OzCoasts is a publicly accessible website which provides comprehensive information about Australia’s coasts (including its estuaries and coastal waterways) to natural resource managers, marine scientists, planners, policy makers and the general public. This information helps to generate a better understanding of Australia’s coastal environments. The content of OzCoasts represents the collaborative efforts of more than 100 coastal scientists from a wide range of government agencies and universities.
OzCoasts was originally called OzEstuaries with domain name of ozestuaries.org, and was developed during the first National Land and Water Resources Audit (NLWRA, 2000) to incorporate the Australian Estuarine Database and estuarine datasets compiled at that time. The site was upgraded by Geoscience Australia in partnership with the Coastal CRC in 2003, to incorporate the conceptual models of ecosystem function and the coastal indicator and issue fact sheets, and subsequently in February 2006 with the addition of new datasets, images, research documents and 3D visualisations of coastal benthic environments. In May 2007, the content of the OzCoast module at the former Coastal CRC website was merged into OzEstuaries in the format of an Environmental Management module (now in module of Natural Resource Management) and the site underwent a name change to OzCoast and OzEstuaries with domain name of ozcoasts.org.au. The site was re-released under the name OzCoasts in July 2008 as part of a second collaborative project with the NLWRA that saw the addition of a new NRM reporting module (now called Natural Resource Management) to the site. The OzCoasts website was formally launched on August 20, 2008 during the Coast to Coast conference in Darwin. The Landform & Stability Maps module incorporating the smartline maps was released in June 2009. The module was developed through a partnership between Geoscience Australia and the Federal Department of Climate Change that also included the University of Tasmania and Surf Life Saving Australia. At the same time, conceptual models of major beach types were added to the website, and the Geomorphology & Geology module underwent a name-change to Habitat Mapping. The beach conceptual models were developed as part of the Australian Beach Safety and Management Program (ABSAMP), which was a long-term collaborative project between the University of Sydney and Surf Life saving Australia. At the conclusion of 2009, the contents of the Environmental Management and the NRM Reporting modules were merged, and the combined module was renamed Natural Resource Management. 2010 saw the release of a two new beach searches (name and spatial), and a climate change module (currently removed). The beach content was developed in collaboration with Professor Andrew Short (University of Sydney) and Surf Life Saving Australia. The climate change module was developed in collaboration with the former Ferderal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. The Tropical Rivers Module was released in March 2012. It was developed in partnership with the Griffith University node of the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) consortium and Boab Interactive. Geoscience Australia web-developed the Coastal Eutrophication Risk Assessment Tool (CERAT) for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and released it in early November 2012. In June 2018, the OzCoasts website was redeveloped with the aim of making it a community resource with content provided and authored by coastal experts around Australia. The bulk of the site moved to new infrastructure which is maintained by the CSIRO. The site is now maintained by the CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the National Estuaries Network with contributions from many others.