Australian innovators are using space data to tackle the planet’s problems in national challenge

Global retail giant Amazon and consulting firm Deloitte are backing the national innovation challenge. Image: Shutterstock

Australia’s brightest young innovators have come together to tackle some of the planet’s most-pressing problems – by accessing and analysing data from space – as part of the GRAVITY Challenge that kicked off last week in Adelaide.

Participating teams from start-ups and universities have six weeks to develop digital solutions to real-world business challenges using Amazon Web Services and Deloitte‘s space data capabilities, on topics ranging from transport issues through to telecommunication, environmental and reforestation projects.

Challenges have been set by established businesses across insurance, mining, government and health sectors with winning groups awarded the opportunity to pursue commercial arrangements with the organisation they’ve developed solutions for.

Out of this world innovation

According to the IBISWorld Industry Report the global space economy is worth a massive US$130 billion, yet with Australia contributing just 1%, there are the limitless innovation  opportunities within the sector.

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Head of Innovation at Deloitte Australia, Jason Bender, stresses that the tasks are a reminder of the limitless capabilities of space data and the answer to cracking the issues of today.

“We have a number of really interesting challenges to tackle over the next six weeks. One is focused on optimising airspace in high-density air zones, aiming to improve the use of airspace in Australia’s busiest flightpaths. Another is focused on monitoring environmental and ecosystem restoration projects, aiming to prevent biodiversity loss across Australia,” he explains. “What most people don’t know is that space data can be applied to almost any problem facing an industry.”

Mr Bender added, “While there will be prizes awarded, the real value for the teams is the ability to work collaboratively with a corporate customer with a real commercial challenge.”

RELATED: What’s your perfect space career?

Some of the real-world challenges tasked to GRAVITY participants include:

  • optimising the use of airspace in locations where high density air transport operations occur
  • developing a system that tracks the location of annual reforestation/deforestation activities in order to inform investment decisions and prevent biodiversity loss
  • estimating residential property values to enable home owners, renters, retailers and insurers a better understanding of the required level of insurance they need
  • monitoring accessibility of information for individuals in remote areas with limited internet and/or phone reception.

Keen to tech-stalk the innovations that come out of the comp? Head here for updates.

Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.


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