Oral Presentation 9th Australian Stream Management Conference 2018

What to do when your data doesn’t tell the whole picture..? (#108)

Simon Laird

Increasingly, spatial data is being used to enable more intelligent decision making and drive strategic development in natural resources. Can your data captured for asset management be used to inform and determine the natural values and threats that exist? What are the challenges of re-purposing data captured for one use to indicate another phenomenon?

Having a key understanding of your data’s limitations and original purpose is fundamental to the decision making process. Spatial data can be the captured through the use of ground based field survey, aerial based or satellite platforms and come with a range of specific characteristics that can create large biases in analysis.

What do you do when the spatial data is not accurately depicting what is happening on the ground, how do you minimise the bias? One method to counteract the absence of complete data is expert elicitation or aggregation and interpolation across larger areas. What are the pitfalls of this method, does it limit the suitability of the analysis to reflect what is occurring on the ground?

GHD has been working with clients in Victoria to overcome their data limitations to provide whole of catchment analysis in a range of natural resource management areas. The journey of this process has had many outcomes, including the realisation that highly targeted on ground field survey is not always the most efficient way to understand and manage whole of catchment level issues.

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