Frequently asked questions

DEA Map Operation

Where is the DEA Map User Manual? There isn't one! All user interface features of the DEA Map are either obvious from the interface or are described in this “Help”. The Map has been carefully designed to be as easy to use as possible. Our user experience design team run regular usability testing sessions, the results of which are then assessed for inclusion in releases.
What browsers work with DEA Map? It is best to use a browser with WebGL support such as the latest versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer 11. It will also work in some older browsers (for example IE9 and IE10) but the map rendering will be limited. It may not support 3D rendering of maps, so the **3D Terrain** option may show the same result as **3D Smooth**.
What types are spatial data are displayed by DEA Map? There are three types of spatial data which are read from the data sources and displayed by DEA Map over its base maps:

Point Click on any point to see more information about that particular point feature.

Line Click on any line to see more information about that particular line feature.

Region Click within any region to see more information about that region.

Why do "3D Terrain" and "3D Smooth" Perspective Views look the same on my computer? Some older computers do not have graphics cards which fully support WebGL and some older browsers do not make use of this support even if it is present. The DEA Map requires this support in order to support 3D Terrain Perspective View.

Try upgrading your browser to the latest version. If that still does not work, you may need to consider working on a computer that has more recent graphics support.

Why does the terrain in my perspective view have two different hues? DEA Map automatically changes the content of the map according to the scale at which you're viewing. If you zoom in it shows more detail. At some points in the zoom range, the map display switches from high altitude photography to lower altitude photography. These sets of the photography are not colour matched to each other, so may have quite different hues. The actual photography scales used, the date of that photography and its lighting conditions will vary across Australia. When you are using Perspective View the part of the terrain nearest to the "camera position" is naturally shown at a larger scale than the more distant parts. Depending on your zoom level, this can result in the foreground being displayed with a different set of photography from the distant parts of your Perspective View.
How can I save my current data selection and view? 1. Select the datasets that you would like to save. Adjust the view to the desired view. 2. Create a share URL by clicking the "Share / Print" button at the top right. 3. Copy the generated share URL and email the URL to yourself, or save it in Favourites.
I need more help to use the DEA Map. Who can I ask? Send your question to the DEA Map support email address, which is or use the Feedback functionality at the bottom right corner of the map.

DEA Map System and Data

Where does the spatial data come from?? In most cases the spatial data being displayed is coming straight from the various data custodians included in the platform. For some datasets which are not available in a format possible to display on the map, these have been transformed and are hosted by DEA Map with the data custodians’ permission. You can see details of the department or agency that provides the spatial data by clicking About this data in the Data Workbench.
The data I was using are now gone. Where did they go? The spatial data displayed by the DEA Map are referenced directly from the supplying department or agency by the DEA Map server. If that supplying department or agency updates or removes any data, that change will be reflected immediately by the DEA Map.

If you have any questions about the spatial data, you will need to contact the supplying department or agency.

What can I do if I encounter errors when I try to add data to my workbench? With DEA Map application harvesting data from various custodians in real time, it is highly dependent on the reliability of those services. There are many types of errors which can be encountered when data is selected:
  • Dataset hangs and possibly freezes the screen - that is because the application in your browser is trying to show an unusually large file.

  • 404, 500, 501, 503 etc. and other common errors which mean data services are not available due to server hosting those datasets temporarily having issues.

  • Dataset doesn't hang, no error message is displayed, but it doesn't show on the map.

What you can do:

  • Come back to the dataset later (it might have been a temporary outage of the custodian server).

  • Refresh the view and clear the cache (i.e. "browsing history").

  • When there is no visible error, try first "zoom to extent" functionality or just zoom in very closely (under 100m) into an area of interest and wait for the app to "load" the images. Monitor the "loading" through the "load progress bar" at the very top of the map.

Where do the base maps come from? The base maps displayed by the DEA Map come from a number of difference sources including Microsoft’s Bing, Geoscience Australia and NASA. They are downloaded from the source as they are required, so they are as up to date as that service provides.
Why are location / address labels incorrectly positioned? Locations/addresses are part of the base maps provided by Bing Maps, Geoscience Australia, NASA and OpenStreet Maps. The DEA Map is dependent on those providers updates. For example, Bing Maps updated the Australian maps in February 2017: For correcting those location errors, users have to address them directly to the base maps providers.
Who developed the DEA Map? The DEA Map was developed by Data61 in collaboration with the Australian Government. See the About page from more information.
Who owns the spatial data on DEA Map? Can I use it and distribute it? Before distributing any data from the DEA Map it is important to understand the licence restriction for the data. All Data Sets displayed by the DEA Map are the property of the department or agency which has provided them.

Therefore the restrictions for each Data Set may be quite different. The licence which governs the usage and distribution restrictions for each Data Set is shown in the About this data for the Data Set. To Display this information click on the title of your preferred data set in the Data Catalogue.

How reliable is the spatial data on the DEA Map? The reliability will vary between data sets. To understand the reliability of a particular data set, click on the title of the data set in question in the Data Catalogue for more information. The metadata which is shown in the Data Catalogue may offer sufficient information or you may need to contact the listed data provider.
Why can I see the whole world on the DEA Map? Most of the DEA Map base maps are provided by services for the whole world. There is no value in suppressing the display of the rest of the world, so you can view it if you wish. (Take a look at Mt Everest or the Grand Canyon in perspective view - they’re cool!)

Obviously, the DEA Map data does not cover the rest of the world!

Will more data sets be added to the DEA Map? That depends on the supplying departments or agencies, who must make the data available and the Drought Taskforce and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet teams currently managing the application.

Reporting issues and providing feedback

I think I've found a bug. How do I report it? Email us on to report the problem. Be sure to include a step by step description of how to reproduce the problem.
I'd love a new feature. Can I suggest it? Absolutely! Just email your suggestion to or use the Feedback functionality at the bottom right corner of the map.
I think there’s an error in some data. How can I find out if it’s correct or report the problem? You will need to refer to the department or agency which provides the Data Set which contains the issue. Click on the title of your preferred data set in the Data Catalogue to find out which department or agency provides that data.