloaded (but not for free!) from the TASMAP eshop. Each 1:25,000 map can be purchased in a couple of formats that suits both QGIS and Garmin GPS’s. If you have a recent Garmin GPS, such as a 62 model or Etrex then each map can be loaded as a background image. There are some limitations but these can be very handy in some instances and at just $2 a map sheet its not a huge investment.

Of course if you only need an overview map then you can download the whole of Australia as a raster map from Geoscience Australia but be warned, its a huge 3Gb download and that definitely wont fit on your Garmin in its current format.

Lastly, remember that Wildcare have the full set of digital maps for use with Wildcare mapping projects.