December 14, 2007
An important tool for protecting
Australia’s precious natural environment and agricultural
industries has been updated and improved.
A CSIRO team at the Tasmanian
ICT Centre has recently completed a comprehensive upgrade of the
Australian Plant Pest Database (APPD), a national online
database of pests and diseases of Australia's economically
Dr Ian Naumann of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry says that the APPD is a powerful tool for decision
“The APPD provides information on the existence and geographic
location of plant pests and diseases and provides a capability
vital to the national economy,” he says.
“It provides critical support to decision making during
emergency management of incursions by exotic species and is a
powerful tool for evaluating proposals for new imports and
supporting measures to exclude potentially harmful organisms.”
The initial phase of the project, completed in April 2002,
allowed searching across a number of reference collections that
include pest and disease records held by a large number of
organisations across the country.
Previously, only a relatively small number of these collections
had transferred information into databases that were accessible
to agencies and organisations involved in plant health. The
linking of these to create a larger, Internet-based, national
database was therefore a major step forward, achieved through a
partnership of CSIRO and Plant Health Australia.
“Part of the current upgrade has been to convert the current
distributed APPD system into a central data warehouse with
automated refresh of the information from source databases,”
says Michael Kennett of the Tasmanian ICT Centre.
“The upgrade has also made the APPD more efficient, secure and
powerful, and improved its ease of use.”
The new system has now been deployed nationally after
comprehensive testing. The project builds on a data management
capability being developed within the Tasmanian ICT Centre. The
administration and hosting of the APPD is performed by Plant
Health Australia as part of the Company’s ‘National system of
plant health information’ program.
The Tasmanian ICT Centre is jointly funded by the Australian
Government through the Intelligent Island Program and CSIRO. The
Intelligent Island Program is administered by the Tasmanian
Department of Economic Development.
A large number of partner organisations including Universities,
State and Federal Government departments and CSIRO contribute to