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New mapping tool to improve coastal surveillance.



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NEW MAPPING TOOL TO IMPROVE COASTAL SURVEILLANCE 8 February 2001

8 February 2001           01/047

NEW MAPPING TOOL TO IMPROVE COASTAL SURVEILLANCE  Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Warren Entsch, and ACT Senator Margaret Reid, today launched a new electronic tool which will help resolve a range of problems associated with monitoring Australia's vast coastline. 

The new AMBIS 2001 CD produced by AUSLIG, Australia's national mapping agency, contains the most up-to-date definition of Australia's offshore limits which will help the nation assert its rights and responsibilities over an area of ocean roughly the size of the Australian landmass 

Mr Entsch said the fishery, mineral and petroleum resources alone in this area were worth billions of dollars each year. 

"As well as economic value, definition of Australia's maritime zones has strategic and environmental implications, and the new CD product provides that definition accurately and reliably to help prevent activities like people smuggling, illegal fishing and illegal drug imports. 

"The information it provides on Australia's maritime zones will be useful to exploration companies and fisheries authorities and it will satisfy both national and international requirements and obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," Mr Entsch said. 

AMBIS 2001 is derived from the Australian Maritime Boundaries Information System -essentially a comprehensive geographic information system distilled from the latest maps, charts, aerial photographs and satellite imagery. 

Senator Reid said the product is a result of cooperation of State mapping agencies as well as Commonwealth agencies, including AGSO, Attorney General's, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Royal Australian Navy's Hydrographic Office. 

AUSLIG recently completed development of the system using customised software developed in conjunction with the University of Melbourne's Department of Geomatics for computing zone boundaries taking curvature of the earth into account. 

"Few, if any countries have completed such a detailed and accurate definition of their maritime zones," Senator Reid said, "and the quality product we're launching today is a credit to the hard work and dedication of many within our Government agencies in Canberra." 

The zones are belts of water measured from what is known as the territorial sea baseline, generally the low tide mark. AMBIS 2001 provides information on the location of both the baseline and the maritime zones. For more information check out the AUSLIG web site at: http://www.auslig.gov.au/marbound/ambis.htm 

Contact:  Greg Doolan, Mr Entsch's office, 02 6277 4656

                    Lisa McDonald, Senator Reid's office, (02) 6277 3320

CMR050-01  Peter Holland, AUSLIG General Manager, 02 6201 4201

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