Geoscience Australia upgrades massive storage vault

Geoscience Australia upgrades massive storage vault

Geoscience Australia will transfer its 400 terabyte vault of seismic data to new media as part of a $25 million, three-year project to be announced today.

The government agency's vault in Canberra stores data tapes on 6000m of 10m-high shelving. The vaults holds 24,000 one-inch tapes and 300,000 half-inch tapes plus 150,000 3480 cartridges, 31,000 3590 cartridges and 15,000 8mm cartridges. All bar the incompatible 8mm will be copied to 3590b cartridges.

The data is the result of petroleum exploration offshore and is used by a number of industries in petroleum, gas and mineral exploration.

Under the Petroleum Submerged Land Act, all such data is commonwealth property and must be stored at Geoscience Australia's vault. Copies of tapes later become available to industry.

The age and deteriorating quality of some master tapes led the agency to move its data to new formats.

Geoscience Australia data repository manager Paula Cronin, said, "The oxide was peeling from the 21-track tapes, and there's only one machine in Australia that can read them, so we're going to use the 3590b tapes."

A 3590b tape can hold 10GB of data, which compared to the capacity of a one-inch (21-track) 180MB, will make storing a 15 terabyte 3D survey on tape considerably easier.

Cronin expects to reduce the vault's storage space by 85 per cent.

"We've [Geoscience Australia] been given money to find more seismic data for oil exploration so this will make room," she said.

The main benefits though will be for industry.

"In the past six months we've loaned [to industry] 10 terabytes of data," Cronin said. "The data has only been used by petroleum companies in exploration, because you need an enormous amount of computing power to read it.

"[After the data transfer] it will be a lot faster and quicker for industry to access and read the tapes," adding that the agency's cost of posting copies of tapes to industry organisations would also be greatly reduced.

The agency has contracted the transfer to SpectrumData and Guardian Data Seismic, while GeoCom Services Australia will conduct quality assurance.

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