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Vegetation Information and Mapping External Scientific Advisory Committee Terms of Reference


The role of the Vegetation Information and Mapping External Scientific Advisory Committee is to provide ongoing quality-assured independent scientific advice to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to ensure that it maintains consistency with accepted standards, addresses the long-term strategic needs of the NSW Government and recognises specific user requirements when undertaking state-wide, regional and local mapping projects.


The objectives of the committee are to provide independent scientific advice to OEH on:

  • recommended best-practice technologies for description, analysis, mapping of native vegetation
  • technical and methodological advances in the areas of remote sensing, vegetation classification and description and mapping of vegetation communities
  • efficiency in survey design and data collection
  • field validation, and other validation methods, to assure delivery of products to agreed standards
  • techniques for modelling vegetation communities to inform mapping.


The Vegetation Information and Mapping External Scientific Advisory Committee will provide OEH with:

  • advice on current best-practise and emerging improvements in processes and methods for vegetation survey, classification and mapping
  • advice on application of digital stereo interpretation technology and opportunities for data blending (e.g. LiDAR with ADS40) for both visual and analytical interpretation of vegetation
  • advice on the rationale, design, application and performance measurement of computer-assisted mapping technologies such as pattern recognition and automated feature capture to complement manual stereoscopic interpretation methods
  • advice on methods for diagnosis of vegetation types and application of plant community distribution modelling
  • advice on current and emerging best-practice for assessing accuracy of vegetation mapping
  • assistance in reviewing and updating the NSW Native Vegetation Type Standard
  • undertaking or facilitating scientific peer review of methodologies proposed for vegetation mapping projects undertaken by OEH
  • support to identify and facilitate links with academic institutions, government agencies and the private sector that share a mutual interest in vegetation mapping and survey
  • advice on, and potential opportunities for, new research projects to enhance OEH survey and mapping practices, and
  • endorsing or otherwise of methods and proposals presented to the Committee. The Committee will not be asked to endorse end products.

Composition of the committee

The committee will have an independent Chair and a Deputy Chair. The Deputy Chair will assist the Chair and fulfil the Chair role for any meetings the Chair is not able to attend. The Deputy Chair role will be filled by the Executive Director of the Science Division, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), with review after 12 months.

The committee will comprise scientists with expertise in one or more of the following fields:

  • remote sensed imagery analysis and manipulation (including LiDAR, satellite or digital aerial sources and aerial imagery interpretation)
  • spatial modelling of plant species and communities
  • application of pattern recognition technologies and other automated object-based feature capture
  • floristic survey design, classification and analysis, and the application of plant taxonomy
  • vegetation ecology of NSW.

Membership will be sufficiently broad to cover all components of an active vegetation mapping program. If it is determined that additional scientific expertise is required, further scientific appointments may be made.

The panel will be appointed by the Chief Executive of OEH. Committee members will be appointed for two years, with the option to reappoint.


The advisory committee will provide regular reports to the Chief Executive of OEH.

An annual report will be prepared by the advisory committee outlining activities and summarising the advice provided.


The advisory committee will meet face-to-face twice a year. The costs of these meetings will be borne by OEH.

Committee business will also be conducted by electronic conferencing where necessary and feasible.



Page last updated: 06 October 2016