TERN Australian Coastal Ecosystems Facility (2013 – 2017)

January 1st, 2013

The Australian Coastal Ecosystems Facility (ACEF) was a facility of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Infrastructure (TERN) from 2013 to 2017 that aimed at enabling long-term collection and distribution of key coastal datasets for use in making policy and management decisions about the protection and use of Australia’s coastal assets.

At that time, TERN was supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and the Super Science Initiative

Australian Coastal Ecosystems Facility Logo Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network Logo Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

The strategic goal for ACEF was to:

Enable the distribution of coastal ecosystem research data and information and build on a well- established community that spans government agencies, professional societies, community groups, universities and research institutions. The ACEF strategy is to value-add to existing state and federal investments, to develop integrated biophysical, environmental condition and ecological datasets that are discoverable and publically accessible.


National Environmental Information Infrastructure (NEII)

Component diagram of the National Environmental Information Infrastructure (NEII)

National Environmental Information Infrastructure (NEII)

ACEF followed the pattern for the National Environmental Information Infrastructure (NEII), which was based around a series of standards, linked services and interoperable components for delivering environmental information in Australia in a way that could:

  • Deliver multiple types of datasets in ways which users can interact with easily and quickly
  • Include Monitoring data, model data, spatial data
  • Minimise the level of manipulation required to combine datasets
  • Allow end users to extract data from multiple sources

ACEF Components

The components of ACEF that were constructed and hosted by CSIRO’s Coastal Informatics Team were:

  • Geospatial Information Services (GIS) Data Catalogs, including:
    • A GeoNetwork metadata catalog
    • GeoServer, re-hosting open-access spatial datasets relevant to the Australia’s coasts.
    • THREDDS server, serving NetCDF datasets relevant to Australia’s coasts
  • A GIS Portal allowing the datasets from the GIS catalogs listed above to be explored and visualised.
  • A website, providing a landing page for the acef.tern.org.au domain name, and a place to link to third-party sources of Australian coastal data, including photographic and video data  and information about continuous water quality monitoring.
Screenshot of the ACEF GeoPortal made in approximately 2016

ACEF Coastal Data Portal, circa 2016

Screenshot of the ACEF GeoNetwork metadata catalog made in 2016

ACEF GeoNetwork Metadata Catalog, circa 2016

Screenshot of the ACEF GeoServer made in 2016

ACEF GeoServer Data Catalog, circa 2016


Decommissioning ACEF

In June 2017, TERN decided that they would be consolidating data services in the next four years, and would be moving away from the Facilities mode of operation.  They also decided that the Coastal domain would no longer form part of TERN’s area of interest, and thus the ACEF Facility should be decommissioned.

As part of the decommissioning process,  key datasets and associated metadata records were transferred to IMOS , while the data services became part of OzCoasts.   The ACEF website remained online as an unofficial resource for some years, until it was permanently decommissioned in July 2024.

Screenshot of the ACEF website made in July 2024

Landing page of the ACEF Website at the time of final decommissioning in July 2024