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Satellite data at the click of a button

Geoscience Australia and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) are today launching a tool that makes viewing satellite imagery of Australia easier than ever.

The Sentinel Australia Regional Access (SARA) portal is a new, user-friendly interface enabling the public to easily access the latest images of the Australian landscape beamed down to Earth from the constellation of European Sentinel satellites.

The SARA portal makes it possible for researchers from a range of disciplines to unlock the potential of this vast resource of Earth observation data for their own work.

Overhead view of the ragged edge of a vivid green lake, filled with orange and brown islands of varying sizes.

Lake Mackay, on the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, photographed by Sentinel satellites in 2017. Image processed by the European Space Agency CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO .

Previously, researchers needed to know how to navigate through a complex system, sifting through extensive text files and data lists; the new interface enables users to access data of a specific location by simply selecting a polygon of that area on a map. Through the SARA portal, academic researchers, private sector spatial specialists and various parts of government can more easily access the thousands of daily high-resolution observations that Copernicus captures.

The launch of the new interface is the result of a substantial project at NCI to develop the infrastructure necessary to transfer the image data from the European Sentinel program to Australia and make it locally accessible to Australian researchers.

NCI works to ensure the SARA portal is constantly updated and data quality is checked so that users are accessing the latest information.

Through an agreement between the Australian Government and the European Commission, Geoscience Australia has access to the European Union’s Copernicus program—the world’s most comprehensive Earth observation program.

This enables the Australian Copernicus Data Hub partnership, led by Geoscience Australia, to manage and distribute the satellite data relating to Australia and the surrounding region from Copernicus’ dedicated satellites. The data is then served by NCI, which processes, stores and distributes this data via the SARA portal.

Throughout the Asia Pacific region there is an active research community poised to benefit from simple and reliable access to high-resolution Earth observation data.

In addition, new data collected through the Copernicus program, available through the portal, are being used within the New South Wales and Queensland governments to inform land management practices.

In future, this data will also be able to improve outcomes across a range of areas, including the management of grazing land, monitoring of land clearing activities, tracking water use for irrigation and much more.

All of the Copernicus data available through the SARA portal can be found at Copernicus.nci.org.au.

For more information, please contact media@ga.gov.au at Geoscience Australia or visit Copernicus.gov.au.

Geoscience Aus

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