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VVG: A Growing Reputation for Groundwater Resourcing

16 April 2013

Public interest in the University of Ballarat’s Visualising Victoria’s Groundwater (VVG) project is continuing to grow, alongside its reputation for successfully managing natural resources data using interoperable technologies.

VVG is a two-year project that uses new ICT and high speed broadband capabilities to capture, aggregate and spatially depict Victoria's groundwater systems for public access and sustainable development and management. Until the commencement of this project, information about Victoria’s groundwater was maintained by various organisations, across different databases making it difficult to access and utilise the data to its full capacity.  The VVG project has since advanced the accessibility and usability of groundwater data by consolidating all data into one comprehensive and publically available web-portal at

The current value of this portal and the potential for future enhancements of this resource are enormous. Already the data portal is being used by managers and water authorities to make informed decisions about managing consumptive use and environmental water flows.

The project has also drawn significant national and international interest and attention leading peak research organisations and government bodies to partner on the project.

Recently there has been a spike in interest in VVG from different sources including special interest magazines. Invitations to share the VVG story with industry representatives and academics at state and national conferences and forums continue to grow.

Two Australian publications have recently featured articles on VVG in their magazines. Position, the Australasian magazine of surveying, mapping and geo-information featured VVG in an article in the February/March issue titled Visualising Water Resources.

Landmark, the flagship publication and official ‘voice’ for Victoria’s spatial information community also featured a story on the expansion of Universities into the spatial realm, entitled Regional Universities span the spatial research bridge in the April 2013 edition (pages 16 - 18). The article showcases the University of Ballarat’s growing expertise with spatial projects and featuring the VVG project.

Senior staff from the University of Ballarat have also been instrumental in promoting the success of VVG at state and national forums.

In February, Centre for eCommerce and Communications (CeCC) Director Dr Helen Thompson attended the Digital Information Management and Security Conference in Canberra where she presented on the topic of Quality Data Capture and Sharing Large Datasets for Public Access. The presentation focused on successful approaches of open data programs for public access using using interoperable knowledge management and spatial mapping technologies. VVG was one of the projects heavily featured during Helen’s presentation.

In March, VVG Senior Research Fellow Dr Peter Dahlhaus was invited to present a paper at the Australian Groundwater School at the University of Melbourne with a focus on Groundwater data, collection, monitoring, storage and retrieval.  Dr Dahlhaus also presented at the Newtech Conference at Colac examining applied research projects using spatial technologies and drawing largely upon his experiences with the VVG project. Organised by the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, Newtech provides information on the latest technologies in land information and management for rural and regional Victoria. 

Also in March, Technical Manager (Projects) in CeCC, Andrew MacLeod, presented a joint paper with GIS Analyst Callum Fairnie from Barwon South West – State Fire Management Planning Support at the Municipal Association of Victoria’s Local Government ICT Group. The paper provided a case study for GIS information distribution in the Colac Otway Shire using VVG to demonstrate how information distribution is enhanced using interoperable approaches and the spatial presentation of data.

Each of these presentations and publications represents a growing wave of interest in the VVG project. VVG provides a unique ‘test case’ from which to demonstrate the value of interoperable technologies and spatial representations and how this can be used most effectively with large data sets to facilitate public access and use.

The staff working on VVG will continue to showcase the project and its latest developments at upcoming conferences including the Digital Rural Futures Smart Farms Smart Regions Conference in Armidale, NSW in June 2013. A clutch of papers linked to the VVG project have also been submitted for presentation at the 2013 International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH Congress) in Perth in September.

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