Vegetation Information System: Maps

The Vegetation Information System (VIS) map module aims to support discovery and access to existing vegetation map information. It is a catalogue of non-standardised historic and contemporary NSW vegetation maps. This map catalogue contains:

  • geographical information system (GIS) data
  • metadata, including technical reports
  • images of cartographic map products, where available.

Work is underway to develop specifications for two standard NSW vegetation map products in 2012:

  • a state-wide regional scale vegetation map
  • a local fine scale vegetation map.

Vegetation type maps

Vegetation type maps classify and map vegetation by communities, floristic or structural typologies. There are more than 400 vegetation type maps held in the VIS map catalogue, including historic and contemporary vegetation maps of varying quality, currency and typology. Therefore, users need to carefully select maps from the catalogue that are appropriate for their use.

The catalogue is actively maintained to incorporate new datasets as they become available, and to update existing holdings with corrections or revisions supplied by data custodians. Each dataset is assigned a unique and permanent VIS identification number to assist data tracking and synchronisation between systems.

The map catalogue consists of several technical components including ‘Maintenance’ and ‘Delivery’ enterprise geodatabases. Map data, reports, and metadata maintained in these databases are publicly available through the following systems:

The SIX Vegetation Channel has been removed.

A replacement viewer will be available via the OEH Open Data Portal soon. Further advice will be posted on this web page.

  • OEH Spatial data catalogue and data download site: Use this application to search for and then download vegetation map data (ESRI shape files) technical reports, metadata and occasional cartographic maps. Users will be prompted to register prior to downloading individual data packages. Most datasets are available under a general data licence agreement which users can accept online.
  • List of maps:  The maps held in the map catalogue include the date that maps where uploaded or last revised.
  • Vegetation extent and conditions maps

    In addition to type maps held in the VIS map catalogue, there are a number of important ancillary vegetation data products now available through the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). These include vegetation extent, vegetation condition, ground cover and biomass. An overview and access to these products are available from Vegetation extent and condition products.


    All map products held in the VIS have ANZLIC compliant metadata (AS/NZS ISO 19115:2005) available. This metadata is publicly searchable through the OEH Spatial data catalogue and data download site  or through the NSW Spatial Data Catalogue. For users who want to create ANZLIC compliant metadata but do not have access to a corporate online metadata creation system you may consider using the ANZMet Lite metadata collection application.

    Standards and guidelines

    Links to the National Vegetation Information System

    The National Vegetation Information System (NVIS) and Attribute Manual (version 6) were developed by the Australian Government in partnfership with the states as a means of standardising a variety of vegetation maps and products. The NSW VIS uses the NVIS Framework in the following ways:

    • NVIS levels 5 & 6 attributes have been adopted in all modules of the NSW VIS and are used to standardise the description and representation of vegetation types, based on relationships between structural and floristic information. This simplifies data transfer between systems and ensures maximum extensibility of the type classification.
    • A NSW instance of the NVIS system (referred to as nswNVIS) has been installed by OEH. New maps that describe vegetation types according to NVIS (levels 5 & 6) attributes are periodically loaded into nswNVIS and exported to the national NVIS to meet a range of national reporting requirements.
    • As the quality of map data in the nswNVIS improves, it is expected that this system will be used increasingly to meet NSW reporting needs, and to generate specialist maps including candidate koala habitat maps and threatened ecological community maps.

    Data licensing

    Primary custodianship (and/or ownership) of datasets held in the NSW VIS map catalogue may reside with OEH, councils, catchment management authorities, private individuals or other government agencies. These data are held, displayed and distributed under appropriate licence agreements with the relative custodian. If you have concerns about data which is displayed please contact us at 

    How can I contribute?

    Ongoing improvement to the VIS map catalogue relies on contributions and feedback from data custodians and users. If you are aware of a data sets not currently held in the VIS catalogue that you would like to see added please contact the VIS team at . Similarly if you detect errors in existing map data or are aware of supplementary or more up to date information, please provide us with the details and we will liase with the data custodian to ensure updates or corrections are implemented. 

    More information

    For more information contact:

    Page last updated: 12 November 2015