CRCSI 10th Annual Conference
by Rex Banks
5 December 2014
A tenth anniversary is a special occasion.
So it was not surprising that the tenth anniversary conference of the CRCSI in Perth last month attracted a record attendance of 347 delegates, and keen local and international industry attention.
The conference also marked a major shift in the focus of the organisation. David Sinclair, chairman of 43pl, the consortium of 48 private companies and organisations that help fund and participate in CRCSI research programs, summed up the major message to emerge from the conference. “We have done a lot of the hard yards in research – and a lot of it is recognised internationally as world leading,” he said. “Now we must translate more of that work into activities of dollar value to industry, government and business. That’s going to be our major focus in the next year or so.” Mr Sinclair said that the CRCSI’s funding from the Australian Government under the national CRC program was programmed to end in 2018. “One of the major tasks we face in the next four years is to convert the CRCSI into a self-sustaining research entity with a greater industry focus,” he said.
“We need also to demonstrate the benefits of spatial research in boosting Australia’s GDP and convince the government that the successful partnership between academia and industry should continue. Continued government funding from 2018 onwards would be helpful because of the leverage benefit it has in gaining financial support from private industry and other sources for the CRCSI’s pure research programs.” Several of the CRCSI’s international affiliates and associates at the conference supported the CRCSI’s new commercial focus. One interesting idea to emerge was that CRCSI should link up more closely with two other international bodies to form a ‘Golden Triangle’ of geospatial organisations. Suggested members of the ‘Golden Triangle’ were:
- Sweden’s Future Position X - Europe’s leading cluster of more than 230 Swedish firms and organisations engaged in spatial innovation and market development.
The non-profit organisation, which also has links with more than 100 research and government bodies in ten countries, helps companies and organisations to develop new products and services and expand into new markets.
- TECTERRA, a Canadian non-profit organisation that provides investment funding and support for small and medium-size geospatial companies and entrepreneurs
“The three countries have similar economies based on natural resources, similar societies and three of the world’s strongest spatial industries with a focus on environment issues,” said Johan Bang, managing director and CEO of Future Position X. “We could more clearly join together and combine our efforts to develop the worldwide geospatial industry.”
Dr Mohamed Abousalem, CEO of TECTERRA, praised the CRCSI-43pl partnership describing it as a win/win for everybody, especially the Australian economy. He said the CRCSI was actively reaching out to overseas organisations like TECTERRA to learn more about various funding and market development models and other ways of doing things.
“That is why we are here and we are providing some coaching,” he said. Dr Abousalem added that TECTERRA focused on producing economic value from spatial technology.“Commercial success is at the heart of our objectives,” he said. TECTERRA’s operations are funded by government ($32m), and matched by $21m from private industry. “TECTERRA has realized $128m in value and we project that this will reach something of the order of $300m,” Dr Abousalem said.
By comparison, CRCSI’s value adds $3 for every $1 invested in its R&D activities. Companies and organisations associated with TECTERRA were funded on a 50/50 basis with the money treated as a repayable investment. When participating universities made money, the profit had to be reinvested in further research and development. The operating models and experience of both TECTERRA and Future Position X seem certain to have a significant influence on the current market refocusing efforts of the CRCSI and its industry partner, 43pl. CRCSI Chief Executive Peter Woodgate set the scene for the conference’s theme ‘It’s time to change’ on the opening day, telling delegates: “This is a pivotal time in the future of the CRCSI and our research programs.
“Our challenge over the next four years is to set up a very significant research portfolio of activities and networks that will take us forward to post 2018. Two current developments that would significantly influence the CRCSI strategy plans were the government’s current drive to boost Australia’s lagging productivity and its review of the national CRC program”, he said. Recent data showed that Australia is ranked 81 of 143 countries on the global innovation index. “That index shows how effective we are on pulling our research through to end use. It’s a pretty ordinary performance,” Dr Woodgate added. “A second measure of the collaboration levels between Australian industry and universities shows we ranked last of 33 OECD countries.This shows we have a very low relationship between our Universities and industry in collaborative research. These two measures, operating in concert, are having a significant lag effect on Australia’s ability to lift its productivity and lift its GDP.”
Dr Woodgate said that the second development of significance was the government’s review of the CRC program. “The CRCSI is perceived as being successful in its relationship with industry and we are going to share its lessons with the government’s CRC Program review,” he said. However, despite what the CRCSI had achieved in the past ten years, there is significant latent R&D potential within 43pl companies that has not been tapped into, he said. “To overcome this, we propose to establish an account management process with a small number of select CRCSI people spending a lot more time with 43pl companies, identifying their research, helping them develop R&D programs and relating that back to the universities. We are going to work the system a lot harder. ”
He added that 43pl also had a strong latent potential to become a peak advisory body to help the Australian Government achieve its competitiveness agenda. The government is looking for advice, particularly in sunrise industries like the geospatial information industry, on various matters such as restructured taxation arrangements to encourage companies to make more investments in R&D and the development of even stronger international linkages. “The geospatial industry is truly global and Australia could capture a lot more benefit by ensuring we are right at the cutting edge of development around the world,” he said. “43pl is going to go on the front foot over the next four years.”
Dr Woodgate added that the CRCSI Board was considering various options for the organisation’s future, post 2018. These included the CRCSI dropping off government funding from the CRC Program and continuing as an ongoing entity funded by its industry partners and other sources, together with the revenue it obtained from its research work for third parties. ”However, we don’t want to drop off government involvement altogether and we have already opened discussions with the government to establish a CRC Graduate Program for CRCs that have migrated out of the CRC Program,” he said. “The value of the elephant stamp of the Government of Australia is significant and there is the opportunity for the government to encourage more CRCs to do what we are doing after their term of funding.” he added. Dr Woodgate said that the CRCSI Board planned to finalise its strategy for the pre- and post 2018 period shortly and would present this to its member organisations for review early in the New Year.
A Message from the CEO
Our year is finishing on a high with our recent Annual Conference in Perth attracting 350 delegates and showcasing the depth and breadth of our eight research and applications programs. Its success is tempered by the news that both Mike Ridout, our Stakeholder Engagement Director, and Kim Lowell, Science Director for Program 4.1, are moving on after many years of great service. Other changes are affecting us too. Disruptive forces like the open information agenda, and the increasing rate of development of spatial technologies, bring both opportunity and uncertainty in equally challenging measures. The CRCSI is an ecosystem of 100 partnering organisations devoted to sharing knowledge and offsetting risks through collaboration. In doing so we help all our partners chart the future with greater confidence.
On behalf of the Board, management, and all our researchers and willing volunteers, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks for your support during the year. Have a wonderful and safe festive season.
Our offices will be closed from 25 December 2014 and will re-open on 5th January 2014.
Mike Ridout moving on
After 12 years with the CRCSI Mike Ridout has decided to leave us for new challenges. Mike was the inaugural employee of CRCSI as Business Manager, before becoming Communications Director and then Stakeholder Engagement Director.
From the early years Mike played a central role in growing the Western Australian involvement in the CRCSI. The development of 43pl, our leading industry innovation cluster, owes much to Mike. Over the 11 years that 43pl has been in operation Mike has helped around 100 companies move through its ranks.
Mike was instrumental in the successful rebid of the CRCSI in 2010. The rebid saw the introduction of the Health program and Mike played a key role in its creation and subsequent nurturing. Mike has also provided great stewardship of the CRCSI annual conference over the years.
Following a family overseas trip, Mike will join a consulting practice in the New Year.
Mike will carry these achievements with him into the next phase of his career, and we wish him all the best.
Kim Lowell to leave the CRCSI
Kim Lowell to leave the CRCSI
After 10 years, Kim Lowell (Science Director of Program 4.1 – Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Climate Change) has announced that he will leave the CRCSI in late February 2015. He has served the CRCSI in many capacities since 2005 including holding a joint position between the CRCSI and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries until 2011, and continuing to maintain a professorial fellow appointment at the University of Melbourne.
After some travelling, he will take up residence on the coast of southern Maine in the north-eastern United States. “I’ve spent most of my adult life outside of the United States, but have increasingly felt its pull the last few years. My wife has similarly felt a desire to be closer to her native Canada. And though we will miss Melbourne and Australia, believe it or not, we both are looking forward to cold and snowy winters,” Kim said.
“I’ve really appreciated the opportunities that my time at the CRCSI has provided and wish it well for the rest of its current mandate to 2018 and beyond,” he continued.
Our best wishes go with Kim for this next chapter in his life.
Peter Teunissen awarded Honorary Doctorate
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) awarded Professor Peter Teunissen an Honorary Doctorate Honoris Causa degree in recognition of his academic eminence and esteemed contributions to the fields of Geodetic Science and Global Satellite Navigation.
The Honorary Doctorate degree was conferred upon Professor Teunissen by Zhongli Ding, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, President of the University Chinese Academy of Sciences and a member of the Chinese Academy of Science. The official ceremony took place at the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics (IGG) in Wuhan, China, on 10-11 November 2014.
After accepting the award Professor Teunissen gave a presentation entitled Next Generation GNSS: Opportunities and Challenges for Geodesy and Geophysics. In addition, Professor Yong Wang, on behalf of IGG, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen future collaboration between IGG and GNSS Research Center, Curtin University and build on the already very successful collaborations with Chinese Institutes and the Centre's Chinese colleague researchers.
At the recent Conference in Perth the outstanding contributions of four key CRCSI people were recognised. The CRCSI Chair’s Award for an outstanding achievement in any aspect of the CRCSI was given to Professor Graeme Wright for a sustained and exemplary contribution to the governance, research and academic leadership of the CRCSI since inception in 2003. Dr Peter Woodgate commented, “Graeme has been involved since the very beginnings of the CRCSI and indeed before its formal commencement. As then Head of School he participated in the formation of the WA proposal, and supported with great statesmanship the brokerage of the merger to create the larger enterprise we refer to as CRCSI-1. From 2004 throughout CRCSI-1 he contributed to the Research and Education Advisory Committee, and joined the Board in 2007 as alternate director and subsequently as a full director in CRCSI-2, whilst also chairing the Research Investment Committee and the Research and Education College. During this time he has also managed to supervise a number of CRCSI PhD students. Graeme has always been and remains a source of wise, impartial and unbiased counsel for the CRCSI, without which we all would have been much the poorer”.
The Award for Research Excellence posthumously recognised the work of Professor Rod Walker (dec.), formerly of QUT in recognition of outstanding contributions to CRCSI research and innovation promising high impact outcomes for end users. As Founding Director of the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation, Professor Rod Walker was instrumental in conceiving the research that has led to the development of the autonomous aircraft guidance system (FAS) that is now saving Ergon $14M a year in remote asset inspection costs. ARCAA has played a key role in helping Ergon spin-out the new ROAMES business to Fugro. Rod’s award was accepted by his brother, Dr Arron Walker.
Dr Nathan Quadros handed the 2014 CRCSI Student Excellence Award to James McIntosh, for his outstanding research effort and contribution to CRCSI Project 4.51: ‘Funding Sustainable Transport Through an Integrated Land Use and Transport Planning Framework Utilising Value Capture’. His thesis is on how to use land value capture to fund new rail projects developed a model with the WA Treasury Corporation using $7 million worth of data across the Perth metro area. The model showed that 80 per cent of the cost of building the Southern Railway could have been generated by land value capture. During his PhD, James has excelled in partner engagement by undertaking several industry related contract research projects directly relevant to his PhD on funding mechanisms for public transport in Perth, assessment of the accessibility and new funding opportunities for the Doncaster Rail Project. His PhD is based on seven academic publications all in top rated journals.
And lastly, the 2014 43pl Company Award recognised a company or individual that has made an outstanding contribution to and on behalf of 43pl. The inaugural 2014 Award was given to Mr Mark Judd, Manager – Innovation, Select Solutions (Division of AusNet Services). David Sinclair, Chair of 43pl, delivered the Award saying “Mark has been a champion for the 43pl cause from the very start of the CRCSI. He had a vital hands-on role enticing the 43 foundation companies to understand and embrace this new industry direction. His leadership not only inspired his peers to invest in 43pl, but left a long standing legacy of industry unity.”
Congratulations to all the recipients.
New Open Digital Earth Globe Foundation
The devastating floods in January 2011, and the need for authoritative and accessible mapping for disaster relief and recovery, triggered the Queensland Government to build a state Globe. With an underpinning open data policy, the Queensland Globe now delivers spatially linked economic, social and environmental data and maps to a wide range of non-expert users using a Google Earth platform.
The Queensland Globe has been hugely successful. Since its launch in April 2013, it has delivered more than 1.8 billion maps, with around 8 million maps downloaded on an average working day.
Building on this success, the Queensland Government developed the Globe for the G20, to showcase the state to the participants of the 2014 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane. The Queensland Globe for G20 is a powerful interactive tool that enables users to explore the key economic sectors of the state, including their links to countries and enterprises around the world, supported by up-to-date information and statistics. It can run on desktops, tablets and mobile devices through an app.
The Queensland Government has gifted the substantial know-how from the development of the G20 Globe, including a re-useable framework for loading and displaying data, to a new Open Digital Earth Globe Foundation (ODEGF) to facilitate its uptake and further development.
The Board of the new Foundation, chaired by Dr Peter Woodgate, responded to interest in the G20 Globe and met with a number of international delegations around the G20 Leaders’ Summit. There was considerable interest in the technical capability developed, and in its potential to assist in the management of complex natural resource, health, risk and sustainability challenges. While formal approvals are required, the Surveyor General of India and the CEO of Future Position X (FPX) from Sweden both expressed strong interest in joining the Foundation.
GNSS Research Fellow Positions at Curtin University
Applications are invited for Postdoctoral Research Fellow (full-time, fixed-term, 2 years with potential of extension) in the fields of algorithmic and modelling development for precise GNSS parameter estimation. The general team strategy is to exploit the diversity of the multi-constellation GNSS and the unique properties of their ultra-precise, multi-frequency carrier-phase tracking data to enable high-precision, high-integrity, real-time kinematic GNSS parameter estimation. The research aims at the design, development and testing of advanced mathematical models for the processing of carrier phase and pseudo range observations for fields of application as GNSS surveying and geodesy, GNSS remote sensing, air/space based applications of GNSS, and GNSS quality control. The main objective of these research positions is to contribute to the algorithmic development of PPP-RTK network processing models for the processing and analysis of multi-constellation, multi-frequency GNSS (GPS, BeiDou, Galileo, GLONASS, QZSS, IRNSS) data of Australian CORS stations, with the goal to enable single-receiver GNSS users to perform carrier-phase ambiguity resolved precise point positioning, otherwise known as PPP-RTK.
The Research Fellow will be responsible for:
- Undertaking research to support the GNSS Research Centre’s research programme
- Developing frameworks for (high-precision) multi-system GNSS positioning and navigation applications.
- Efficient implementation of the theoretical models into (prototype) software.
- Experimental validation of the models by means of real GNSS data collection and processing.
- Ensuring that results of research are presented and disseminated in a systematic way so that they may be applied in the field.
- Identifying opportunities for and developing funding proposals for the FF GNSS research programs.
Selection Criteria for the research staff
- Doctoral degree in a relevant discipline, such as geomatics, geodesy, aerospace engineering or telecommunications engineering
- Demonstrated expertise in GNSS or related fields; good knowledge and understanding of GNSS applications
- Computer programming and real-data handling skills in particular Matlab, Latex, Linux Bash, Perl and Make scripting
- Hands on experience with GNSS receivers from top of the range multi-GNSS tracking receivers
- Project management skills preferably in the research project management environment
- Linux and Windows virtual machine skill
- Some basic networking and IT skills
- A demonstrated flair for research planning and implementation in a team environment
- Ability to work to tight deadlines and timeframes and manage a range of activities effectively
- Excellent English written and verbal communication skills (a minimum IELTS score of band 6.0 in all four components)
- Excellent interpersonal and organisational skills
- A commitment to maintain a high standard of professional work
Salary and Benefits
Postdoctoral researcher salary is in ALA – ALB range, depending upon qualifications and experience. Interstate and overseas appointees will receive some removal assistance. Curtin University also offers a generous superannuation (17%) and salary packaging programme.
Submit applications: Applications addressing selection criteria, full curriculum vitae, list of publications, and the names, addresses and fax numbers of three referees, are to be submitted to Curtin University Vacancy page (http://futurestaff.curtin.edu.au/job_vacancies/). Curtin reserves the right to appoint by invitation.
Further information can be obtained from Professor Peter Teunissen, tel: +61 8 9266 7676, mobile +61 420 696 502. Curtin is an Equal Opportunity Employer and provides a smoke-free work environment.
Students benefit from CRCSI Conference
From our perspective, as Program 3 PhD students, the 2014 CRCSI conference was a huge success and a great experience. The conference gave us many possibilities to meet new people from industry and government, and see all facets of the CRCSI in action. As we are all relatively new to this environment, with most of the team being ‘on the job’ for only a matter of months, we found the event was very enriching. Most of us have attended other conferences, and we would all have loved to travel over east but even though knowing that the conference was in our own backyard, it was definitely one of the best we have been to and we all enjoyed ourselves just as much despite the familiar territory.
First of all, we attended the second annual CRCSI student’s day. From what we have heard it was really good last year, so we had high expectations heading in and were not disappointed.
Due to Nathan and the team’s great effort in organisation, the day was packed full with lots of interesting presentations that made the time fly by. The various aspects on what the CRCSI can do for us as students was explained, as well as some demos of other (previous) student’s software to see what lies ahead in life.
The student day allowed us to converse with our fellow students from other universities some new like us, some old who have been around for a while, but the general consensus was that the day was very valuable even if just for networking. As members of the P3 research team, it was great being able to talk to Levi and Paul from UC in New Zealand our peers working on the same project, as we were able to get ideas regarding our research. It also allowed us to grow our network outside of the student space, as there were visiting professionals from government and industry who were interested in our research. We also got to find out what was interesting to them (which keeps our research industry focused) as well as synergies between other student projects and how progress in one can lead to progress in another.
The highlight of the day however was the ‘commercialisation workshop’. This activity was an exercise in creative and lateral thinking ‘outside the box’ for a real world scenario. As teams roughly based on each program, we had to present about a potential commercial product based on one of our team’s research project, thinking about how it could be utilised in the future. The most intriguing part was the generous prize offered to the team with best performance. Although it required quick thinking and team play, our team managed to snatch the prize, which was a welcome surprise. We had one hour in order to go from not having chosen a project to finishing a slide presentation compiled from the team’s work, and although it might seem to be quite a short period of time, all of the teams managed somehow to have a great presentation.
On to the ‘main’ conference itself, the presentations were very eye opening of the various problems in the industry and of the importance of the CRCSI’s research. The organizational skills were topnotch, and the food was sublime! If we could change anything, it would be the location who wants to have a conference in their own hometown? As locals however, we knew the choice of venue was one of the best places to go in Perth.
One of the most interesting parts for us as students were the three minute thesis presentations performed by other students most importantly for us the other students from Program 3. It was a good experience to see what industry thought of P3 as a whole, with some good questions to get us thinking coming from industry partners. Overall, the conference encouraged us to mingle with the ‘real’ world, and consider its issues at the forefront of what we do. We think that we did a pretty good job on that part, but will still continue to strive to be better next time!
We are very glad at the opportunities that this conference has given us students. We managed to expand our network, learnt about the real world applications of our research, hear about some new and interesting things and show the world the progress of Program 3 that we are part of.
QZSS LEX Update
The research on the QZSS LEX signal has been recognised internationally by its peers. As a highlight in July 2014, a paper*written by the research team highlighting the real-time performance of the QZSS LEX signal in Australia was selected as the research article of the month by the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG).
Engagements with the Japanese and Australian Governments
In April 2014, the Australian Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, and the Japanese Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Mr Yoshitaka Shindo, met in Sydney to discuss future cooperation between Japan and Australia in the utilisation of geospatial information, with specific focus on the Japanese satellite navigation system. At the end of this meeting, the Ministers signed a Joint Statement on ‘Cooperation on Geospatial Information’.
During the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Australia in July 2014, a joint statement,was issued, by the two countries. Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in their joint statement agreed that both the countries aim to strengthen cooperation in the areas of space and Information and Communications Technology (ICT), establish an official ICT policy dialogue, and strengthen cooperation for the promotion of geospatial information project using the Japanese QZSS.
In October 2014, a bid for a QZSS LEX demonstration project to the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications was successful. The project aims to demonstrate and validate the capabilities of QZSS LEX in the context of real-time positioning for precision agriculture in Australia. This project will be led by CRCSI.
*Harima, K. Choy, S. Li, Y. Grinter, T. Choudhurym, M. Rizos, C. Wakabayashi, Y. and Kogure, S. 2014, 'Performance of real-time precise point positioning using MADOCA-LEX augmentation messages', in FIG Congress 2014: Engaging the Challenges, Enhancing the Relevance, M. A. M. Zin (ed.), International Federation of Surveyors, FIG, Denmark, pp. 1-18 (FIG Congress 2014).
MOU signed with India
During the 2014 conference, the CRCSI signed an MOU with the Institute of Remote Sensing at Anna University, in Tamil Nadu State, India. The university established this Institute in 1982 with funds provided by the Tamil Nadu Government. At present, the Institute is rated as one of best in India. The institute has a 4-year engineering under-graduate Bachelor of Engineering Geoinformatics which is the only program of its kind in this country. Post Graduate courses by course work and research including Doctorate programmes are also offered. IRS has strong track record of research collaboration with Europe and Asian research institutes in the field of Geoinformatics. It is also the custodian of the spatial data for the government agencies in Tamil Nadu.
Through the MOU, we are currently investigating the following areas of collaboration with Anna University:
- Development of Spatial Information Infrastructure for a disaster management and mitigation arena with a real time sensor network.
- Development of Spatial Data Models from a Groundwater and Surface water domain.
- Positioning - GNSS capacity building and test beds.
- Feature extraction and the trial of Barista.
- Training and capacity building.