What is the NEII?

The National Environmental Information Infrastructure (NEII) is an information platform designed to improve discovery, access and re-use of nationally significant environmental data. It is comprised of a network of standards-based IT components, which have been developed in collaboration with a number of technical and strategic partners.

The Bureau of Meteorology is leading the development of the information infrastructure with our partners in the National Environmental Information Infrastructure Reference Group.

Why do we need an NEII?

Governments, industry and the community need comprehensive, trusted and timely environmental information to make sound decisions about Australia’s natural assets. The nation invests significant resources in acquiring, managing and delivering environmental information. At the national level this includes data and information for:

  • weather, climate and water monitoring and prediction services, earth science and national mapping programmes
  • biodiversity assessment and management, land use and land management
  • input to national and international environmental reporting obligations, such as the State of the Environment and State of the Forests reports.

Significant investment also occurs through research infrastructure activities supported by the National Research Infrastructure, the National Environmental Science Program, the Cooperative Research Centres Program, and activities within CSIRO and in academia.

However users can find it difficult to discover, access and re-use environmental information because it often only exists within individual organisations or environmental domains (e.g. within atmospheric or marine communities). Furthermore, where data can be found, access can be problematic because:

  • data may use agency-specific or domain-specific proprietary file formats
  • increasing data volumes make data delivery difficult, data licensing may be restricted
  • not all agencies are equipped to provide data and outreach services.

The National Environmental Information Infrastructure provides a framework to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of finding and using environmental information, thereby increasing the value of our nation’s investment.

How does it relate to other initiatives?

Development of the NEII also recognises the importance of improving transparency of government information. It aligns with the principles championed by the Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement, the Declaration of Open Government, Big Data Strategy, and the National Principles for Environmental Information. Activities under the Foundation Spatial Data Framework are also important given their focus on standards and interoperability.

Where required, the NEII programme collaborates with these initiatives to ensure strategic and technical alignment occurs to jointly realise a national information transparency and interoperability agenda.

Links to related national and international initiatives: