What data is available for my area?
Many data portals offer a spatial search option for discovery of datasets. This can be a very powerful way to find a wealth of data about a particular location. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Option 1: Research Data Australia (cross disciplinary)
- Go to Research Data Australia and choose Map Search from under the search box.
- Zoom in on a location in Australia and use the rectangle tool at the top of the map to draw a search box around your chosen location. Hint: choosing somewhere on the coast (such as the Newcastle area) will give you a wider range of datasets.
- Then click on the green Search button
- Browse through your results and look at the list of provider organisations and subject headings for the records in your result set. Hint: if you got mainly one sort of data, try making your search box bigger.
Option 2: CSIRO Data Access Portal (mostly Science related)
We will use the Search by Location function in the CSIRO DAP. We used the Simpson Desert region in South Australia and we got over 300 datasets.
- Zoom in to an area you are interested in.
- Click on the Draw Area tab at the top of the map and draw an area box.
- Hit the Search button.
- Look over your search results to understand the amazing work of the CSIRO.
Reflect: were you surprised by the breadth of data available for your location? What new research questions could be explored because of the diversity of data search results for your chosen location?