The pace of technological change never fails to amaze. Within a decade, mobile phones have been transformed from voice and text-based communication devices to indispensable personal assistants. Fast forward another 10 years and we’ll likely be controlling most of our physical environment with voice commands. Your car might even drive itself.

Not long ago, creating a 3D map of Australia’s built environment seemed like a crazy idea. The cost of collecting the images alone would have been astronomical. Worse still, the work required to link information about each physical address across this vast land would have been unimaginably time-consuming. As a commercial venture, it was a non-starter.

Not anymore. Thanks to rapid advances in satellite imagery, machine learning and big data processing, PSMA has produced Geoscape – a suite of digital datasets that describe Australia’s built environment and help businesses and governments make faster and more accurate decisions.

Geoscape captures attributes of the built environment and links them to a geocoded address. The data can be pulled into mapping platforms to visualise 3D models of the built environment across Australia’s 7.6 million square kilometres. It’s a world-first in terms of scale and capability, and we’re incredibly proud of the achievement.

Historically, accessing the type of data provided by Geoscape relied on planes flying over an area to capture images. Projects like this were eye-wateringly expensive and typically restricted to relatively small geographic areas, like the City of Sydney.

Reimagining the built environment so it can be understood by machines significantly reduces the time and cost associated with making decisions based on what is at an address. It will be used by state governments and local councils to improve planning, development and management, including everything from building smarter cities to keeping people safe during fires, floods and other natural disasters.

Many private sector industries including construction, insurance, logistics, telecommunications and utilities will also make innovative use of Geoscape’s datasets to improve service delivery. For example, it will play an important part in the rollout of 5G telecommunications services.

Armed with this unrivalled view of Australia’s built environment, governments and businesses can quickly and easily make decisions based on how many properties in an area are zoned for commercial or residential use. They can work out which properties have solar panels, swimming pools or other features.

As with every advance in technology, there will soon be many more uses than we have yet considered. We look forward to working with our partners and customers to make these exciting new ideas a reality. Down load the Geoscape Sample Dataset: https://www.geoscape.com.au/get-geoscape/

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