An open-source repository and associated software interface which enables end users to plan surveys and check the quality of their seabed data.    

The Challenge:    

Marine data has historically been difficult and expensive to acquire and access, and yet the expectations, value and capabilities associated with marine exploration, conservation and management are increasing with the advancement of new technologies. Quality marine data provides foundational information and new insights to guide policy and decision makers. AusSeabed is a national seabed mapping coordination program. The aim of the AusSeabed Data Hub projects is to deliver an open-source repository and associated software interface which enables end users to plan surveys and then check the quality of their acquired seabed data. 


Geoscience Australia (GA) was the primary partner in this project. Components of the Work Packages to develop the AusSeabed Quality Assurance Tool will be undertaken by Geoscience Australia, CSIRO and the Australian Hydrographic Office, along with FrontierSI and others. 


The Solution:  

FrontierSI’s involvement in the AusSeabed Data Hub has been to develop the Survey Coordination Tool (SCT) and several quality assurance check tools including QAX and Mate. The SCT enables the coordination of bathymetric surveys in Australia’s marine jurisdiction to improve the quality, discoverability, and accessibility of seabed mapping data. The tool represents the first suite of technological solutions intended to support the marine community in developing a consistent approach to the capture of seabed mapping data. It captures three record types: 

  1. Survey plan – records the intended area of interest, specifications and intended deliverable. It supports: 
    1. Adding an upcoming survey.  
    2. Assisting a non-expert user to plan their survey; and   
    3. Allowing a user to plan a survey with specifications and generate documentation to support a tender process 
  2. Survey request – records the information required for submission to the Hydroscheme Industry Partnership Program (HIPP) review panel; and 
  3. Priority area profile – enables an organisation to highlight areas that are of high, medium, and low priority for surveying 

AusSeabed and the Australian Hydrographic Office have defined standards for bathymetric data capture. The quality assurance checks will deliver algorithms that assess the incoming acquired data for its compliance to these standards. The output are warnings, errors, reports, maps, and data that are designed to assist with decision making and debugging data or setup issues. There are two components to the quality assurance check system: 

  1. QAX – an overarching framework and graphical user interface (GUI) designed to enable the creation of checks on multibeam related datasets that are “plugged in” to the framework and GUI.  
  1. MATE – a plugin for QAX that contains the handling, processing, and output requirements for raw multibeam data checks. 
  1. MBES Grid Checks – a plugin for QAX that assesses the quality of processed, or gridded, bathymetry data. These checks assess sounding density, grid resolution, and uncertainty measures against standards. 

Development of SCT commenced mid-2019, with a team size of approximately 1.0 EFT split across business analysis, seabed data domain experts, software developers, and infrastructure engineers. Development was funded by Geoscience Australia, FrontierSI and the Australian Hydrographic Office under the broader AusSeabed program – a multi-sector collaboration.


The SCT will support the coordination of seabed data capture, improve standards of acquired data, increase data utilisation, improve data management, and build expertise within the seabed mapping community. The quality assurance component will improve data accuracy, capture potential problems at source and reduce the overall human time to quality control data. The AusSeabed Data Hub will: 

  • Simplify the complex specification and QA processes 
  • Be a workflow to streamline acquisition and QA. 
  • Improve discoverability of existing or upcoming surveys.  
  • Provide independent QA and standard reports. 
  • Save time and effort via QA/QC automation. 
  • Improve data quality and ensure fit-for-purpose data, enabling re-use; and 
  • Be useful for partners on both sides of delivery.  



To learn more, contact FrontierSI at or connect with Project Manager, Lachlan Hurst, at