SmartSat Queensland Earth Observation Hub

Undertake a critical exploration of the opportunities gaps, both presently and over the coming five years, for the Queensland Earth Observation community.  


The Challenge 

The Queensland Earth Observation Hub (EO Hub), established in mid-2022, incorporates the SmartSat Queensland Node and is a jointly funded initiative of SmartSat CRC and the Queensland Government’s Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DSDILGP). The EO Hub was established to accelerate the growth of Queensland’s Earth observation industry by supporting commercialisation of research, and product and service development. The EO Hub will generate opportunities for data analytics businesses and researchers, as well as downstream industries and upstream service providers of Earth imagery. 

The EO Hub aims to build effective and sustainable research and commercial collaborations between research organisations and Earth observation-related business through: 

  • facilitating access to the research expertise and intellectual property needed to develop new product and service opportunities via new and existing product development projects. 
  • supporting the exchange of specialist expertise, skills, and business acumen via a mobility and training scheme; and 
  • enabling access to research technology infrastructure, including data platforms. 

To achieve the EO Hub’s goals it is important to understand the opportunities and gaps in the EO sector, both currently and in the coming 5 years. To help inform these initiatives, this project undertook a market study of Queensland’s Earth Observation community in May- July 2023. This market study involved surveys, interviews, and workshops across several sectors in Queensland, and along the Earth Observation value chain in Queensland, across industry, research, and government.  



The project team wish to extend our thanks to everyone from the Earth Observation community in Queensland who participated in this market study and kindly took the time to share their opinions. We wish to also extend our thanks to the EO Hub Committee, for their guidance, feedback, and support throughout this market study.  


The Solution 

This project presents the results of a market study performed through a background literature review, an online survey, direct interviews, and workshops incorporating a range stakeholders’ representative of key sectors in Queensland and along the Earth Observation value chain.  

Broadly, the biggest opportunities reported in the next 2-5 years were:   

  • Collaboration and alignment between research, industry, and government  
  • Commercialisation of research 
  • Building capacity in Queensland to cater to national and international markets 
  • Workforce development 

The biggest gaps and challenges in the next 2-5 years were reported as being:   

  • Access to fit for purpose EO data, incorporating issues of resolution, cadence, costs and reliability  
  • Access to fit for purpose data sharing infrastructure including licencing and agreement on standards that promote data harmonisation and interoperability 
  • Certainty of financial sustainability, including continued R&D funding, attracting investment, and improving participation in government EO initiatives 
  • Improved understanding across the EO industry of the needs and drivers of different sectors for growth 
  • Improved visibility of the EO industry to potential end users and the broader public 
  • The development of, and access to, a skilled workforce 

Key Strengths of the Queensland EO Industry are: 

  • Diverse geography, use cases and industry needs. 
  • Queensland Government’s strategy in supporting the EO industry through the Queensland EO Hub, and investment in significant EO data acquisition programs such as the Spatial Imagery Services Program (SISP). 
  • Queensland universities and institutions providing leading EO research and teaching capabilities. 
  • Queensland is primed for growth through a willingness to address the gaps and challenges  



Key priorities for the Queensland Earth Observation (EO) Community identified are: 

  • Data Accessibility and Open Data Initiatives: Promote open data policies to facilitate the sharing of Earth Observation data among researchers, businesses, and the public.  
  • Education and Training: Foster a skilled workforce by investing in education and training programs related to EO technologies and data analysis. 
  • Supporting Startups and SMEs: Support initiatives that encourage startups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow in the EO industry. 
  • Industry-Academia Collaboration: Facilitate partnerships between the EO industry and academia and develop collaborative research projects that will help solve real-world challenges and promote the development of cutting-edge technologies, while growing capacity and impact.  
  • Public Awareness and Outreach: Raise awareness about the importance of EO and its applications in various sectors like agriculture, environmental monitoring, disaster management, urban planning, etc. 
  • National and International Engagement: Engage nationally, with other states and internationally to share knowledge, expertise, and data collaboratively.  
  • Policy and Regulatory Support: Develop supportive policies and regulations that encourage the growth of the EO sector while ensuring ethical use of data and adherence to privacy standards.  
  • Promoting Commercial Applications: Explore and support commercial applications of Earth Observation data. Demonstrating the value of EO data in these sectors can attract private investment.  
  • Showcasing Success Stories: Highlight successful case studies, including products and projects, that have utilized EO data to bring about positive impacts in various fields.  
  • Investment in EO Infrastructure: Encourage the government and private sector to invest in satellite technology, ground-based monitoring stations, and other essential infrastructure. 



I have worked with FrontierSI in my capacity as a university representative on the Queensland EO Hub Project Committee and as delegate to the QLD EO Hub Advisory Board. In my experience, the FrontierSI team were incredibly efficient and focused in providing the QLD EO Hub with greater strategic focus and purpose. FrontierSI was able to rapidly create and conduct stakeholder surveys, analyse and present data in a professional manner, design and conduct consultative workshops, and synthesise their findings into key recommendations and actions under tight timeframes. FrontierSI staff are highly engaging and consultative. It has been a pleasure working with them and to see the momentum they have generated in the QLD EO community.

 – Dr Greta Nabbs-Keller



To learn more, contact FrontierSI at or connect with Project Manager, Roshni Sharma, at