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The challenge

Satellite data is complex, fragmented, and difficult to decipher

Earth observation has the power to inform decisions across government and industry, assisting in the management of our environment, our response to natural disasters, and emerging agricultural and industrial development opportunities.

The benefits are clear: Earth observation from space directly contributes more than $280 million to the Australian economy, with wider economic benefits eclipsing $2.5 billion in 2020.

Australia is a world leader in the use of remote sensing technologies.

Earth observation data is acquired from satellites, airborne platforms, and in-situ measurements on land and in water and the atmosphere, and gives detailed insights over time into Earth's physical, chemical and biological systems. By combining different datasets together, we can build a detailed picture of the Earth environment at a wide range of scales.

However, managing this data is complicated. Information is often siloed, making for inefficient workflows. With so many sources generating petabytes of information, it is difficult to process, analyse, and integrate these datasets.

Our response

Delivering cloud-powered analytics at scale

Our researchers in collaboration, with Geoscience Australia, Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) partners, and the National Computational Infrastructure, have developed the Open Data Cube platform to house and process petabytes of satellite Earth observation data from multiple sensors. The Open Data Cube is used as the base technology for Digital Earth Australia, providing Earth observation products to Australian Government, and in the international CEOS data cube assisting developing countries to use Earth observation data and analytics.

Our strong partnerships and capabilities in Earth observation and informatics underpin a wide array of applications.

We built on this work with CSIRO’s Earth Analytics Science and Innovation (EASI) platform. EASI provides seamless and scalable access to data from across the Earth observation community, simplifying data discovery and integration. Using cloud infrastructure, EASI eliminates the need for large-scale local storage and compute infrastructure, driving efficient and cost-effective data acquisition and preparation. 

EASI is used by Government agencies, universities, environmental groups, agricultural and mining sectors, and more to deliver new insights into the world around us. Applications include:

  • agriculture, food, fuels and fibre
  • resources for renewables (energy and minerals and related environmental issues)
  • water resources (precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, droughts and floods, irrigation and inland water quantity)
  • inland to coastal to marine water quality and related seagrass and coral reef ecosystems
  • habitat metrics and monitoring (terrestrial and aquatic)
  • biodiversity trends and condition
  • biosecurity
  • urban environments
  • climate change and variability, including carbon budgets
  • disaster prevention, monitoring and mitigation (bushfires, floods, spills)
  • logistics.

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