Spatial Services maps the future of NSW’s digital transformation

Whole-of-government benefits from access to state-wide satellite imagery subscription

December 2019 

Until July this year, government departments have had separate access to satellite imagery which was dependent on their budgets. A workshop convened by Spatial Services in 2018 has been a game changer, leading to a Whole-of-Government subscription that saves money and allows access across all departments. 

All government agencies now have access to:

  • daily satellite imagery feed of NSW providing imagery that is automatically post-processed and published into a cloud environment within 24 hours
  • a monthly basemap webservice providing a mosaic created from the satellite imagery captured during the previous month. This means that a range of users across government can pull a relevant basemap into their own systems with a simple URL
  • access to archival satellite imagery across NSW dating back to 2009, which allows users to analyse change over time
Byron Bay, February 2019 Planet Imagery
Sydney Harbour, July 2019 Planet Imagery

The workshop held last year with NSW Government stakeholders identified imagery and elevation data requirements across all sectors of government, including aerial imagery, aerial LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging - a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges to the Earth which generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics) and satellite imagery.  

Using the requirements determined in the workshop as a guide, Spatial Services went to market applying the Remote Sensing Services and Equipment (ReSSE) Prequalification Scheme and has now delivered a whole-of-government imagery service subscription through Planet Labs. Further imagery from Geospatial Intelligence will be available in early 2020 which consists of a higher resolution satellite imagery mosaic of NSW. 

All government departments have access which prevents duplication of subscriptions and also allows access to satellite images for departments that previously haven’t had access to this resource. These rich data sources strengthen our ability to support the NSW Government’s commitment to delivering world-class public sector services across a range of application areas. 

This type of imagery can accelerate emergency responses in a disaster or mitigate risk connecting communities with information that could save property and lives. Daily imagery can increase broadscale situational awareness, and improve recovery with images available before, during and after a disaster. 

This imagery also helps to manage agriculture, forests and natural resources. The government and supporting agencies can actively and broadly monitor the environment and make better informed policies to address change and improve the future of our environment. Conservation areas, native animal habitats, water bodies and coastal conditions can all be monitored, measured and tracked to inform better decisions. 

What is this satellite subscription all about? 

This subscription features an online tool which allows users to easily search and browse recent and past satellite imagery, enabling users to see change across NSW  over time. It can be used to search an online catalogue of satellite imagery and view metadata. 

This imagery is drawn from a constellation of more than 100 satellites orbiting Earth, known as ‘doves’. The subscription provides the opportunity for government to look for patterns across the state and measure change, it has applications in urban growth, monitoring emergency environmental situations, resource management, infrastructure and countless other functions. 

High resolution satellite imagery is fundamental to identifying trends and monitoring our natural and built environment, providing an accurate resource for delivering environmental and infrastructural insights. 

Thredbo, July 2019 Planet Imagery
Yamba, February 2019 Planet Imagery

What will this allow us to see? 

This innovative service covers the individual administrative area for each local and state government agency.

With a more than 100 satellites in orbit, one of the most valuable attributes of this imagery is that it is updated so often. 

To build on this service, a biannual 1.5 m resolution, four band (RGB, NIR) satellite imagery mosaic of NSW will be acquired from Geospatial Intelligence, with the first mosaic expected to be available in early 2020. 

This satellite mosaic, which is ideal for high level image analytics, will be available to the whole of government along with the Planet offering. 

Find out more about Planet - 

Find out more about Geospatial Intelligence – 

NSW Government users can subscribe to the Planet Labs service by clicking on the following link: Planet Labs Imagery Subscription