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21 November 2012

Earth Observation Reports showcase value to Australia

Earth Observations Two recently published reports will be available for collection at the CRCSI Booth: the Value of Earth Observations from Space to Australia and Risks of Data Supply of Earth Observations from Space for Australia. An Extract: the Value of Earth Observations from Space to Australia The goal of the Earth Observation study was to address the gaps in past economic assessments by examining in greater detail the current and potential economic benefits resulting from new and emerging Earth Observations from Space (EOS) applications. The key objectives were to: Re-assess the estimates made in earlier reports for the year 2010 Examine new and emerging applications in the case study areas Estimate the likely socio-economic value of EOS in 2025 for the Australian economy. Key Findings The total direct economic benefits identified from the use and application of EOS data from the case studies were $496 million in 2015 and $1694 million expected by 2025. The total social and environmental benefits identified from the use and application of EOS data are estimated at $861 million in 2015 and $1329 million by 2025. Many of the benefits from the case studies arise in important sectors of the Australian economy, including: agriculture, aviation, tourism and recreation, petroleum, mining, water, property, and insurance. On the initial calculation it is estimated that the combined impact of the use of EOS services resulted in employment in 2015 being around 9293 higher than it would otherwise have been without EOS. This figure is expected to increase to 15 997 by 2025. An Extract: Risks of Data Supply of Earth Observations from Space for Australia As a follow-on from the Value of Earth Observations from Space to Australia study, this second report developed three broad conclusions: The nature of the best available public good data streams are expected to remain strong. The additional data streams coming online in the 2015‐2016 timeframe will greatly increase data volumes. This is because of; greater spatial and spectral resolution; more supply sources and more accessible archives; and greater revisit frequency. These factors mean that ground segment and data management solutions (eg the Australian Geoscience Data Cube, Google Earth Engine) will likely become more important in enabling users to manage and make use of this new data. This also underscores the need for strong coordination with international partners, and potentially for new coordination frameworks such as Virtual Constellations. The cost of investing in a dedicated satellite space segment has reduced with advances in small satellite technology. While public good data streams from overseas will continue to be the dominant supply, the business case for a dedicated Australian national Earth observing satellite or satellites, or contribution to an international partnership, looks increasingly attractive. Space segment investment would need to be supported by the ground segment, resulting in additional requirements to receive, standardise and apply data in a common framework such as the Australian Geoscience Data Cube. What this means for Australia As Australia’s understanding of the capability of Earth observing satellites has matured, so too has our use of EOS as a critical data source. The two studies have identified 140 government programs that employ EOS in activities such as: weather forecasting; disaster mitigation and management; climate and water cycle modelling; land use and land cover monitoring; forestry; carbon accounting; mapping inland and estuarine water quality; coastal habitats; seagrass and coral reefs; mineral mapping; hydrology; cartography and cadastral mapping; sea surface temperature; and biodiversity monitoring. With EOS returning approximately $5.3 billion to the Australian economy every year and the use of EOS services generating around 9000 new jobs in 2015, the predicted growth for Australia is up to $8 billion, with more than 15 000 employed as a direct result of EOS services by 2025. Most importantly, as Australia’s EOS matures it will create an environment where it is easier for Australian businesses to ‘export’ EOS-based products and services to other markets.

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