Friday 7 August 2009

$180 million dedicated to the Australian Coorperative Research Center for Spatial Information


Key Australian industries will gain access to new data, technologies and services through the funding of a major research program in spatial technologies, announced by Senator Kim Carr today.

With a total budget of $180 million, the new Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI-2) involves over 100 organisations including from government and the private sector coming together with universities in an eight-year joint venture.

“The new CRC SI will help us to remain internationally competitive and capitalise on rapid growth in the spatial industry. The CRC Program’s investment in this industry will deliver tremendous benefits to the nation.” Said Mary O’Kane, Chair-elect of the CRCSI-2 Board.

“Through this funding the CRC Program has recognised the tremendous potential spatial information offers to the Australian economy,” said CEO Dr Peter Woodgate.

The spatial information industry currently contributes an estimated $12.6 billion to national GDP. Direct outcomes from the CRCSI-2 are expected to deliver a further $305 million to the nation if emerging developments can be leveraged for Australian industry. The wider benefits are far larger.

Over 90 end-users, mostly small and medium companies, will participate in the program to direct and speed delivery of research outcomes.

“Our end-users give us a tremendously strong picture of the technology and services the marketplace needs,” said Dr Woodgate.

The CRCSI will deliver benefits to several industry sectors including:

  • Health – Preventative medicine policies will be improved through the way in which spatial information can show patterns of disease which are otherwise undetectable. CRCSI-2 will spatially analyse data for early detection of colo-rectal cancer and childhood leukaemia.
  • Energy and utilities – Unmanned air craft will monitor powerlines with laser scanners to get timely, accurate knowledge on the condition of power infrastructure which will improve safety and reduce costs for consumers.
  • Sustainable urban development – Planning, transport costs and “living affordability” in our cities and towns will be assisted by spatially understanding what makes good urban areas work.
  • Agriculture and climate change – Farmers will have more precise information to guide the planting, treatment and harvesting of crops due to spatial precision agriculture. Scientists and land managers will be able to monitor landscape changes more closely, particularly important given the widespread effects anticipated from climate change.
  • Defence – research into new imaging technologies for national defence

Though its strong international linkages, the CRCSI-2 will also be targeting overseas markets to deliver new technologies and services.

“Our fledgling industry will have a great chance to gain international prominence through this initiative,” said David Hocking, CEO of the Spatial Industries Business Association which is also participating in the CRCSI-2.

“Overseas governments are spending big on infrastructure and that is where our 500 members operate.”

“In its first incarnation, the CRCSI helped to position Australia as a world leader in the development and use of spatial information technologies,” according to Warwick Watkins, Chairman of the Australia and New Zealand Land Information Council.


Spatial Information is at the core of a number of platform technologies and services, from traditional surveying to contemporary technologies like GPS and location-based services. It describes the location of objects in the real world and the relationships between objects. Practical applications include environmental monitoring, GPS services, customer relationship management and the management of natural resources, biosecurity, assets, land and emergencies. The spatial information industry contributes up to $12.6 billion to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.

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