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Making Queensland a Space Hub

The Queensland Earth Observation (EO) Hub, a partnership between the Queensland Government and SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), was launched with the announcement of two new earth observation research projects.

The SmartSat CRC will spearhead the development of Australia’s space industry by bringing industry, universities, and research together to support a thriving space industry. The new EO Hub aims to accelerate the growth of Queensland’s, and Australia’s, Earth observation industry by supporting the commercialisation of research, and EO product and service development. The Queensland Government and SmartSat CRC are investing AU$1.5million each to deliver the EO Hub in Queensland.

The Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development stated that the cooperation with SmartSat CRC was bringing new industries and jobs to Queensland. In addition, the new projects aim to boost the safety of Queenslanders, with one of them combining satellites, local networks and edge computing to demonstrate remote geohazards like flood water levels or landslides can be monitored in real-time, and the other will use satellite and drone imagery and analytics to monitor Queensland’s extensive coasts for hazards and conditions.

The two successful Queensland-based projects represent a near AU$900,000 investment from the Queensland EO Hub and industry. The grant program is fostering the creation and commercialisation of space-related research and innovation in Queensland. The aim is to empower the space-related industry ecosystem of Queensland, creating State-based opportunities for industry-led R&D with SmartSat CRC’s current partner base and beyond.

The CEO of SmartSat CRC stated that satellite systems are an integral part of Australia’s space industry, with applications for use across a wide variety of sectors. The Queensland EO Hub will allow the teams at the centre to bring world-leading research in space conducted by our partners into the National Space Industry Hub.

PROJECT 1: Localised GNSS IoT networks and satellite broadband communications for remote geohazard and structure monitoring

Global navigation satellite system observations are critical for monitoring geohazards and the safety of natural and artificial structures and assets, such as tailing dams, landslides, bridges, and flood water levels. This project will demonstrate the technological feasibility of combining local area Internet of Things networks, edge computing and satellite broadband communications for earth observation.

Conducted by the Queensland University of Technology in collaboration and a Queensland-based company specialising in structural and geotechnical monitoring, the project’s expected outcomes include the design of a new satellite-IoT system, and prototypes of a GNSS IoT platform end-devices, and a baseline processing engine.

PROJECT 2: COASTS: Coastal Change Observation and Analytics (multi-) Scale (multi-) Technology System

Understanding complex coastal processes and interactions between the land, sea and human communities is a primary concern for both government and industry. Frequent, high-quality spatial information across Queensland’s coastal zone is required to monitor, manage, and predict coastal change and its associated hazards, but is seldom available.

The Coastal Change Observation and Analytics (multi-) Scale (multi-) Technology System, COASTS, will directly address the issues of lack of coastal monitoring data using satellite imagery, drones, numerical modelling, artificial intelligence-based analytics, and cloud-based technology.

This collaboration between the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland University and an Australia-based industry partner will cost-effectively derive and deliver information and tools that fill the gaps in our understanding of coastal processes, coastal hazards and beach safety.

In addition to these two projects, the EO Hub will generate opportunities for data analytics businesses and researchers, as well as downstream industries and upstream service providers of Earth observation imagery. It is supported by Queensland’s Department of State Development, Earth Observation Australia Inc., The University of Queensland, the Australian Space Agency, and Geoscience Australia.

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