Scientific topics Space

Last updated:7 June 2023

We have a long history of bringing the benefits of space down to Earth, both globally and locally. By providing Australian industries, governments and researchers with better access to space data, we’re helping them to:

  • create jobs
  • drive economic growth
  • support disaster response and recovery
  • sustainably make use of our land and marine environments.

We’re doing this by:

  • combining our expertise across various disciplines to deliver more comprehensive and connected data
  • building a world-leading Earth observation platform
  • developing world-class positioning infrastructure for Australia
  • partnering with local and international organisations to share expertise and data, and to foster a global network of collaboration and innovation.

We support informed decision making by providing integrated access to:

  • digital mapping
  • satellite data
  • precise, real-time positioning information.

This information is used by governments, industry and the general public to make decisions in areas such as:

  • agriculture
  • aviation
  • construction
  • consumer
  • maritime
  • rail
  • resources
  • road
  • spatial
  • water utilities.

We partner with local and international organisations to share expertise and data, and to foster a global network of collaboration and innovation.

Earth observations

Digital Earth Australia provides access to a rich archive of high quality satellite data prepared for Australian conditions from 1988 to present. This data provides insights into changes in Australia’s natural and built environments, and gives farmers, land managers, industry and government the information they need to make better decisions about how they care for and use their resources sustainably and productively.

One of the key elements of our work is making space data easy to access. We are removing technical barriers for Australian businesses to take advantage of Earth observation information. Doing so helps drive the estimated $5.3 billion contribution Earth observation makes to the Australian economy each year.

Our Earth observation data is already helping Australian businesses and governments better understand environmental conditions such as:

  • soil and coastal erosion
  • impacts of land management practices
  • deforestation
  • urban development
  • water quality and availability.

With our openly available data and tools, anyone has the ability to observe and map the Australian landscape, cities and even individual paddocks.

We’re also building international capabilities. Through the Digital Earth Africa program we’re supporting the gathering and analysis of Earth observations data in Africa, which supports decision making for community development, digital transformation and sustainable management of land and water.


Precise positioning data is critical for industries ranging from agriculture to mining. Satellite navigation helps us:

  • land aircraft
  • deliver sustainable farming practices
  • prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters
  • manage autonomous vehicles
  • improve transport and shipping logistics
  • monitor illegal fishing
  • move safely around our cities.

Right now, position data is accurate within a range of around 5–10m. Through the Positioning Australia program, we are working on integrating more data and building more infrastructure so that it will be accurate within a range of around 10cm across Australia, and 3–5cm where there’s mobile phone reception.

It’s estimated that this improved infrastructure will add at least $6 billion to the Australian economy over the next 30 years. Our work covers the management of facilities on the ground that accurately measure the distance between satellites and Earth, and the development of software to help others use and benefit from positioning data.

Our positioning software and data are freely available to support industry growth, research and innovation across a range of sectors, from agriculture to mining and construction. This positioning service underpins the future of industry efficiencies and safety by enabling smart machinery and automation, increasing productivity and reducing worksite safety risks.