Aussie data analysis system wins big at geoscience awards

Geoscience Australia's Dr Stuart Minchin receives the Geospatial World Leadership Awards Content Platform of the Year. Image Geoscience Australia

The Australian Geoscience Data Cube, which analyses the Earth’s satellite data, has won the 2016 Content Platform of the Year category at this year’s Geospatial World Leadership Awards.

Developed by Geoscience Australia, in collaboration with the CSIRO and the National Computational Infrastructure at the Australian National University, the Data Cube organises and analyses satellite and other Earth observation data.

Dr Stuart Minchin, chief of Geoscience Australia’s Environmental Geoscience Division, said it helps simplify information for decision makers in the resources as well as agricultural sectors.

He added that the volume and diverse range of observational data has increased over the past 30-40 years, which presented technical challenges to unleashing the potential of these sectors particularly in terms of monitoring.

“[The Data Cube] enables us to take the incredible resource of freely-available Earth observation data from around the world and improve how we monitor our landscape and better target the money we spend to protect our environment and grow our economy,” Dr Minchin explained,” he said.

The Data Cube has a geospatial cataloguing system to handle and analyse large amounts of satellite imagery and other geospatial datasets over Australia.

CSIRO’s executive director of digital, national facilities and collections, Dr Dave Williams said, “Before Data Cube, satellite imagery and other gridded geospatial datasets were downloaded, analysed and provided to users on a customised basis an inefficient and time consuming process.”

“Data Cube creates a whole range of opportunities within Australia for example, products and applications that can improve agricultural productivity, provide more efficient tools for environmental accounting and monitoring at mine sites.”

The Data Cube was originally developed using open source technology and widely available data, enabling governments to implement their own versions of it.

The partners are currently working on ways to further develop its codebase so it can provide broader benefits internationally.

The awards were part of the 2017 Geospatial World Forum in Hyderabad, India, which honoured contributions to the global geospatial industry.