Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions that have been asked. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, please contact us (our contact details are at the top right) and we will do our best to help.

Can I use the data?

Absolutely! We are delighted for you to use the data in any way you like. Do take note of our general disclaimer before using any of the data. In terms of licensing, all data is provided under Creative Commons license (CC BY 3.0 AU – you can find details here). Essentially, we only ask that you identify the source of the data in your communication. Where we use third-party data, those, too, were made available under a Creative Commons license and so the same applies there (see ‘How should I refer to the data?’ below). Of course, we would very much like to hear your experience in using the website and data, so we can improve their usefulness as much as possible!

How should I refer to the data?

If you are using downloaded regional summary data or visual material from the website, we suggest you cite them as:

Van Dijk, A.I.J.M. and Rahman, J. (2019). Synthesising multiple observations into annual environmental condition reports: the OzWALD system and Australia’s Environment Explorer. In Elsawah, S. (ed.) MODSIM2019, 23rd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, December 2019, pp. 884–890.
ISBN: 978-0-9758400-9-2. 

If you are downloading the gridded data, then you can find also citation information for that specific data in the metadata of each data file. For technical references to the methods used, see the Data Description.

The data units shown in the pie chart seem wrong?

These units result when multiplying the units of the primary gridded data with the area covered. If the primary data were expressed as mass per unit area or water depth, the result will be total mass (e.g., tonnes Carbon, tC) or water volume (ML), respectively. The result can be somewhat unusual in other cases. For example, if the units of the primary data were fraction (or percentage) of the area, the result will be in square kilometres; if they were events per unit area, the result will be an estimated total number – but not necessarily a round number (see below).

Why are the regional fire occurrence numbers in the charts not round numbers?

The gridded fire occurrence data provide the number of fires per 2.5 km resolution grid cell, which is the approximate accuracy with which they can be located. For the regional summaries, these data are transformed to 250 m resolution so they can be combined with land cover and region mapping. This is done by assigning each cell 1/100th of the number of cells in the original data. As a result, the estimated number of fires is usually not a round number.

Where there really no fires in 2000 and 2001?

There were. The GA Sentinel Hotspots Mapping system on which fire occurrences are based came into operation in 2002. Therefore there are no data for 2000 and 2001. As the system came into operation during 2002, data for that year should also be considered incomplete.

Why is the number given for the total area of Australia not always the same?

The area of Australia listed in the chart box represents the total area of all regions combined and depends on the region boundary view you have chosen. For example, it may show the total area of all Ramsar Wetlands or National Parks, or in River Region view, the combined area of all mainland catchment. Even between types of regions that cover the entire continent numbers can vary, for example depending on whether certain water bodies were included or not.