Surat Coal Basin


The World Energy Congress (WEC) was held in Sydney, 5th – 9th September, 2004. A major exhibitor at the WEC was "Invest Australia", an initiative of the Australian Federal Government (see and had representatives from Australia’s key players in the "Energy Industry".

They were The Australian Sustainable Industry Research Centre (ASERC), The Centre for Energy and Greenhouse Technologies (CEGT), The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), The NSW Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability (DEUS), The NSW Department of State and Regional Development (DSRD), The Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA), Invest Australia, Ilum-a-Lite, Latrobe Valley, Northern Territory Government, Queensland Government, Department of Primary Industries and Resources, South Australia (SA), The Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau (SCVB), Surpac Minex Group (SURPAC), Sydney Gas Ltd, T3Energy, UCC Energy Pty Ltd and Western Australia Department of Industry and Resources.

The Queensland Government component of the booth consisted of a high-end Hewlett Packard graphics workstation driving a 48" plasma screen with a smaller flatpanel monitor running in conjunction. The plasma screen was also hooked up to a DVD player thus enabling both computer driven interactive "fly throughs" and "canned" demos on CD and DVD. 

VizMAP was there as the technical consultant for the Queensland Government, having just completed and delivered 4 interactive 3D Fly-through databases of Queensland’s Surat Energy Province. These were commissioned by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (QDNRM) to be demonstrated at the WEC (and subsequently to interested investors).

Surat Energy Province

Located in southern Queensland, the Surat Basin contains enormous energy resources in the form of thermal coal and gas, and remains largely undeveloped. The region has the potential to support large-scale mining and energy developments and become a significant regional energy and industrial province.

To realise this potential and create the "Surat Energy Resources Province" of the future, major infrastructure investment is firstly required.

The Queensland Government and Invest Australia are working together to promote the potential of the Surat Energy Resources Province. The objective is to pave the way for the significant capital investment required to facilitate development projects in the Surat Basin area.

As custodian of the states natural resources, the Queensland Government has a responsibility to promote sustainable development that benefits the entire Queensland community. The Surat Energy Resources Province provides an excellent opportunity to invest in Queensland’s long-term economic future.

The capital investment, ongoing operating expenditure and payments associated with the long-term development of a large-scale domestic and export thermal coal industry would create thousands of jobs and provide a massive stimulus to the Queensland economy.

More broadly, the combined public and private investment in mines, railways, power stations and coal seam gas projects – together with the availability of coal seam gas water – is seen as a catalyst to general development activity. The Surat Energy Resources Province offers a chance to foster widespread advancement across the state’s economy and society in a similar way to the development of central Queensland over the last 40 years.

The Fly-Throughs using TerraTours

VizMAP was engaged by QDNRM to produce an interactive, "virtual", fly-through of the Surat coal basin, based on a complete orthorectified, colour-matched and mosaiced set of colourised Landsat 5 imagery (~12.5m pixels) and the Geosciences Australia 9" (~250m) DEM of the area. The subject area extended from Gladstone in the north to Brisbane in the south (a distance of about 450km) and west to encompass Miles, Theodore and Moura in the west (an east-west extent of about 350km).

The subject area was broken into three components. The eventual "Brisbane" database extends west from Stradbroke Island (off Brisbane) to include Millmerran in the west and north to Miles. The second "Wandoan" database encompasses most of the Surat Basin, from Wilkie Creek in the south to Moura in the north. The third database, "Gladstone", allows the user to fly north through the Bowen Basin from Dawson to Moura then east to the Port and City of Gladstone. A supplementary database was produced of just the Moura Coal Mine (50km north-south) using orthorectified aerial photography with a 1m pixel and a 5m DEM derived from ground surveys over the mine.

Supplemental to the basic "ortho-on-DEM" fly through were a number of GIS datasets, HTML data sheets, digital photographs, MPEG movies, PDF documents, maps, plans, imagery, topographical detail, etc. that were built into the databases as "queriable" data, i.e. the databases can be "interrogated" whilst the fly-through is being performed to return these documents. 

Visually, GIS polygons for coal basin extents, petroleum leases, mining leases, coal resource layers and mineral development licenses have also been incorporated as colour coded translucent "walls". These are all able to be interrogated to determine the original GIS attribution. 

Also, the 1:100K mapping layer and geological GIS layer have been incorporated as "subsurfaces". Using TerraTours "X-Ray" feature, one can drill down through the ground surface to query these layers to return the local geology and the available topographic mapping in the area.


The visual databases produced by VizMAP for QDNRM were seen to be a resounding success at the WEC, attracting many visitors and potential investors, drawn in by the 48" plasma screen: impressed with the clarity, smooth frame rate and extraordinary detail of the Virtual Surat Energy Province. 


Click on these small resampled images to view the full screen images on the VizMAP website. Bear in mind that these are just screen dumps from a dynamic, interactive, 3D "flythrough".

If you would like more information on this project, let VizMAP know

If you have a need to dynamically visualise your geographic data, let VizMAP knowyour requirements…