April 2018

See you at LOCATE!

6 April 2018

We are going to be in Adelaide at Geosmart/Locate2018 next week. Our booth is right next to the coffee stand, so grab a brew and come and see us. I will be around as will Phil Collier, Nathan Quadros, Phil Delaney, Stephanie Pradier, Darren Mottolini, Julia Mitchell, Zaffar Sadiq, Kylie Armstrong and Alex Leith. We have several presentations over the three days, and we will be supporting partner and researcher presentations on our projects too. So, drop past and catch up on all things CRCSI, the 2026Agenda and what our post-CRC future holds.

The last month has been a busy one, with the preparations for Geosmart/Locate2018 and our new entity. In this newsletter, you’ll hear about some of the month's highlights including a successful trade mission with the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC). We held events in Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney and signed an MoU for future cooperation. You'll also read about the release of the second volume of our series on Earth Observation: Data, Processing and Applications, and some great press for our RAISE and SBAS projects.

Enjoy and see some of you in Adelaide next week!
Graeme Kernich


Bringing the EU Down Under

The CRCSI and its partners have kick started a new era of collaboration between Australian and European companies to solve large market problems using Earth Observation (EO) data.

Europe and Australia have a wealth of different but complementary expertise across the EO value chain. This opens significant opportunities for partnerships between European and Australian companies. The EU Horizon2020 fund has been set up to support and propel such partnerships. This new $7.5 million funding program brings EU and AU companies together to use Copernicus data to solve market challenges and deliver EO applications.

At the start of March, we got together with Geoscience Australia, the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC), CSIRO, SIBA|GITA and Earth Observation Australia (EOA), to coordinate an EO services based industry mission to Australia. Nine organisations from the EARSC travelled to Australia for a week. With events across Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney, there were over 150 total attendees focussed on building new relationships, learning about the Australian and European market opportunities, and creating new ideas. 

IMG 9184There were 75 unique organisations represented, of which 15 were CRCSI partners, and 10 attendees were from 43pl companies. Some have already expressed interest in bidding for Horizon2020 funding later in the year. Summaries of presentations and contact details will be made available over the coming weeks. Invitations for Australian companies to attend an EO trade mission to Thailand and a reciprocal trade mission to the EU later in the year are also likely to be forthcoming.

The Canberra event included an interactive panel with EU Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, who visited Australia to promote the growing space economy, particularly around exploiting Copernicus, the EO program. During the Commissioner’s visit, the CRCSI and EARSC signed an MoU to formally commit to collaborating and facilitating the submission of Horizon 2020 bids, using their member bases as the foundation. Find out more about the MoU here.

RAISE in the news

Chris Pettit talks to Channel Nine

Our Smart Cities Director, Professor Chris Pettit, talked to Channel Nine journalist Laura Tunstall, at the start of the month about RAISE. Our Rapid Analytics Interactive Scenario Explorer, RAISE for short, is a world-first mapping toolkit designed to help Sydney property buyers and sellers predict how new infrastructure will affect the value of their homes. Chris explained the tool is designed to help policy-makers and planners better position new infrastructure such as train and metro stations.

"We've got a new airport being planned at Badgery's Creek. We've got an aerotropolis being designed. We've got discussion around a new metro connecting the airport to parts of Sydney – so where are those stations actually going to go"? Using this rapid analytics approach, we can start to bring those planners together," Chris said.

Watch the clip online.

raise image


Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

It was great to see the SBAS trial mentioned in the joint statement released by Prime Minister the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP and New Zealand Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern. The two met for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting on 2 March 2018 in Sydney.

Turnbull Arden photo

Prime Minister the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP and New Zealand Prime Minister                                                                 the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Prime Minister.


In the Research, Science and Innovation section, the Prime Ministers welcomed the ratification of the bilateral Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement, that took place in November 2017. Quoting from the statement, which can be read in its entirety online: “they noted the importance of the treaty in helping Australia and New Zealand work together to develop ideas that will drive new opportunities for our economies and people. They welcomed work underway to strengthen links between science organisations on both sides of the Tasman and cooperation, including joint investment in the Australian Synchrotron to promote high-quality research and innovation, addressing chronic disease, and the Satellite-Based Augmentation System trial.”

2026Agenda at LOCATE

The 2026Agenda’s first birthday is just around the corner and LOCATE 18 is the place to hear about the impressive progress being made so far!

  • 2026Agenda Report at the Closing Plenary

A lot has happened in this first year. For an update on all activities, don’t miss Glenn and Peter’s reporting at the Closing Plenary 14:15 on Wednesday 11 April.  But if you can’t wait until the last day or you’d like to put your hand up to tackle some more of our pillars, come and find one of your trusty 2026Agenda team at either the CRCSI, SIBA|GITA, Spatial Vision or SSSI booths (look for the 2026Agenda logo or Phil Delaney, Stephanie Pradier, Peter Woodgate, Glenn Cockerton, Tonia Scholes, or one of the many SSSI representatives).

  • Education focus 

And, if it is the Education pillar you are especially keen to be involved in, then get in touch with Greg Ledwidge and Julie Fairman at julie.fairman@sssi.org.au.  SSSI's Permanent Standing Committee on Education and Career Development has taken the initiative to bring as many education players to advance 2026Agenda Pillar E. Education, Training and Capacity Building. The leadership group directing the efforts in Pillar E will be meeting at LOCATE to progress this initiative further. The group is comprised of different spatial and education organisations and includes SIBA, ISV, GTAV, Destination Spatial, CSN, ASIERA, TAFE and RDA amongst others. Send Greg or Julie and email to get all the details and join them at LOCATE.

We would like to take this opportunity to send a massive thanks to all the wonderful people who have been working on 2026Agenda initiatives during this first year. The success of the Agenda lies with your dedication and commitment.

Again, if you would like to be further involved or be connected with people already at work on a particular pillar, come and see us at LOCATE or get in touch by e-mail: info@2026agenda.com.

 The 2026Agenda Team

Australian EO series

Volume 2A of Earth Observation: Data, Processing and Applications is now available from the CRCSI website

Volume 2A of Earth Observation: Data, Processing and Applications is now available from the CRCSI website. This new sub-volume, entitled Volume 2A: Processing—Basic Image Operations, launches the second of three volumes in this series of publications. This series explains the principles and products of Earth Observation (EO) in an Australian context and features a wide range of local case studies. Each text has been prepared by a diverse panel of Australian EO professionals, with the production of the series being sponsored by the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Geoscience Australia and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.

Vol 2A cover

The series currently comprises three volumes: 

Volume 1: Data outlines the basics of EO in terms of energy sources, data acquisition, sampling characteristics, and image availability. Discussion focuses on the scientific foundations of EO. This volume also considers the interactions of electromagnetic radiation with various targets and media, as relevant to understanding optical, thermal, passive microwave and radar imagery. Volume 1 comprises three sub-volumes:

• 1A—Basics and Acquisition (launched in 2016 at CRCSI Outlook Conference)
• 1B—Image Interpretation (now available from CRCSI website)
• 1X—Appendices (launched in 2016 at CRCSI Outlook Conference)

Volume 2: Processing describes the various options involved with image representation, analysis, transformation, integration and modelling, including details of relevant algorithms, with emphasis on their underlying mathematical and statistical principles. It comprises six sub-volumes:

• 2A—Basic Image Operations (now available from CRCSI website)
• 2B—Image Rectification (to be released in 2018)
• 2C—Image Transformations (to be released in 2018)
• 2D—Image Integration (to be released in 2018)
• 2E—Image Classification (to be released in 2018)
• 2X—Appendices (to be released in 2018)

Volume 3: Applications introduces the Australian environment in terms of topography, climate, ecoregions, land use and vegetation dynamics, then covers a broad range of application areas and case studies reliant on EO data. Currently under development, Volume 3 will comprise two sub-volumes:

• 3A—Terrestrial Vegetation
• 3B—Surface Waters

These comprehensive publications are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Australia Licence. They are expected to appeal to students, professionals and other interested readers, thus allowing the expertise of the EO community to be shared with a wider audience, and also increase public awareness of Australia’s growing dependence of EO datasets. Volume 1 is currently being updated and will soon be available in printed format. All of Volume 1 (1A, 1B and 1X) plus Volume 2A are now available as downloadable PDF files in two resolutions from the CRCSI website: http://www.crcsi.com.au/earth-observation-series

“These publications represent one of the most extensive and thorough bodies of work in Earth Observation produced in Australia. All contributors are to be congratulated for their efforts and none more so than the Editor-In-Chief, architect, and designer, Barb Harrison.” (Peter Woodgate, CEO, CRCSI).

Please direct any enquiries or comments to: Barbara.Harrison@csiro.au

The Thread

by Alex Leith, CRCSI Software Engineer and Project Manager

I’ve been working for the CRCSI for nearly a year now, and I’ve recently been travelling about a bit as part of my work. It got me thinking, how are the things I do connected. The CRCSI has approximately 30 employees at its core, but on the whole, funds up to one hundred positions out across industry, academia and government, and the work we undertake affects nearly every branch of the spatial ecosystem which, as we know, underpins just about every industry! But I was thinking recently about how there is no thread weaving through the diverse array of work that I do here at the CRCSI, nothing that ties it together. But then I realised, it’s the organisation itself that is the thread, and the thread is made of spatial. We weave it through a range of domains, ensuring that great information, systems, processes and people that need a bit of spatial in them are getting what they need.

The first project that my spatial thread is woven into is Greening the Greyfields, where I am the lead developer on two software applications and a project manager on an 18-month piece of work in the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. This project brings together staff at Maroondah and Knox councils, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, researchers from Swinburne University and the CRCSI to develop legislative changes that will enable different forms of development in the middle suburbs of Melbourne. This is the culmination of over eight years of research, and we’re right at the point of implementing a significant change to planning processes.


Envision Scenario Planner version 2.0

Figure 1: Envision Scenario Planner version 2.0

And then there’s our work on the blockchain, yes, that buzzword. I’m weaving some threads there too. Over the last four months, I have worked on a proof-of-concept implementation of a land development approvals process on the blockchain. This project is a collaboration between Microsoft, NSW Spatial Services, NSW Planning & Environment, Business Aspect, the CRCSI, Blacktown City Council and other stakeholders in New South Wales. A first of its kind, this project was able to cut through the complexities involved in a shared business process to come up with a testable solution that aims to make things better for all involved. This was a diverse group of stakeholders, and again, the role of the CRCSI was to be the thread weaving them together. We were able to talk the tech that Microsoft speak, the language of land titling Spatial Services work in and we are across the processes and procedures that occur between Council and the other authorities in the development approvals process. After a two day envisioning workshop, where we entwined the stakeholders in our thread, there was a five-day hackathon to build the proof-of-concept. This proof-of-concept is now being used as a demonstrator to progress the next phases of this project.


LandChain, the property development application management process

Figure 2: LandChain, the property development application management process

Another project that I’m working on is with Geoscience Australia (GA) on the OpenDataCube. In this project, the CRCSI is assisting GA to engage with the open source community, ensuring that the application is easy to use, learn and deploy. We are also making sure that it is well documented, meaning new users can pick it up and use it. We are collaborating with stakeholders from around the globe on this project, again performing the role of the common thread between a diverse group with a shared goal, and it is an active and already large community.


OpenDataCube installations across the globe

Figure 3: OpenDataCube installations across the globe

And that’s just the projects that I have been working on! I hope this illustrates that the CRCSI is uniquely placed, in that we do research, but we also do operational work and have “boots on the ground” in many different project areas. I’m excited about what the next year will bring, as we transition into our new entity, and as we continue to ensure the thread of spatial continues to be woven across the projects we deliver.


SBAS in the news

Mega liner Ovation of the Seas is the latest vessel to test highly accurate positioning technology, as part of the trial of a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) for the Australasian region.

SBAS technology was used by Acoustic Imaging in consultation with the Port Authority of New South Wales to help dock the world's fifth largest cruise ship on its most recent visit to Sydney Harbour. ABC News and Assistant Science Minister Zed Seselja joined Dr John Dawson, Geoscience Australia and our SBAS team, geophysicist Nicole Bergersen from Acoustic Imaging and harbour master Philip Holliday to learn about how the new technology is helping park ships too big for their parking spots at Circular Quay.

You can read the ABC article online and watch the video GA put together about the project here.

John Dawson also spoke to Infrastructure Magazine about how the SBAS trial is playing a role in the future safety of our roads. 


Let's get visual

Australian Cancer Atlas

The latest edition of the Australian Cancer Atlas newsletter is now available from their website.

And with a title like that (let's get visual) you know you'll have a smile on your face, and a tap in your feet, while you learn!


Events & Conferences