The Seamap Australia National Benthic Habitat Layer (NBHL) is a compilation of benthic habitat datasets obtained from various sectors including research, government, industry and community sources, across Australia. These disparate datasets have been integrated into a single national-scale benthic habitat database, and classified uniformly under a national classification scheme implemented as a controlled vocabulary (https://vocabs.ardc.edu.au/viewById/129). Creation of this classification scheme complements work undertaken by the National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine Biodiversity Hub (Theme D).
The Seamap Australia NBHL can be viewed, analysed and downloaded from the Seamap Australia data portal (https://seamapaustralia.org/map) – a national repository of seafloor habitat data and a decision support tool for marine managers. The NBHL is supplied through Web Mapping Services (WMS) alongside relevant contextual information, in an interactive mapping portal. All habitat datasets in the Seamap Australia data portal, including the NBHL and all local- to regional-scale contributing datasets, are available for download.
The Seamap Australia NBHL is a data collection of national importance and highlights the diversity of benthic habitats across Australia’s marine estate. This is the first Australian habitat dataset that seamlessly consolidates data from each of Australia’s state and territory providers. This dataset should be considered a “live” asset and will continue to develop as more suitable validated habitat data becomes available for inclusion, and improvements in data collection and analysis techniques enhance its resolution and currency.
The most current (2023) version of the data is available from the following endpoints:
Layer name: SeamapAus_National_Benthic_Habitat_Layer
A download link for the full dataset is supplied in the “Online resources” section of this record, along with download links to older versions of the dataset. Note that data is now only available in Geodatabase (.gdb) format as it exceeds Shapefile size limits.
Statement: A full report outlining the methods utilised to create the Seamap Australia National Benthic Habitat Layer is available online at https://seamapaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Seamap-Australia-Report_18_12_11.pdf
In brief: source datasets were assessed for suitability by considering collection and analysis methodology to derive the habitat maps. Data Acceptance Guidelines (see https://seamapaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/SeamapAustraliaDataAcceptanceGuidelines.pdf) stipulate the minimum quality requirements for data to be considered for inclusion in the NBHL.
All source datasets meeting minimum quality requirements were classified according to the Seamap Australia Classification Scheme (see https://seamapaustralia.org/resources/classification/ for a visual guide). The original classification is retained and can be identified on a per-polygon basis within the full dataset. Source datasets were prioritised according to currency, collection methodology, spatial and taxonomic resolution, and combined into a single dataset using GIS tools ERASE, MERGE and UNION (ArcGIS). Note that the Seamap Australia Classification Scheme has separate biotic and substratum components, which may be contributed from different source datasets.
The dataset was then dissolved into multipolygons and basic spatial cleaning was performed (INTERSECT and DELETE IDENTICAL to remove overlapping polygons, INTEGRATE 0.1m, REPAIR GEOMETRY). See https://seamapaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Updating_Seamap_NBHL_v1.0.pdf for full methodology outlining the update process.
All marine data providers are listed in the Appendix of the report [see Online Resources section of this record].
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Australian National Data Service (ANDS)
Parks Australia, Australian Government
Seamap Australia would not have been possible without the contribution of source datasets from the following providers [see downloaded dataset for specific ownership details]:
• Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
• Geoscience Australia (GA)
• National Environmental Science Program (NESP)
• PTTEP Australasia
• Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Northern Territory Government
• Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (NEPWS), Northern Territory Government
• Department of Land Resource Management (DLRM), Northern Territory Government
• Department of Primary Industries (DPI), New South Wales Government
• Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), New South Wales Government
• Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing (DNPSR), Queensland Government
• Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM), Queensland Government
• Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Queensland Government
• Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Queensland Government
• Department of Resources (DoR), Queensland Government
• Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
• Griffith University (GU)
• James Cook University (JCU)
• UniDive (The University of Queensland Underwater Club)
• University of Queensland (UQ)
• Department for Environment and Water (DEW), South Australian Government
• University of Tasmania (UTAS)
• Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute (TAFI)
• Deakin University (DU)
• Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Victorian Government
• Department of Environment Regulation (DER), Western Australia Government
• Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW), Western Australian Government
• Department of Water (DoW), Western Australian Government
• University of Western Australia (UWA)
• Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI)