Digital Earth Australia (DEA)

Digital Earth Australia (DEA) is a world-class analysis platform for satellite imagery and other Earth Observations (EO).   

The Challenge

Digital Earth Australia (DEA) is a key piece of public data infrastructure that uses satellite data to detect physical changes across Australia in unprecedented detail. A key goal of DEA is enabling Australian industries to exploit the full value of Earth Observation (EO) information to grow their business. It offers the Australian private industry access to stable, standardised data, from which it can innovate to produce new products and services and be competitive in global markets. DEA unlocks the potential we know satellite imagery and data hold by simplifying both data access and analysis.

In order to ensure that DEA generates value for Australian businesses, the DEA Program needed to understand the requirements of Australian businesses for EO, data infrastructure, and information products as well as providing an opportunity for industry to experience DEA first-hand. Further to this, DEA needed to better understand and outline the problems experienced by different economic sectors (agriculture, mining, finance etc.) to help Earth observation-focused companies better communicate value and grow into new markets.


Over the last 10 years, FrontierSI has worked closely with Geoscience Australia (GA) and other partners to develop innovative software and techniques and new standards in open source data and software. FrontierSI led the first investments in the research that spawned DEA, and with the announcements in the 2018-19 Federal budget for future funding, we are proud that GA has now taken our research and developed it into a world-leading capability.

The Solution

In 2018, FrontierSI was engaged by GA to undertake the DEA Industry Consultation project. The project originated from the need by GA to extend the DEA service offering to include uptake and use by the private sector. FrontierSI worked with GA and reached over 500 people across Australia to develop the DEA Industry Strategy, which was released in March 2019. The strategy’s purpose is to increase the use of EO data and products by lowering barriers to its exploitation by Australian businesses.

The engagement provided industry with a chance to direct the future of DEA investment, but also to receive first-hand training in the use of existing DEA products and services as a way to practically implement the strategy and grow the user base. Through this process, it became evident that there are still barriers to the use and adoption of not only DEA, but of Earth observation data too.

This market research project aimed to address awareness and education gaps in an initial set of five major Australian industry sectors (Agriculture, Mining/Extractive Industry, Financial Services/Insurance, Urban Planning, and Infrastructure Development), and establish mechanisms through which GA could appropriately and actively engage those sectors to maximise the uptake of both EO and DEA products and services. The project delivered detailed market research in these sectors to:

  • Explore which market segments within each sector are most ready to adopt EO and DEA tools.
  • Identify key organisations that could act as advocates and partners to allow DEA to reach into each sector.
  • Identify critical challenges to the increased adoption of EO in each sector.
  • Assess potential use of technology and education in increasing uptake and awareness within sectors.

Almost every sector in the Australian economy benefits from the use of spatial information and location technologies. Australia’s spatial industry is forecast to generate 15,000 new jobs and contribute around AUD$8 billion per annum to Australia’s economy by 2051. Globally, the forecasted growth of 30% per annum in geoservices provides a great opportunity for Australian companies to expand their businesses on an international scale. Together, the industry strategy and market research projects will ensure DEA generates value for the spatial industry, key growth sectors of the Australian economy, including the wider Australian economy. DEA will provide Australian businesses with access to standardised analysis-ready-data (ARD), analytic capability and tools that will allow industry to innovate to produce new products and services, and ultimately to enhance their business and be competitive in global markets.

Further details about the latest industry consultation project can be found here:

For more information on DEA from Geoscience Australia visit:


To learn more, contact FrontierSI at, or connect with Chief Delivery Officer, Kate Williams at