Australia and the European Union enter historic arrangement on Earth observation

05 November 2015

This spectacular image captured by Sentinel-2A on 13 July features Lake Amadeus, in Australia's Northern Territory. It shows the variety of the sandy, rocky and salty formations within the lake. Around 180 km long and 10 km wide, Amadeus is the largest salt lake in the Northern Territory (containing up to 600 million tonnes of salt), and lays just 50 km north of Uluru.

Lake Amadeus, Uluru and Kata
Tjuta in the Northern Territory.
© Copernicus Sentinel data (2015)/ESA

Australia's access to vital satellite data has been assured through the signing of a cooperation arrangement in Brussels today between the Australian Government and the European Commission. The agreement provides access to Copernicus, the European Union's Earth Observation and Monitoring programme, which captures imagery of our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit of all citizens.

Australia's Assistant Minister for Science Karen Andrews applauded the arrangement which provides Australia with access to the most comprehensive Earth observation programme in world history.

"Australia's economy already benefits from satellite data to the tune of $4.3 billion annually. This agreement secures a reliable long-term supply of high-quality data in an area expected to grow substantially over the next ten years," said Ms Andrews.

"Through our research sector, spatial industry, and our national science agencies Geoscience Australia and CSIRO, we envision data from Copernicus's satellites creating great opportunities for businesses small and large, in Europe and Australia, working together to create innovative, economy-changing products and services."

"The satellites will offer unprecedented capture of the Australian landscape with detailed, around-the-clock imagery to support the management of iconic environmental sites like the Great Barrier Reef, and monitor changes to our lakes and river systems.

The data will also stimulate the development of new applications and services relevant to Australia's agriculture, fisheries, transport, mining and energy sectors, and help build regional and world economies," said Assistant Minister Andrews.

The agreement was signed between the Australian Government, represented by Dr Stuart Minchin of Geoscience Australia, and the European Commission, represented by Dr Philippe Brunet, Director of Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence.