National Computational Infrastructure

NCI

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Unlocking the Landsat archive

 Landsat_Landscape-1

Landsat 8 image of the Wynham-Kununurra region of Western Australia; showing enhanced water features and mangroves in the mouth of the Ord River.

The NCI high performance computers are enabling remote sensing scientists and engineers at Geoscience Australia to ‘unlock’ years of archival satellite data, and to utilise highly sophisticated analysis methods to monitor Australia’s land and water.

The Landsat satellites have been observing the Earth’s surface since 1979, and have produced hundreds of thousands of images during that time. Until recently these images have only been accessible from an archive, on request.

Using the NCI to process its archived Landsat data since 2010, Geoscience Australia has successfully retrieved 133,000 images. The NCI has provided new methods to calibrate the images, allowing for variations in the instrument, the sun angles and the atmosphere to produce measurements of the land surface.

Geoscience Australia is now analysing these images through time to produce maps of Australia’s surface water patterns which will provide unique information for flood risk assessment and ecosystem management.

More information about the project can be found here.

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