Budget 2018-19

As part of Budget 2018-19, the Australian Government has invested over $260 million in Geoscience Australia's capabilities to develop satellite technology that will have economic, safety and convenience benefits for all Australians. Through the Geoscience Australia CEO Budget Statement, read how this funding will result in programs that support Australian industries, provide access to data, create jobs in regions across Australia and increase industry competitiveness.

Digital Earth Australia (DEA) is a platform that uses spatial data and images recorded by satellites orbiting our planet to detect physical changes across Australia in unprecedented detail. DEA prepares these vast volumes of Earth observation data and makes it available to governments and industry for easy use.

Spatial information provides an understanding of what is happening in our environment, where it is happening, and what the causes of change are to provide insights into the past, present and (likely) future.

When prepared and analysed using high performance computing, this data provides a wealth of information to Australian government and industry for monitoring the environment, increasing productivity in the agriculture and mining industries, and also supports the rapidly growing market for spatial information and services.

DEA is already providing a suite of information products to the Australian government and businesses. For example, the Water Observations from Space product provides a national map of where water has been seen in Australia from 1987 to the present and can be used to better plan water management strategies. Other DEA products provide information about ground cover, crop health and coastal environments.

How does DEA work?

Using high performance computing power provided by the National Computational Infrastructure and commercial cloud computing platforms, DEA organises and prepares satellite data into stacks of consistent, time-stamped observations that can be quickly manipulated and analysed to provide information about a range of environmental factors such as water availability, crop health and ground cover.

By preparing data in advance, DEA reduces the cost and time involved in working with the vast volumes of Earth observation data. This Analysis Ready Data (ARD) is made freely available to users, and will enable businesses to innovate and develop information products and applications that can be applied to global challenges.

Future business opportunities

Geospatial services are an important and growing component of our global economy, creating around four million jobs and potentially increasing productivity in sectors which represent around 75 per cent of the global economy1. European studies2 have shown that access to new satellite data will create 12,600 new jobs in the development of applications and services based on these information sources.

The need for affordable Analysis Ready Data (ARD) is key to future growth and ongoing use of spatial data for both Government and Industry. By investing in Digital Earth Australia the Australian Government is able to directly lower costs associated with accessing and analysing the vast volumes of satellite data by providing it to the public free of charge.

Through the use of free DEA ARD Australian business is now developing new applications that increase efficiency, improve productivity and allow them to compete in global markets. Australian business is leading the way in developing a roadmap to transform the spatial sector over the next decade. The 2026 Spatial Industry Transformation and Growth Agenda and the Australian Earth Observation Community Plan 2026 provide a clear direction to drive accelerated growth that will transform the Australian spatial sector and location-dependent industries over the next decade.

DEA is working with FrontierSI (the former CRC for Spatial Information) to develop an industry strategy that ensures DEA will generate value for the Australian spatial industry and the international digital economy. If you or your company would be interested in being consulted please contact dea@frontiersi.com.au or visit the DEA Industry Consultation website.

Digital Earth Australia - an introduction for industry [PDF 450KB]

1 http://www.alphabeta.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/GeoSpatial-Report_Sept-2017.pdf

2 http://www.copernicus.eu/sites/default/files/library/GMES_GIO_LOT3_PublishableExecutiveSummary_final.pdf