A bit of information about the site

We've put a lot of thought into this site and have tried to accommodate the many ways our wide range of readers might like to engage with SoE content.  We have everyone from students to scientists, government policy makers to general public using SoE content, so to meet everyone's needs we have used a system of tags to identify content and made the most easily found pages summary content pages with the ability to burrow down into the deep rich content for each topic.

The tags we use are:

  • year
  • theme
  • framework
  • region
  • keyword

By tagging content this way we can aggregate information into summary style pages and also have that content display in the theme it belongs to.  We can deliver information based on a region of interest e.g. Murray Darling Basin - but please note not all our content can be tagged with a region as we report on a national scale.

Each theme is structured in the same way so once you explore one, the others should be easy to follow.

We have a series of list style pages to allow you to quickly jump to a topic or assessment summary you are interested in or browse by framework.


Browsing the site

The site is structure by theme and within each theme the content can be viewed by framework and by topic.

Each theme is structured the same way so once you understand one theme you can browse through all the themes - the one exception to this is Atmosphere which has two sub-theme:  Climate and Ambient air quality.

The global navigation at the top of each page is designed to aggregate 'like' content and allow you to browse across the content.  The left navigation on each page allows you to drill down through the content specific to the particular area of the site you are reading.


Key findings

These are summaries and headlines of the content.  Key findings can be found under each theme or you can look at all key findings and headlines from the Overview report together.

How can I read a theme from start to finish?

Choose a theme you'd like to read and start at the theme home page.  To find a theme try looking at the list of themes linked from the header.

Using Biodiversity as an example here's how you could navigate through an individual theme:

From the Biodiverisity home page read

  • the Executive summary,
  • Key findings,
  • Acknowledgements

Move on to:

  • Approach
  • Introduction

Read through the report by framework (they contain all the topics, the topics have links to the assessment summaries) in this order:

  1. Pressures
  2. State and trends
  3. Effectiveness of management
  4. Resilience
  5. Risks
  6. Outlook

The other links you can see on the left navigation allow you to read by topic only and to quickly jump to the assessment summaries.

And if all of that doesn't excite you there's always the PDF for each theme available from the download section.

What are themes and topics?


Themes are areas of the environment that we report against, think of theme as major chapters or sections - there are 9 themes as well as a section on Drivers of change to the environment.


These are the most detailed areas of the site. A topic is always part of a theme and sits within a framework or the introduction to a theme.

Topics contain a wide range of content types - narrative text, graphs, maps, case studies, links to assessment summaries.

The right sidebar of a topic page contains quick links and author information:

  • On this page will take you to content on that page - use those to jump to an area of interest
  • More information expands to show you
    • 2016 topics related to the theme and framework you are viewing & 2011 topics for comparison - use these to quickly jump to another topic or to compare back to a previous report
    • Cross cutting issues are topics that are directly related to the topic you are reading but not in the same theme or framework - use these to understand a topic or issue from a wider perspective
    • Related subjects are areas of interest discussed in a topic but may not have a direct relationship, they are based on keyword tags - use these to see everything tagged with the same keyword
  • Author block shows you who wrote this topic - clicking an author will take you to their biography page, you can cite this page by clicking cite this page a pop-up window will display content you can copy
  • Share allows you to share the page you are on through your social media channels or via email 

Example of a right sidebar

How do I find and use assessment summaries?

Assessment summaries can be viewed in a couple of ways, within a theme or by advanced search.  In some cases the title of an assessment summary or a component in an assessment summary has changed between reporting cycles - we have replicated the previous reports component to allow comparison between reporting cycles - these have been clearly identified.

Assessment summaries in themes

There's a link from the left navigation on each theme page it takes you to an assessment summary list page for that theme - on that page you can filter by year and framework to get to the assessment summary you want to view.

Once viewing an assessment summary you will see a list of components that make up that summary - these components are made of the following parts:

  • title
  • summary - an explanation of the component.
  • grade and trend - is it in good or bad condition, is it in decline or improving?
  • confidence in grade and trend - is there enough data or information to support this assessment?
  • comparability to the previous report - how similar is this assessment to the previous assessment in terms of information available, scope of the component.
  • supporting information showing how the author made the assessment - was the assessment made from expert opinion, data, a mix of both, what other research was used to make this assessment.
  • tags showing topics and regions they relate to - clicking on the topic will take you to the topic page relevant to the component.

Assessment summaries can be filtered to show both the current and previous report or just one report.

Assessment summary within a search result

There is a power way of viewing assessment summary components based on a number of different variables.

On the assessment summary search page you can choose to refine assessment summary components and see changes between reporting years - this allows comparison between years and grades etc. See the above section on searching assessment summaries.


Graphs, maps and data

Wherever possible we have created graphs and maps for SoE 2016 from data files stored on data.gov.au (see the data section).  Occasionally the data for a graph may be just too big making the topic page it's on load very slowly, in those instances we use an image and provide a link to download the data set. Most maps are interactive unless they come from data that was not available under Creative Commons.
Interacting with graphs
  • Hover over the lines, bars, area etc in a graph and you will see the data values.
  • Turn data series on or off by clicking on the legend beneath the X axis on the graph
  • Download the graph as an image (png and svg) by clicking the relevant download button - note that IE users should right click in the graph and save the image
  • Download the data by clicking on the download data link and going to data.gov.au
    Interacting with maps
    • Click on the map in a topic page - that pops up a window with our data catalogue and the spatial layer for the map you are looking at
    • Download an image of the map you are looking at
    • More help is available in the pop-up window about adding data, sharing and downloading the map


    Data can be downloaded from the links beneath a graph or map, we've also provided quite a bit of information on our Data page about where our information comes from and how to access it.  Once you've clicked on the download data link you will go to our data.gov.au site and the information page for the dataset you want, from there you can download the data file.