Observing the Earth

On the last day of February, I was pleased to host the first Whole of Community webinar for 2019 on behalf of Earth Observation Australia.

Earth Observation Australia (EOA) is a community group for all people who collect and use earth observation data in Australia, to have a forum to present and discuss their activities and define their needs for support from industry, academia and government.  Membership of EOA is free and open to anyone with any professional or personal interest in earth observation (EO). We are a collective group that provides a coordinating and sharing point for all people using images collected from satellite, airborne or any other EO platform (like the ones shown below), and for any purpose in Australia.

Landsat 5 image of Lake Eyre, South Australia (provided by Geoscience Australiaa)

My own interest in EOA comes from working as a spatial professional for many years with remotely sensed imagery, particularly from satellites. EO data is now an important and often critical information resource for all sections of government, research and industry and I am very excited to be able to learn from and contribute to EOA and to these inclusive and informative webinars.

The Whole of Community webinars are held every two months and provide the current status and future plans for national and state earth observation activities across government, research and industry in Australia. Government, research and industry leads are invited to update the community on their respective activities and questions and comments may be posted into the chat windows for review and comment.

At the conclusion of each webinar, we encourage attendees to provide feedback via an online survey, so that we can improve this series, which has been successfully providing updates to the broader EO community since 2013.  In addition, the slides, chats and recording from each webinar are posted onto the EOA website shortly after its conclusion – you can find this one online at this link.

Each webinar contributes to the aims of EOA to support the vision of the Australian Earth Observation Community Plan 2026 (the “2026 Plan”). This vision states that by 2026, the Australian Earth Observation sector will develop and deliver high-quality EO information, infrastructure and services that are used widely by government, industry, research and the community, in Australia and internationally.

The 2026 Plan delivers a unifying focus to motivate and guide the Australian Earth Observation community to take a coordinated set of actions that will advance Australia’s Earth Observation capability, while growing innovative partnerships across government, industry, research and education, to ensure Australia’s economy, governments, society and environments can be sustained and improved.

Ideal Components of a Coordinated EO Capability in Australia (image from the 2026 Plan, which you can download here)

My role as host was to present the current priority actions of the Steering Committee and the Working Groups of EOA for Q1 2019 and then to introduce each of our guest speakers and their presentations, which I have listed below:

  • Update on the Earth Observation Forum 2020 by Karen Joyce of James Cook University
  • Update on Digital Earth Australia (DEA) by Claire Krause of Geoscience Australia (GA)
  • Update on DEA Industry Consultation by Eva Rodriguez of FrontierSI
  • Update on Australia–International EO Collaborations and GEO XVI Plenary & Ministerial Summits by Jonathon Ross of GA
  • Update on CSIRO EO activities by Kimberley Clayfield of CSIRO
  • Update on National Collaborative Research Infrastructure & EO by Stuart Phinn of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland and Chair of the EOA Steering Committee
  • Update on the Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA) activities by Stuart Phinn on behalf of Deanna Hutchison, Chair of the SIBA|GITA
  • Update on National EO Analytics Hub/SmartSAT CRC by Stuart Phinn
  • Update on the Australian Space Agency activities by Joe Andrews of the Australian Space Agency

If you would like more detail on any of the topics above, a full recording of the webinar is available from the EOA website.

The next Earth Observation Australian Whole of Community webinar will be held on Thursday 11 April 2019 from 11am to 12noon (Brisbane time). I would encourage anyone to join us for more updates from Australia’s leading government, research and industry professionals when they present the next updates to Earth Observation activities in Australia.  When the details are published on the EOA website they will be available here, including details of how to join.

Floodwaters in the Georgina River, Western Queensland. This Landsat 8 image is displayed with spectral bands 6, 5 and 3. Image supplied by the United States Geological Survey and processed by the Queensland Government’s Remote Sensing Centre.

In the meantime, if you like any information on what benefits that earth observation imagery can provide your profession or business, please feel free to contact me directly at sylvia.michael@gaiaresources.com.au or phone me in the Brisbane office on (07) 3063 0418.


P.S. For your information, the banner images used in this blog are taken from the EOA website and are excellent examples of the capabilities and beauty of EO data.

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