The Parliamentary Secretary recently announced new cooperative arrangements for national mapping activities to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources of Australia. Australia’s national mapping agency (AUSLIG) and the Department of Defence signed an agreement to promote the adoption of an inter-governmental approach for delivering geospatial information and services. The agencies will exchange selected products, information and materials, agree on production programs and exchange information on production status. AUSLIG will also provide a distribution and storage service for defense geospatial products. One of the first cooperative projects for 2000-2001 is a joint $500,000 commitment to update 1:100,000 scale topographic maps in priority areas to meet defense and community needs.
The agreement is a continuation of a 1998 government initiative to provide updated mapping in support of emergency services operations and environmental management in priority areas of rural and regional Australia. The government provided $2 million over a two-year period for the 1998 initiative. This will result in production of 35 maps covering areas of greatest need for updated maps. Private sector mapping firms produce the maps under contract to AUSLIG and will be given opportunity to bid for further work under the AUSLIG and Defence cooperative program. The Defence Topographic Agency will print the maps contracted under the cooperative program. The outsourcing arrangement is helping develop a stronger industry capability and foster innovation in map production.