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Project Members:

Hamish Holewa (Project Manager,

Sarah Richmond (Data Analyst,

ANDS Contact:

Andrew White (

Project Status:


The Open River - Griffith University Major Open Data Collection Project

Griffith University

Project Description

The Major Open Data Collection (MODC) project has developed an extensive data catalogue that acts as a gathering point of information by integrating and aggregating data with a focus on place. Throughout the MODC project 111 unique datasets within the Logan-Albert River Catchment were identified. Of these, 60 were discovered via desktop searches on open source sites and 51 were collected through closer engagement (e.g. in person meetings) with researchers and representatives from various organisations. Further to this, the process of doing such a collection has resulted in a documented methodology for a community approach to open place-based data sharing.

The direct benefits and outcomes of this project include:
● Major virtual data collection on the Logan-Albert River Catchment;
● Development, design and publication of collection under the branded initiative, the ‘Open River’;
● Collection uploaded to Research Data Australia in RIF-CS 1.6;
● Design and launch of public website to increase use of the catalogue and to promote information and supporting documents about open data;
● Increased discoverability, and ease of access, of 111 unique datasets on the Logan-Albert River area;
● Strategic engagement with over 60 researchers belonging to a number of institutions (e.g. Australian Rivers Institute, SmartWater, Environmental Futures Research Institute);
● Development of a framework for a community approach to place-based data collection and sharing;
● Increased awareness for open data initiatives through presentations and workshops at research-based events;
● By engaging with researchers about their work/data the MODC project acted as a catalyst to release data that was otherwise just sitting there;
● an extensible model, allowing additional focal points to be readily established and for other local authorities or community and interest groups to adopt the same framework (e.g. Open City, Open Mountain, Open Bay).

The collection will provide long term benefits to the University by the establishment of a unique collection of data for research use, which can be further enhanced. It is believed that this project was the first time at this University that a large number of researchers have actively co-developed and contributed to the development of a large collection of data around a research problem from across discipline areas. It has demonstrated to the research community and the stakeholder agencies the strategic value of exposing and leveraging data that already exists in various systems and organisations. This project has identified a strategic method for developing further collections from research data not currently managed effectively and complementing that data through further collaboration with industry, NGOs and government agencies.

The MODC was developed to respond to the issues associated with open data discoverability and accessibility in the research community. The resulting collection, and ‘Open River’ initiative, provides researchers, government officials, managers, and members of the public with an accessible, easy-to-use catalogue tool that captures what we know about a place, and highlights what we don’t. Ultimately, by making past, current and even future data sets/information more discoverable it will expand our knowledge base and foster new innovative information about a place.