SmartSat CRC Know the Market

Earth Observation Analytics Solutions: Know the Market to Grow the Market.   

The Challenge

Earth observation (EO) technology is evolving rapidly, and increasingly being utilised operationally by end users in application markets. This is, in part, thanks to the advances in powerful analytics which are creating an exciting future for the sector. However,  companies responsible for communicating the benefits of EO and creating new products and services for their customers are often too scientifically or narrowly focused in their thinking when translating the value of the technology and its derived information.

This project focused on creating a rapid, deep, and commercially valuable assessment of a focused selection of end-user needs for EO, and more broadly for space technology. It aimed to identify and prioritise interest in a set of problem areas spanning current and emerging issues within Australia in the water, agriculture and mining industries.


This project was conducted on behalf of, and in collaboration with, the SmartSatCRC (SSCRC), Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO.

The Solution

The purpose of this project was to determine the highest impact and economically viable benefits from EO to end-user communities across Australia, define a suite of commercially valuable problems to solve, and identify user companies.

Stakeholder engagement was conducted via conversations, online workshops, and an online survey to garner a deeper understanding of the water-related challenges where EO could potentially be part of the solution. Engagement involved the SSCRC end-user groups but also extended much wider with regard to industry engagement and SSCRC target markets. The focus was on uncovering user/commercial needs, requirements and unsolved critical problems that could be addressed with EO and space-related technologies, as well as validating previous problem areas identified in EO economic value reports from the past five years. Finally, this work also provided an opportunity to educate user segments regarding the future possibilities made available because of space-based technologies.

The project targeted several markets and areas of interest, in alignment with SSCRC key application sectors and identified priorities, including: agriculture, water, mining, and a specific scope of work in collaboration with CSIRO for the AquaWatch Phase 0 project.

The three key outputs were:

  1. Defined, valuable problems
  2. Commercial pathways
  3. Uplift of industry capability (long-term)

This project established foundational end-user and commercial insights to better understand current and future valuable research and new service opportunities for the space sector, with a focus on Earth observation. It created a foundational understanding of some critical problems that require space-based EO technology to solve problems, recommended approaches to solve these problems, and provided some deeper commercial due diligence on specific opportunities that are aligned to the SSCRC strategy and partner capabilities. For example, a deep understanding of the drivers and commercial opportunities surrounding water in Australia. This gave SSCRC and their university, government and private sector partners the confidence to invest in specific research and technology problems that are connected to real market needs.

In addition, the project indirectly created increased end-user awareness of what space-related technologies can do to solve pressing and urgent problems in many areas of the Australian economy, in addition to creating and building trusted relationships with key stakeholders in such areas and markets. This not only increased end-user engagement and involvement in SSCRC projects, but through these and the delivery of successful innovations and outcomes to users, developed an increased willingness to pay, and further willingness to invest at a larger scale (i.e., space missions).


To learn more, contact FrontierSI at or connect directly with Project Manager, Dan Woodrow, at