Data richness and the impact on geospatial data acquisition

Developing knowledge of data quality and acquisition to improve decision making in several industries.


Scientific decisions typically involve complex decision pathways with multiple outcomes possible from a single starting point. For geospatial data collection, including in geoscience, ecology, hydrology, agriculture, marine and atmospheric sciences, the choice of area and what additional data to acquire there are critical decisions along this pathway.

Risks also need to be considered, such as poorly distributed data, limited data quality, and the costs and timeframe of collecting additional data. Governmental datasets are widely acknowledged as beneficial to industry activity with a substantial return on investment. However, a quantitative assessment of the impact of data is not often performed to support data acquisition decisions.

As such, government departments, research organisations and industry use geospatial products without fully knowing the risks.


Quantitative assessments of availability (density and distance), quality (relevance and precision) and attributes (clarity and characteristics) can be combined across several data sets to give an overall estimate of ‘data richness’. Further, the interdependency of datasets can be examined to measure how much the acquisition of one data set supports.

Project goals:

  • Produce a workflow to provide domain-specific data richness assessments at national scale.
  • Redefine the complex relationship between data acquisition and mineral discovery and the impact of investment in geospatial datasets.

Applications are now open, apply by August 2022!

Suggested readings

Research team leader: Dr Alan Aitken

I am a geophysicist and tectonicist. I have worked extensively in Australia, understanding its geology beneath cover and the value of that geology for mineral deposits. I pursue a broad portfolio of research in other regions of the world and for several applications.

The project is to be co-supervised by a team of researchers in geophysics geology, mathematics and statistics.

Funding and Collaborations


  • This project is supported by the CSIRO AI for Missions program.

External Collaborators:

  • Dr Mark Lindsay (CSIRO)
  • Dr Jens Klump (CSIRO)



How to Apply

  • To be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy, an applicant must demonstrate they have sufficient background experience in independent supervised research to successfully complete, and provide evidence of English language proficiency
  • To be accepted into this program, you will have a strong background in Science with some exposure to methods in geographic information systems, data management, scientific computing (Python, R, Matlab) and statistics (spatial is a bonus).
Submit enquiry to research team leader 
  • Contact the research team leader by submitting an Expression of Interest form via the button below.
  • After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, contact to proceed with your application.



Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
Forrest Foundation scholarships
All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.