What are the most common types of data I use in my research?

Elevation & Bathymetry Data

This is the most important data input used in all hydrologic or hydraulic models I build yet it is often the data with the highest uncertainty. Bathymetry data of coastlines is difficult to obtain because the intertidal zone is dynamic and sediment transported both on and offshore can quickly change the elevation in this zone. Elevation and bathymetry data are typically in the form of a Digital Elevation Model (DEM).

Tidal & Water Level Data

In Queensland this data is easy to obtain although not typically for creeks located far from deltas or estuaries. If there’s a paucity of data in a certain area, we need to set-up water loggers to measure the water level at our site in question. The flood map on the left shows tidal inundation I modelled using a DEM and tidal information.

Biodiversity & Species Maps

Typically it is difficult to find maps at a national or state level, or for multiple species. Finding these data usually require combing through data repositories and piecing together several datasets.

Land Use Data

While there are lots of uses for land use data, I typically use the existing ‘land use’ of an area to estimate how impervious an area is to water infiltration. This is utilised in rainfall-runoff calculations

Rainfall Data

Rainfall data can typically be obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology and is used to estimate water flows in a catchment area. Specifically, this data is used to estimate how much water flows overland and discharges into creeks or rivers during specific storm conditions e.g. a storm that occurs once in every 100 years.

Sources of Data

I’ve compiled a list of the locations I regularly source data for my projects. This is as much a list for myself, as it is a useful resource for anyone undergoing spatial or hydrology projects within Australia. I will continually add to this as I find new databases or resources.

  • Elevation spatial data
  • Bathymetry spatial data
  • Numerous datasets available at various resolutions


  • Queensland spatial datasets
  • Feature maps e.g. rivers, water bodies, roads, tracks, trails, boundaries
  • Vegetation community maps
  • Imagery base maps
  • Highest astronomical tides maps
  • Hydrological connectivity maps

Interactive tool to view the location of existing datasets on the Queensland map with the option to upload and view your own datasets. Select few examples:

  • Queensland wetlands mapping
  • Aquatic conservation assessments
  • Marine infrastructure
  • Drainage boundaries
  • Surface water monitoring

OzCoasts provides links to numerous other coastal datasets.

  • Sea level rise
  • Coastal inundation/flooding
  • Estuarine typology
  • Storm surge
  • Habitat surveys e.g. reef, seagrass etc
  • Marine park zoning
  • Coral reef bleaching severity
  • Ocean temperature datasets
  • Restoration databases

Small selection:

  • Catchment scale land use
  • Boundaries
  • Native title
  • Land cover and land use
  • RAMSAR areas
  • Aquifer boundaries

Earth and environmental science data repository used by researchers filled with a bit of everything.

  • Nautical charts (free Chart Viewer feature)
  • Garmin-based app for boating including sonar and nautical charts with weather and tides

Select examples:

  • Groundwater database
  • Near real-time wave data
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Condition of marine, estuarine, riverine ecosystem health datasets
  • Sediment loading datasets
  • Intensity-frequency-duration data for all catchments within Australia
  • Tide tables
  • Tidal datum information
  • Sea level measurements
  • Focuses on coastal ecosystems including: mangroves, tidal flats, saltmarsh, seagrass, kelp and coral reefs
  • Habitat maps (species cover)
  • Change in cover maps
  • Groundwater data
  • Historic streamflow data
  • Pluviograph data
  • Streamflow data
  • Open licensed aerial imagery
  • Bathymetry survey
  • Physical oceanography parameters including pressure, temperature, current, salinity
  • Seabed biodiversity
  • Vessel strike risk maps
  • Data from specific ecological studies
  • Bathymetry
  • Salinity
  • Temperature
  • Turbidity
  • Wave data
  • Wind data
  • Biological data including chlorophyll, nutrients, biota
  • Chemical data including carbon, oxygen, alkalinity
  • Coastal and marine infrastructure
  • Fishery and catch data
  • TSS and secchi depth
  • Projection files
  • Details about projections/coordinate systems
  • High-resolution topography data
  • LiDAR, DEM in point cloud and raster format
  • Coastal hazard assessments
  • Coastal wetlands and waterways
  • Bathymetry and topography
  • Coastal monitoring program datasets
  • Sea-level rise projections
  • Erosion prone areas
  • Storm tide inundation
Note: These maps are available via QSpatial also
  • Historical surface water inundation frequency and extent (inland, rivers and creeks)
This is useful to ‘sense check’ hydrology model outputs.

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