Imagery is derived from sensor technologies used to detect, locate, classify and record objects relative to the surface of the Earth. This includes data sourced from satellite, airborne sensors and terrestrial cameras. It includes but is not limited to orthorectified multispectral, hyper spectral and panchromatic sensors. Raw data is collected from a satellite or airborne mission and then processed and orthorectified to remove tilt, terrain, atmospheric and other image distortions

Theme Purpose

Imagery provides an analytical source and contextual background for decision making and supports multiple applications including:

Mapping; topographic features, bathymetry, feature extraction for other fundamental datasets
Emergency Services; Monitoring active and/or recent fires, flood and storm events
Natural resource management; Biomass, native vegetation and agriculture, managing conservation areas
Geosciences; Geoscience resources,
Sustainable human and land use development; auditing urban


Theme Current Status 
Low resolution at high temporal coverage comprises data from MODIS, AVHRR and VIIRS sensors. MODIS data (on Terra and Aqua satellites) covering the whole Australian continent since 2000, is collected four times daily. AVHRR data also covers the whole Australian continent twice daily and a single continent coverage is collected using VIIRS. Collectively there are seven snapshots of low resolution data being captured daily over the Australian continent. These can be sourced from Geoscience Australia and CSIRO, and in the case of AVHRR-VIIRS also from the Bureau of Meteorology. Medium resolution data at medium temporal coverage consist of imagery from different generation of sensors on board of US, India, China satellites. The Landsat series of satellites provides the longest and most comprehensive datasets since the late 1970’s, the earliest being ERTS, MSS, TM, ETM+ and latest OLI. Data from the ETM+ and OLI sensors are currently still being acquired every sixteen days, covering the whole Australian continent every couple of months. Historic MSS and TM imagery is available over Australia from Geoscience Australia. Archival Aster imagery and close to 2500 scenes of hyperspectral Hyperion data is also available from Geoscience Australia and CSIRO. High spectral and spatial resolution hyperspectral imagery are available for multiple sites across Australia: large area coverage in WA (Karlgoorlie, Pilbara), SA (Musgraves), QLD (Mt Isa, Broken Hill) The data are acquired by the HyMap and various other sensors (SpecIm Eagle/Hawk, NEO-HySpex, etc.) and are available under various commercial licences The TERN AusCover program in CSIRO has also collected airbone imagery over eight Supersites, which is freely available under creative commons with attribution licensing conditions CSIRO is currently putting together a geo-database to capture available data and ownership/licencing agreements There are currently no long-term programs to systematically acquire hyperspectral data. Data are collected as required for different projects.. Very high resolution at very low temporal imagery acquired by airborne sensors is available from different State government agencies, Geoscience Australia and the Australian Archives. This access depends on the geographic location of the imagery and the time frame it was captured. For example; NSW LPI and/or GA would be the agencies to inquiry with if you are looking for imagery acquired over a region in NSW 2010. If it is imagery between 1948 – 1988 then the Australian Archives would be the place to inquire.
Theme Future Status 
In the low resolution at high temporal imagery range the Himawari geostationary satellite will provide additional coverage over Australia every 10 minutes post 2015. Additional medium resolution data will be available through the Sentinel satellites due to be launched by the European Space Agency as part of their Copernicus programme post 2014. The European Space Agency will launch the Sentinel-2 satellite in mid-late 2014, providing similar resolution multispectral data, as well as Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar data at these resolutions. The European Space Agency will launch the Sentinel-3 satellite in late 2014, providing similar resolution multispectral data. In the next 5 years, at least 5 satellite hyperspectral sensors will be launched and at least another 5 in the next 10 years. Below is a table showing the different hyperspectral missions and status.

Theme Coverage

Complete, current and continuous coverage of Australia