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Australia's Plan to Make a Digital Representation of Everything

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A satellite view of Australia at night.

A 10-year research program run by Australias Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is aimed at building a complete digital representation of the country.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has a 10-year plan to build a "historical, current, and future digital representation of everything" in the country by 2025 under the Oznome research program.

Oznome will begin with the digitization of environmental data, and it aims to find a means to aggregate data from government agencies, researchers, private firms, and citizen scientists to offer unprecedented comprehension of how various different systems are interlinked.

A long-term goal of the project could be integrating historical data to generate sophisticated models to predict future events. To realize this milestone, "we need to solve the problem of finding data, accessing it, and making sure it's usable and interoperable," says CSIRO researcher David Lemon.

The technical challenge involves building a platform that enables researchers to easily search for and find data streams in a consistent and clear format, especially when data-handling technologies are rapidly maturing.

An even more formidable challenge is the cultural change needed to get data owners willing to share their information. "We know from past projects looking at land management, water availability, hydrological modeling, ground water, and water quality that an interdisciplinary approach is key," says Oznome project leader Jonathan Yu. "But the data infrastructure doesn't typically exist."

From New Scientist
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