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Finding and Using Data

Finding Data in SEED

Finding data in SEED

There are numerous ways to find data in SEED. You can search for:

  • All the data in SEED
  • Data that matches a search term (like ‘petroleum’)
  • Data associated with a location or region – either from the datasets page or from the map
  • Data that is contained within one or more categories (like ‘Inland Waters’)
  • Search for datasets from the SEED map

Listing all the data in SEED

To see a listing of all the data in SEED, select the 'Dataset catalogue' link:

Dataset catalogue banner

When you search for datasets in SEED (or select 'Dataset catalogue' on the SEED menu bar), any matching datasets are displayed on the Search Results page.

You can use the options on this page to:

  • select a dataset to view details
  • refine the criteria to be more specific about the datasets you want to see
  • select one or more datasets to view on the map
  • change the order of results.
    Inland waters

To find out more about a dataset

Each dataset is displayed with its title, summary description and formats of the applicable data and resource files. For more information about a dataset, click its title:

NSW Koala tree indices.PNG (

Refining the criteria

The Search Results page includes some filters that you can use alone or in combination to display specific types of datasets. These are:

  • Category: Select one or more environmental categories to see datasets that belong to that category.
  • Organisation: The organisation that manages/created the dataset.
  • Format: Use this if you want to view only those datasets that have resources in a particular format; for example, those that can be viewed on the SEED map.
  • Tags: Keywords associated with the dataset.


Finding data that matches a search term

To find data that matches a specific search term, use the Search bar on either the SEED Home page or the search results page:

5. Petroleum.jpg

Use quotations marks around your search terms to find an exact phrase, for example, "regional land use".

If 'no results' are returned, it may be that:

  • you are searching for a location. The search bar is for keyword (subject) searches only. (See below for location searches.)
  • the type of data you are looking for is outside the current scope of SEED (environmental data), or
  • the word(s) you are using are not included in the information that is searched by SEED (the dataset's title, description, category, tags and some metadata fields).

Selecting datasets to view on the map

  • To view a single dataset on the SEED map, click on the 'Show on SEED Map' button underneath the dataset description. Note: Not all datasets are able to be viewed on the SEED map.
  • To view multiple datasets on the map, tick the 'Add to Selection' checkbox next to the required datasets (a maximum of 5 is recommended). Then in the message area at the top of the search results you can review and/or delete your selections. When you have finished making your selection, click the 'View on Map' button at the top of all the search results.

Note: There is no limit to the number of datasets that can be displayed at one time; however, more than five or so will make it difficult to see the data and slow the response rate of the map.

Finding data by location or region

To find data associated with a particular location or region you can use either of the following methods:

  • Search for datasets that intersect a specific LGA (Local Government Area): on the Dataset catalogue page, select your required LGA from the 'LGA' dropdown list.
  • Go to the SEED map to define the search area. You can do this by zooming in to the location, or by searching for your location using 'I want to... Search for a Location'. Then use 'I want to... Search for datasets on map' to find any data that intersects your current zoom extent. For more details see Finding locations and data on the map.


  • SEED determines whether a dataset is relevant to a particular location based on the geographic extent defined by the data custodian. This may result in a geographic search returning datasets that have no features visible in your current zoom extent. For example, if the extent is set to 'NSW' then the dataset will be considered relevant to every location.
  • The main search bar on the Dataset Catalogue page (and search results page) is for subject-based searches only. You cannot use it to search by location.

Finding data by Geospatial Category

Datasets in SEED have been classified using Geospatial Categories, such as Farming or Oceans, as defined by the US Geological Survey. To see all datasets belonging to a specific category, select the required Category from the filter options on the Dataset Catalogue or Search Results page.

To further refine the results, select a category as described above, and also type one or more words into the Search bar.

What data and resource formats are available?

The labels under each dataset provide a quick indication of the formats of the available data resources. These vary between datasets.

A summary of each is included here, but for a more detailed description see About datasets.



SEED Web Map Indicates the dataset can be viewed on the SEED Map.
PDF Includes the Metadata Statement, Data Quality Statement, and any other written report that may be available in PDF format.
XML May include the Metadata Statement or other Resources available in XML web format
URL Indicates a link to an external website containing additional information or resources.
XLS Microsoft Excel file.
WMS, WMTS,WFS Web Map Service, Web Map Tile Service, Web Feature Service. These are mediums for sending geospatial data across the Web
Esri Web Service A GIS resource that is located on an ArcGIS Server site and is available to client apps.
SHP (Shape file.) An ESRI vector data format for storing the location, shape and attributes of geographic features
MDB A format used by Microsoft Access.



Changing the order of results

To change the display order of your search results, select an option from the 'Order by' dropdown list located at the top of the results: 

  • Relevance: Datasets that most closely match your search criteria.
  • Name Ascending: In alphabetical order from A to Z
  • Name Descending: In reverse alphabetical order.
  • Last Modified: In order of the date the datasets were last modified
  • Popular: Orders the datasets by their popularity.

Searching for datasets from the SEED map

You can also search for datasets from the SEED map page. This will do a geographic search of datasets that intersect your current zoom extent.

To do this, go to the SEED map and zoom to your area of interest. Then select ‘I want to… Search for Datasets on Map’. This will enable a search field in the left-hand panel:

Search for datasets on map


Either leave the field blank (to search for all datasets relevant to the region you can currently see on the map), or enter a search term. Then select the Search button. Any matching datasets will be listed in the left-hand panel.

Each dataset includes an option to ‘Toggle Visibility’ underneath the dataset name. You can select and deselect this to display and remove the data from the map.

Note: some of the datasets will not have the functionality to be viewed on the SEED map. It is currently not possible to remove the ‘Toggle Visibility’ link for these datasets. If you click ‘Toggle Visibility’ for one of these datasets you will get an error message “This dataset does not have spatial data associated with it”. In that case you can simply move on to another dataset to view on the map, or click on the Metadata link for more information about that particular dataset, which may include the option to download the data or view it in other applications (eg ArcGIS online or Google Earth).

Toggle visibility


The final method (from within the map) is to select from a list of all datasets grouped by organisation. To do this, select the 'Tools' button then 'Layer Catalog'. (In map terminology, datasets are called ‘layers’ because they display as layers on top of one another.)

Layer Catalog

This displays a list of the organisations that have contributed data to SEED:

Map layer catalogue


Select the + sign next to an organisation to expand it and see the datasets associated with that organisation. Keep expanding through the layers and select the checkboxes next to any layers you wish to display. Click 'OK' to see the layer or layers displayed in the map.

The legend(s) for the layers will appear in the left-hand panel. If you wish to see the list of layers currently in the map, click the Panel Actions Menu button (with four horizontal lines) at the top of the left-hand panel and select 'Layer List'. From the Layer List if you select the > button to the right of the layer name then you may have the option to:

  • Adjust the opacity (transparency)
  • Remove the layer from the map
  • Display the metadata for the dataset
  • Zoom to full extent
  • Zoom to visible extent (for some datasets it is necessary to zoom in on the map before the data will display)

If a layer name appears grey, this means that you are not zoomed in enough to view that layer. The name will turn black when you are zoomed in sufficiently to see the data.