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Opportunities in Earth Observation Technologies

The Queensland Earth Observation Hub (QLD EO Hub) convened a workshop in Brisbane that served as a significant step in harnessing the potential of Earth Observation (EO) technologies, data, and workflows for the benefit of Australia.

The initial findings from a comprehensive market engagement study were presented. This study spanned a diverse range of EO and industry sectors and aimed to illuminate both the challenges and opportunities that Queensland, and by extension, the broader Australian landscape, faces in embracing EO technologies not only in the present but also in the foreseeable future.

This market study embarked on an extensive consultation process, engaging with stakeholders across urban and rural Queensland. It encompassed the entire spectrum of the EO ecosystem, from data and service providers to end-users, as well as those contemplating the utilisation of EO in the years ahead.

The core objective was to gain profound insights into the current capabilities, hurdles, and potential avenues for growth within Queensland’s EO community. Additionally, it sought to cultivate a vision of what the future could hold in terms of EO technology deployment.

The preliminary findings of this study were shared with workshop participants, fostering constructive discussions, and eliciting valuable feedback. Notably, these findings unveiled several significant opportunities that Australia can capitalize on over the next 2-5 years:

  1. Collaboration and Alignment: A key opportunity identified is the enhancement of collaboration and alignment among research institutions, industries, and government entities. This entails improving communication to raise awareness of shared needs and capabilities while also facilitating the transfer of skills and knowledge between these sectors. Such collaboration can foster innovation and synergy.
  2. Commercialisation of Research: The commercialisation of research emerged as another promising avenue. By facilitating partnerships between research organisations and industries, pathways for the practical application of research outcomes can be forged. This approach can bridge the gap between academic research and real-world industry needs.
  3. Building Capacity for Global Markets: Queensland can further promote its capabilities in EO technologies and services, connecting local industries to national and international markets. This entails not only showcasing Queensland’s strengths but also attracting investments that can fuel the growth of this sector, contributing to the nation’s economic prosperity.
  4. Workforce Development: Facilitating access to new and in-demand skills and knowledge transfer is vital for nurturing a skilled workforce in the EO sector. Promoting careers in Earth Observation can bolster the human capital needed to support the sector’s growth and innovation.
Image: QLD EO Hub is working to harness the potential of Earth Observation technologies, data, and workflows.
Image Credits: SmartSat, Press Release

The insights garnered from this study and the associated workshop will serve as the foundation for crafting a strategic roadmap. This roadmap will guide the Queensland EO Hub in its role of unlocking the future potential of the downstream EO sector, not just for Queensland but for Australia as a whole. Anticipated in the coming months is the release of the full report by SmartSat, which will provide a comprehensive overview of the study’s findings and recommendations.

In a parallel effort to advance the field of Earth Observation, a symposium titled “Advances in Earth Observation: Hyperspectral Data Analysis” was recently hosted by the University of the Sunshine Coast with support from the QLD EO Hub and SmartSat. The symposium aimed to showcase the strides made in remote sensing technology through lectures, hands-on demonstrations, and training sessions. This educational event empowered participants with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively work with spatial data using remote sensing tools, with applications spanning various domains.

The Chief Executive Officer of SmartSat delved into SmartSat’s activities in the realm of water quality, shedding light on initiatives like the AquaWatch mission. Additionally, he provided insights into the upcoming Kanyini mission, which promises to leverage Hyperspectral Imager technology coupled with Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things connectivity. These cutting-edge advancements have the potential to revolutionise how we monitor and manage water quality, offering significant benefits to both Queensland and Australia as a whole.

Attendees had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with tools such as R and ENVI for hyperspectral image analysis, equipping them with practical skills that can be applied to real-world challenges. This knowledge dissemination is vital for bolstering Australia’s technological capabilities in the EO domain.

A comprehensive overview of SmartSat CRC’s Maya Nula program was also presented. This program aims to develop continent-wide crop and yield monitoring capabilities, a critical aspect of agricultural management. By harnessing EO technologies and data, this initiative holds the potential to revolutionize agriculture in Australia, enhancing productivity and sustainability.

Special acknowledgements were extended to Associate Professor Sanjeev Srivastava from the University of South Australia and Dr. Prashant Kumar Srivastava from Banaras Hindu University, India, for their valuable contributions and leadership during the event. Dr. Srivastava’s attendance was supported through the SmartSat Visiting Fellowship scheme, exemplifying the commitment to international collaboration and knowledge exchange.

OpenGov Asia earlier reported that SmartSat, in conjunction with the ACT Government, unveiled a suite of research and development (R&D) projects, signalling a profound commitment to advancing space technology and capabilities in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

This collaboration has seen their joint investment in the ACT’s space endeavours soar past a significant milestone, reaching over AU$7 million. The announcement coincides with the launch of the ACT Space Update 2023, highlighting the organisation’s dedication to contributing to the region’s growing reputation as a hub for cutting-edge space research.


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