Introduction – Peter J Bowen

Colleagues, I’m pleased to join this network of like minded players and welcome the opportunity to share with you knowledge, information and data gained over many decades in this space and continue to contribute to help make a difference.

My substantive employment role is as the Principal Geospatial Scientist and Manager Geospatial Services for the National Native Title Tribunal, an Australian (Federal) Government agency with responsibilities associated with the Native Title Act (1993) which was enacted in response to the Mabo decision in 1992.

In this role I’m national custodian of the spatial content of all native title matters, including claims, determinations, Indigenous Land Use Agreements and future act applications. To facilitate knowledge and awareness of native title matters the strategy three fold:

  • Firstly to bring together (acquire and/or capture) spatial and aspatial data that reflects the area covered by these native title matters and where possible spatially align these to underpinning baseline framework or reference data such as land and mining cadastres, physical features and the like – subject to how they have been technically (and legally defined). These datasets are published and made freely available at – updated monthly and in ESRI, MapInfo or KML formats. Alternatively they can be sourced transactionally from us.
  • Secondly to provide standard information products – maps, geometrics, etc – again published and made freely available at to assist clients and stakeholders understand the “where” dimensions and activity. These products are provided at national, state/territory and regional scales and published quarterly.
  • Thirdly to provide online access to visualise, enquire and map a clients interest or spatial relationships with respect to native title matters. This has been achieved through our award winning and intuitive Native TitleVision (NTV) – a web-based extranet solution.  A user account is needed to access NTV at and this can be readily obtained (at no cost) by emailing Users can create standard A4 and A3 maps with their annotations included (points, lines, areas, symbols, text) and email to share content.

To achieve the above strategy it has required bringing together a great team of spatial scientists, establishing partnerships with data custodians (mainly government) and with clients to allow spatial expertise to be contributed to the solution of resolving native title and in doing so assist in closing the gap between Indigenous and Non Indigenous Australians.

I’m pleased to add as part of the team we were successful in commencing an Indigenous Spatial Traineeship program which resulted in the successful completion of an Associate Diploma in Spatial Services and now appointment as a Geospatial Officer.

In my professional life I have been active in the spatial information industry (and other permutations of the same) and was National President and Chair of Executive of Mapping Sciences Institute Australia prior to being a leader in the unification of 5 associations to form the Spatial Sciences Institute. As an inugural Director I also has a role as Chair of the Cartography Commission, assisted in establishing the spatial certification program and development of the International/National Relationships program with kindred organisations. Of interest to AMN participants, I was also a driver in establishing a Spatial Indigenous Network – but work still to be done.

I also have a strong affiliation with Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia, being chair of the Spatial Sciences Advisory Board (covers surveying, cartography, GISc, remote sensing and geodesy).

As an information sharer I have presented and been published on more occassions that I need to remember. I also mentor – both physically and virtually.

My most recent publication was a chapter in the book – Comparative Perspectives on Communal Lands and Individual Ownership – Sustainable Futures. This is a new body of work published in 2010 that may be of interest to AMN participants. Suggest finding it in a Library as the cost is high.

Look forward to being a contributor.

All the best.

Peter J Bowen

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