Big Data, Electricity, Mapping & GIS, Projects, Renewables

Bringing together geospatial data

A unique industry partnership has brought together a range of energy data together in the one tool – making it easier for utilities, governments and developers to plan their future renewable energy projects.

laptop-pro-1The Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure (AREMI) project is a collaboration between the Clean Energy Council, National Information Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence (NICTA) and Geoscience Australia.

The project provides open access to spatial data relevant for the development of renewable energy projects, and its ultimate aim is to make it easier for renewable energy projects to get off the ground in Australia.

The AREMI project came about in response to the fact that, while a large amount of mapping data and information relevant to the renewable energy industry is currently collected, it has traditionally been housed by different agencies and institutions.

Without a central source for storing this information, it could be difficult for utilities and governments to find and compare all of the relevant information for project development.

Now, thanks to the AREMI project, data housed from multiple organisations, including Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, is able to be consolidated and housed together.

The resulting tool is a unique platform that provides free, open access to spatial data for the renewable energy industry, allowing users to share mapping data and information easily.

Geoscience Australia provides hosting for the platform, while the Clean Energy Council fulfils the role of industry liaison partner.

The mapping platform was developed by CSIRO’s Data61, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $2.1 million in funding towards the project.

AREMI is led by the NICTA Environment Business Team, developing leading edge predictive analytics and spatial visualisation tools for improved environmental resource management.

Key benefits

AREMI makes it easier for renewable energy projects to get off the ground in Australia. The tool provides a “one stop shop” for all open geospatial data relevant to the energy sector from government, industry and research.

Energy project developers can freely access spatial information such as existing electricity infrastructure to assist with site identification.

State and local governments can use the open data AREMI provides to assist with environmental and regulatory planning approvals, and tracking and promoting projects in their region.

The AREMI platform enables financiers and investors to explore the potential success of proposed ventures, and AREMI also acts as a repository for ARENA-funded mapping projects, to enable their access in one consolidated location.

How does it work?

The AREMI platform looks like Google Earth, with layers of data and information that can be turned on and off. The open source, three-dimensional mapping platform converts and visually displays information in a web browser without the need for external software or plugins.

The AREMI project was developed using the Cesium platform developed by Data61 – an open source, internet browser based visualisation platform.

It is possible for multiple data sets to be displayed and compared – for example, map tiles from Google, elevation data from Geoscience Australia and solar resource data from the Bureau of Meteorology can all be compared at the same time.

For example, it can be used to compare mapping data: electricity, geothermal and land use data from Geoscience Australia; water and climate data from the Bureau of Meteorology; solar data from other ARENA projects; and statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Users can overlay multiple data sets such as population, infrastructure, power utilities and protected habitats or even their own internal data services.

The map can also be set up to show data such as live NEM power generation. Users can click on each power station for detailed information on their energy production, and can also visually compare power stations that are running at a very high percentage of their maximum capacity versus those running at a very low percentage of their maximum capacity, for example, at any given time.

In addition, users can also overlay multiple sets of data such as population, infrastructure, power utilities and protected habitats, or even their own internal data services.

The mapping platform also:

  • Enables users to store and access geospatial data and information from multiple sources
  • Allows users to search and visualise multiple data layers in 3D, and to produce and export high resolution maps
  • Provide enabling tools and information to boost development and deployment of renewable energy in Australia

Where to now

AREMI is available at www.nationalmap.gov.au/renewables, and Geoscience Australia will host the tool until at least July 2019.

NICTA’s team of software engineers and user experience designers are requesting feedback on the tool – users can share live thoughts and feedback through the AREMI website.

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