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New cooperative agreement for mapping Australia

New cooperative arrangements for national mapping activities were announced today by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Mr Warren Entsch.

Mr Entsch said Australia's national mapping agency, AUSLIG, and the Department of Defence signed an agreement to promote the adoption of a whole-of-government approach for delivering geospatial information and services.

"AUSLIG and Defence share the responsibility for Australia's medium scale topographic mapping coverage," Mr Entsch said.

Air Vice Marshal Peter Nicholson, Chief Knowledge Officer of the Department of Defence, said the Defence Department predominantly focuses its mapping efforts in northern Australia and offshore, in line with its strategic interests.

"AUSLIG's focus is on the Australian continent; just as vital to Defence, but with broader national relevance," Air Vice Marshal Nicholson said. "Jointly produced maps and geospatial information will also be used for other Commonwealth activities including emergency services, customs, immigration, coastal surveillance, quarantine, livestock protection and fisheries.

"The agreement reinforces the importance of strong and effective cooperative arrangements and recognises that both agencies have a mutual interest in the attainment of national goals in the field of geospatial information and services."

The agreement will result in the agencies exchanging selected products, information and materials. They will agree on production programs and exchange information on production status. AUSLIG will also provide a distribution and storage service for Defence geospatial products.

Mr Enstch said one of the first cooperative projects for 2000-01, was a joint $500,000 commitment to update 1:100 000 scale topographic maps in priority areas to meet defence and community needs.

"This is a continuation of a 1998 Government initiative to provide up-to-date 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 up-to-date maps.

"Private sector mapping firms produce these maps under contract to AUSLIG and will be given the 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."

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