June 2015

From Research to End-User Opportunities

4 June 2015

Through its collaborative research, the CRCSI has built a portfolio of 15 commercialisation and investment opportunities. These opportunities focus on three specific areas:

  • Global navigation satellite systems
  • Feature extraction and remote sensing tools
  • Big data and applied solutions

The application of these technologies will deliver platforms and systems that reduce costs in collection, processing, delivery, maintenance and the usage of spatial information.

From Sim City for real world sustainable urban regeneration, to understanding plant biomass, roadside asset mapping tools that calibrate data, geo-referencing locations on satellite images, open source software that determines forest canopy, LiDAR data capturing for mining companies and local councils, and across the spatial spectrum to a toolkit that underpins national positioning infrastructure.

We encourage you to explore the range of offerings and connect with our team.

A Message from the CEO

The Federal Government recently released the report Growth through Innovation and Collaboration: A Review of the CRC Programme. The review was conducted by David Miles and makes 18 recommendations about the future of the CRC Programme. All recommendations have been accepted by Minister Ian MacFarlane.

The full report can be downloaded here.

A snapshot view

At a high level, the review of the CRC Programme recommends:

  • The programme be continued with a more targeted focus on industry
  • The programme objectives be revised to put industry front and centre with emphasis on SMEs
  • Funding be prioritised to grow the relationship between CRCs and the Growth Centres
  • A new stream of activity namely CRC Projects (short term three year funded research) be established to encourage more SME engagement.

The unique structure and industry participation of 43pl were included in the report as an example case study of SME engagement – a core focus of many of the recommendations.

The CRCSI provided input into the review through formal submissions and the 43pl Board met with the review team during the process in 2014.

Under the emphasis of the new CRC Programme, we will explore the opportunities to work with the just established Growth Centres in agribusiness, mining, medical technology, manufacturing and energy, build upon our already strong SME connection, and create funding opportunities for more agile short term research.

Success in Education

In 2011, Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ) published the Atlas of Cancer in Queensland.

The findings of the Atlas have also been widely utilised to inform the work of government agencies, health policy makers, and non-government organisations, and led to placement of additional CCQ staff positions in regional areas to assist in supporting and providing information to rural/remote cancer patients.

The Atlas led to a collaborative program of research between CCQ, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the CRCSI. The resulting work with PhD student Susanna Cramb (CCQ) played a major role in the development of public policy reforms, including a landmark doubling of Queensland’s Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme in 2013 and strategic objectives designed to reduce variations in cancer indicators in Queensland between metropolitan, regional and rural areas as well as between socio-economic groups.

The Atlas of Cancer in Queensland was led by Professor Peter Baade (CCQ), along with CRCSI student Susanna Cramb and developed in collaboration with Professor Kerrie Mengersen (QUT).

The success of this work will move into co-funding the National Atlas project.

Science at the Centre of Western Australia

The Premier and Minister for Science, Hon Colin Barnett MLA launched "A Science Statement for Western Australia – Growing Western Australia" at the inaugural Science on the Swan Conference in April 2015.

The Statement outlined the State’s priorities for scientific research – mining and energy; medicine and health; agriculture and food; biodiversity and marine science; and radio astronomy.


Mr Barnett said he hoped the Statement would increase awareness of Western Australia's scientific capabilities and the importance of science to the economic and social well-being of the community.

At a national level, the Statement highlighted Western Australia’s significant involvement in the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) through Landgate and Curtin University.

“The CRCSI focuses on the creation of value through research and development in spatial information. It has over 110 partners that have collectively invested $160 million in the Centre”.

A Vision for Cadastre 2034

Citizens will know what can be done on land (rights), what cannot be done (restrictions) and what must be done (responsibilities), Cadastre 2034

Cadastre 2034 is the strategic vision and how-to application developed by Australia’s Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) to ensure a shared vision of the national surveying and spatial sector. It describes a fully automated cadastral infrastructure where surveyed land parcels are registered in real-time directly from the field to the desktop. 

The CRCSI supports the realisation of Cadastre 2034 through its strategic research priorities in modernising our spatial infrastructure.

CEO Dr Peter Woodgate says, “CRCSI research projects are focused towards improving spatial data supply chains, building federated spatial models, and developing crowd sourcing capabilities and query-based spatial systems”.

“These research methods are concentrating on the Web 3.0 paradigm and the semantic tagging of content”.

This research focus will prepare the cadastral industry to use an environment where information will be categorised and stored in a way that a computer can understand as well as a human.

Cadastre 2034

The Communication Nub

From Jessica Purbrick-Herbst

The starting point in any communication is to understand what people are interested in and how they want to receive it. To find this out, I asked you (our partners, participants, research community and broader networks) to participate in a five question online survey.

This is what we learnt:

  1. You told us that we need to be consistent with our communication
  2. That our future activities, research outcomes and program/project updates are best shared through a monthly email newsletter, at our annual conference, during events and workshops, and through articles and stories in industry publications
  3. You want to hear about research outcomes, project outcomes, application of new technologies and findings, and project summaries
  4. And most importantly you want to understand the value we offer to your business, organisation, partnerships and interest in the spatial industry. 

Thank you for your influence into our communication tools, outputs and conversations – this input is valuable to us.

Property Planning Reduces Risk

The purpose of the NRM Spatial Hub is to provide land managers with systems, tools, data, and the skills needed to dramatically improve access to property-scale information and knowledge. These capabilities will underpin better management decisions and measurable improvements in landscape condition and productivity.

Spatial Hub team April2015The NRM Spatial Hub Team – Lee Blacklock, Justin Madex, Phil Tickle, Dan Tindall, Peter Scarth, Kate Forrest, Rebecca Trevethick, Mike Digby, Megan Woodward, Phil Delaney

It ultimately will reduce risk in land management decision making.

The online property planning and information system

The online property planning system will provide graziers, regional bodies and land managers with data and mapping tools to enable the development and maintenance of digital property and grazing plans, and allow monitoring of land conditions – from paddock to national levels using satellite imagery.

There are already over 50 farmers and land managers using the system.

A secure online access to spatial data over private property includes high resolution time series satellite imagery, and tools to analyse land condition, water access and plan for infrastructure.

Farmers also have the ability to capture supporting information in the field, using hand held devices such as GPS and smart phones.

For more information about the Hub and to learn about getting involved, please visit The NRM Hub.

Partners and Relationship Management

Our relationship model has changed. We are creating new business opportunities, engaging in projects with partners, and taking our research results directly to partners, government and industry for adoption.

This shift in focus has led to an increase in resources addressing partner needs and the growing CRCSI project portfolio. We have evolved the way we interact with our key stakeholders with a direct one-to-one approach.

The new business development structure enhances current relationships with the CRCSI staff, researchers and project leaders by building upon our knowledge of what our partners need.

Business Development Managers will be the key contact for organisations and the focal point for the annual stakeholder engagement review. The business development team will ensure the CRCSI is up to speed on the capabilities of individual organisations and be across their R&D and innovation requirements.

This new approach will ensure:

  • We have a clear understanding of partner expectations related to CRCSI activities
  • Partners are informed on current CRCSI activities; research activities and capabilities of university partners, specific potential sources of funding from the CRCSI and our services on offer to members
  • Business needs are matched with the CRCSI capability.

The existing team of Business Development Managers has expanded to include new recruits; Darren Mottolini (Western Australia) and Zaffar Mohamed-Ghouse (NSW).

The strategic locations of WA and NSW will bring closer working relationships to WA’s Landgate and Curtin University, and NSW’s Land and Property Information. The impact of this collaboration will be the building of cooperative research activities, hands-on spatial expertise and the delivery of benefits across government, industry and the community.

Building Capacity with Queensland

The appointment of Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Professor Bronwyn Harch as the prime contact for the CRCSI will strengthen our organisational relationships and grow the spatial science capability for Queensland.

The arrangement will initially focus on enhancing strategic work within the statistical science group, Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation and the data science group at QUT.

This collaboration will grow and integrate spatial science capability across these three areas.

Aerospace, Technology and Spatial

Queensland University of Technology, Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation and the CRCSI hosted a delegation from the CODENSA (wholly owned subsidiary of Enel Group) and the National University of Colombia.

The delegated discussed the collaborative opportunities to trialing and developing our "P3D” advanced path planning and flight system control technology.

Future collaboration will be fine-tuned in the coming months.

CODENSA NUC visiting delegationAndrew Keir (ARCAA), Dr Luis Mejias Alvarez (ARCAA), Dr Troy Bruggemann (ARCAA),           Dr Jason Ford (QUT), George Curran (CRCSI), Anderson Salazar Zuluaga (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), Andrés Felipe Castro (CODENSA) and Fabrizio Garzon.


Applying Biomass Business to Build Efficiency

The four year Biomass Business project delivered three distinct applications. These are:

  1. Tools and techniques for improving water and fertilizer use efficiency in crops
  2. Tools for improving pasture use efficiency
  3. Tools for creating high definition biomass inventories across production enterprises.

Based on findings from six farms in central and northern NSW and one in the western Kimberley region of northern Western Australia, the research has delivered 12 outcomes.

Biomass Map

Tools and techniques for improving water and fertilizer use efficiency in crops

How will remote sensors measure water and fertilizer use efficiency for crop and animal production? The research established four key findings. These are:

  1. The comparative accuracy of designing and scheduling irrigation based on single shot soil moisture maps (as derived from electromagnetic induction instruments) versus multi-temporal moisture maps (at a spatial resolution ~ 10m)
  2. Soil water content and its spatial variability in crops can be delineated using a combination of full and empty profile water maps with an accuracy comparable to existing static point sensors (± 10% mm available water or m3/m3)
  3. The opportunities for active and passive remote sensing technologies for effective irrigation management in spatially variable agricultural fields
  4. Remotely sensed canopy and soil descriptors can be used for efficient fertilizer management (upfront verses split) with a view flattening the ECa-yield curves (an identified benchmark) in irrigated and broadacre crops.

Tools for improving pasture use efficiency

How do we measure and manage efficiency in water limited crop production using a spatially enabled system? The research established five key findings. These are:

  1. The application of remote sensing derived pasture biomass products improves whole of landscape management efficiency, productivity and sustainability in high rotation/high input as well as rangeland pastures
  2. The current ~250m-1km spatial resolution of large scale remote sensing pasture management tools can be increased through incorporation of third party remote and on ground sensor data
  3. Time based pasture growth and grazing demand models can be effectively incorporated with remotely sensed data to encapsulate spatial variability in pastures at a meaningful management scale and resolution to facilitate accurate management
  4. Data concerning spatial variability in pasture condition (eg biomass, nutrient availability) can be used as a cost effective variable rate (temporal and spatial) fertilizer management tool and realize gains in livestock production efficiencies
  5. Low cost GPS cattle tracking coupled with spatially referenced pasture condition data can be used to improve understanding of pasture utilisation and nutrient fluxes.

Tools for creating high definition biomass inventories across production enterprises

How will high resolution remote and proximal biomass sensing technologies be integrated and used by public and private land managers to estimate carbon storage capacity? The research established three key findings. These are:

  1. The resulting soil carbon estimates are up to 45% higher than current estimates using reference datasets
  2. Determining the spatial distribution of carbon allows for the high resolution estimation of carbon storage potential and variation across the enterprise, including the ranking of carbon storage potential opportunities
  3. The use of selected remote sensing derived datasets achieves credible and verifiable estimates of stored carbon across the enterprise which will facilitate the participation in the carbon markets.

What happens now?

With the initial 12 findings providing farmers with cost savings in fertilizer and improved pasture evaluation, the research team and supporting partners – from the CRCSI, University of New England, Curtin University of Technology, Ecological Australia, Landgate, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Milne AgriGroup, Superair, Sundown Pastoral Company and Twynam Agriculture, plus five PhD students and four UNE Honours research students – have developed these outcomes into practical crop management tools.

Internship Trials with AMSI – Victorian Based

The AMSI Intern scheme offers a unique opportunity for CRCSI partner organisations to work with bright researchers on a low-risk, low-cost basis. Interns can be drawn from any discipline — not just the spatial sciences — allowing partners to tap into a range of complementary skills to solve challenging problems of immediate relevance.

AMSI Intern is an innovative national program working across industry, building links between universities and businesses.

AMSI Intern has partnered with the CRCSI for a Victorian trial of the internship program. This partnership will give access to high end quantitative and analytical expertise from within Australia’s leading universities to benefit the CRCSI partners and the spatial information sector. Following the successful completion of the Victorian trial, the AMSI Intern–CRCSI partnership will be expanded nationally.

The partnership provides financial support to businesses servicing the spatial information sector as a cost effective solution for a research challenge or problem facing your business.

Postgraduate students, along with university supervisors, come from all disciplines to partner with industry through short-term (four to five month) tightly focused research internships.

Contact Nathan Quadros for further details and download the brochure.