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Scientific imagery capturing from above continues to benefit Australian industry

15 June 2015

Scientists from around the globe are gathering in Canberra this week to share strategies for using an unbroken thirty-six year view of planet Earth to address challenges both in Australia and across the globe.

Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane today opened the Landsat Satellite Co-operators gathering where representatives from nineteen nations will collaborate to ensure the greatest possible benefit from Landsat satellites to all countries.

“The Landsat Earth observing satellites take an image of the land and coast every eight days. This provides a valuable record of the global land surface and illustrates how the land is changing, enabling us to better monitor and manage our environments,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Earth observations from satellites are estimated to contribute over $4 billion to Australia’s annual GDP, and although Australia does not operate its own satellites, the country is a heavy user of satellite data.

“This data also supports growth in key industry sectors such as agriculture, oil and gas discovery and mining services and helps to better tackle natural challenges such as floods, bushfires and drought.

“Australia is the driest populated continent in the world making water security vital for a sustainable and prosperous future. By putting science at the centre of industry to help solve challenges we can use this data to enhance understanding of our water assets, enabling us to better manage this critical resource.”

The Government’s participation in forums like this help exhibit Australian science and innovation to the world and provides opportunities for Australia's digital industries to enter the global space marketplace.

“Australia’s Data Cube technology, developed by Geoscience Australia, makes it possible to utilise massive amounts of satellite data more quickly and inexpensively than ever before, to develop new digital products and services with global potential,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Australia is always looking to strengthen our support for our international satellite operating partners, like the US. This commitment is reflected in our national satellite policy. Our recent $3 million commitment to upgrade Geoscience Australia’s satellite ground station is a concrete example of that contribution.

“This upgrade will put Alice Springs at the heart of international satellite programmes, performing a critical role in controlling satellites and ensuring acquisition of vital data.”

 Media contact: Minister Macfarlane's office 6277 7070