- What are Licence Areas?
- Licence Areas and the Australian Census
- Identifying Licence Areas
- Licence Area information
- Conditions of use
- Viewing and using licence area boundary data
The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act) mandates that Commercial and Community broadcasting services are licensed to serve specific geographic areas. These specific geographic areas are referred to as Licence Areas, and are determined in a Licence Area Plan (LAP).
Additionally, services licensed in accordance with s40 of the Act are licensed to serve designated geographic areas, which are also referred to as Licence Areas.
The ACMA defines Licence Areas in terms of areas defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for the purposes of the Australian Census.
The smallest areal unit defined by the ABS is the Collection District (CD), which is nominally the area that can be covered by one Census Collector on the eve of Census Night.
The ABS defines CDs for enumerating people on shipping and aircraft - so called "Offshore & Migratory" CDs. Because these CDs have no defined spatial boundary, the ACMA does not include them in Licence Areas and does not reference them in its representation of ABS Statistical Districts (SDs) and Local Government Areas (LGAs).
The ABS varies the boundaries of Census areas from time to time to adapt to a changing population and the changing needs of Census data consumers. The Act requires the ACMA to determine the population entitled to be served by Commercial Licensees as soon as possible after each Census. The Act does not require the ACMA to determine the population entitled to be served by other broadcasting licence categories (e.g. Community services).
Licence Areas have 2 identifying attributes:
Area ID - A unique numeric identifier, used as a key in the ACMA's databases. In correspondence concerning licence areas, the Area ID should be used to unambiguously identify a particular Licence Area.
Name - A textual identifier, generally composed of a geographic and/or licence type descriptor, followed by a classifier. The classifier is a code for the intended class of service. Some classifiers include a numeral allowing for multiple (up to 9) licence areas covering a particular geographic but varying in specific boundaries, possibly due to variation in service coverage resulting from different transmission parameters (e.g. ERP, frequency).
The currently standardised classifiers are:
- RAx (where x is one of 1, 2, 3, ... 9) for radio services;
- TVx (where x is one of 1, 2, 3, ... 9) for television services;
- S40 for services licensed under Section 40 of the BSA;
- DCx (where x is one of 1, 2, 3, ... 9) for datacasting services.
Information about particular Licence Areas is currently available in 5 forms:
- the list of ABS CD numbers making up the Licence Area Definition, distributed in a comma separated value (CSV) format text file;
- a translation of the ABS CD numbers into the names of the LGAs and SDs within the area boundary, known as the Licence Area Description, rendered as an HTML page;
- a geographic map displaying the Licence Area, distributed as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file;
- a spatial dataset for use in GIS software, distributed as a ZIP archive containing ESRI Shapefile format (PDF) data files; and
- a Google Earth Placemark (.KMZ) file viewable in the Google Earth application and via the Google Maps web service.
The Section 30 Schedule contains licence area population and overlap information for commercial services.
Licence area information is also available via the Licensed Community Broadcasting Services index.Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence. If you use this material there are certain obligations you must fulfil. Details of these can be found in Attributing ACMA material released under the Creative Commons Licence framework. A disclaimer applies to Licence Area information.
When comparing licence area boundaries with other spatial data sources such as satellite imagery or GIS topographic data, discrepancies will inevitably be encountered. These discrepancies are usually the result of accuracy limitations in the acquisition and/or presentation of the spatial data.
The positional accuracy of spatial data, including satellite imagery such as that available via Google Earth and Google Maps, may be subject to considerable variation due to limitations in acquisition, processing and display of the data.
The ACMA's licence area boundary data is directly derived from the Census boundary data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The licence area boundaries available from the ACMA in Shapefile format are intended for use in GIS applications and maintain the same accuracy standards as the ABS Census data.
The licence area boundaries available from the ACMA as Google Earth Placemark files have been cartographically generalised to optimise their usability in the Google Earth application and for display via the Google Maps web service. As a consequence, the positional accuracy of depicted boundaries has been degraded compared to the reference boundary data available in Shapefile format. The ACMA has limited the degradation so that, in software that correctly displays both Shapefile and Placemark data, the discrepancy between the two boundaries for most licence areas will not exceed 5 metres. Users should note that the descriptive text included with each Placemark file contains a statement of the maximum discrepancy for the particular boundary.
Users of licence area data should also be aware of issues related to coordinate systems. Placemark data will always use the WGS84 datum. The ACMA's shapefile data may use either the AGD66 datum or the GDA94 datum. Not all software that can process shapefile data will correctly identify the datum. Coordinate discrepancies of several hundred metres may result from incorrect datum selection.
Further information about datums is available from the Geoscience Australia website.