“Earth observation (EO) imagery in Australia is used for mapping and monitoring vegetation, infrastructure, water, urban development, agricultural development, mining and in a host of other applications.Growth of Australian private industry and government applications using EO data and technologies, is severely restricted by an effective means for government and industry to work in complementary roles. Australia develops world leading solutions in EO areas but has no coordinated EO program and our governments (and increasingly industry) continue to duplicate one another.
Australia is critically dependent on EO data across a broad range of government and industry applications but is highly vulnerable to loss of data supply. We can build a more effectively linked government-research-industry partnership that would remove this vulnerability and enable both Australian governments and industry to grow significantly. At present there significant overlap in the acquisition, processing and distribution of data, and the transition from public access to for profit activities. This proposal establishes a public-private partnership to develop and implement EO data collection, storage and analysis distributed across all levels of government and industry with clearly articulated paths to open access and commercial access. The partnership could take the form of a private-public agency that sits across commonwealth to state agencies and can act as a private company, with a 3-8 person office to start the process and cover all project wrangling and administration, with two coordination positions for EO science and products. Australia is unfortunately in a unique position in being at the bottom of the rankings of countries who contribute to EO. This proposal would help redress our contribution on the international stage and would make federal, state and local government activities lower risk, grow a significant sector in the economy and would enable new commercial ventures using EO data to be established and enable this to be continue in the long term. ”