National Wilderness Inventory

Australia: Our national stories
Australian Heritage Commission, 2003
ISBN 0 642 23561 9

2. Principles of the New Methodology (continued)

2.2 The Primary Database

The primary database for Remoteness from Access includes all classes of road and vehicle tracks, railways, aircraft landing grounds and other access infrastructure. The Remoteness from Settlement primary database includes permanently occupied places and built up areas.

The Apparent Naturalness primary database includes all built infrastructure, including that mentioned previously. The primary database for Biophysical Naturalness can include a variety of human and biophysical landscape attributes.

When primary data of an appropriate scale and reliability have been assembled, they are entered into a primary data manager or library. This GIS-based library manager facilitates the organisation, management and up-dating of primary data for the NWI program. The degree of confidence which may be placed in final wilderness evaluations depends particularly on the accuracy and precision of the primary data.

This raises issues in so far as change is ubiquitous in the Australian landscape and information about access, settlement and land use is often poorly recorded and not current. Even the most recently available information may be inaccurate and out of date. Field verification may be possible in situations where there are serious doubts as to the validity of information and where accuracy and precision is important, however the expense of these activities is generally prohibitive.

The NWI baseline survey places a heavy reliance on pre-existing, documented primary data sources. Little original data has been collected in the field and only minor field verification and supplementation has been possible. Maintenance and update of the primary database will involve progressive validation and refinement.