Built environment data to enable accurate location analytics

By on 20 April, 2017

The GeoVision dataset for central Adelaide. GeoVision provides detailed information for each building, including solar applicability, bushfire and flood risk information. 


Officially launched this month at Locate and Digital Earth in Sydney, Geoscape is a built environment mapping initiative capturing location data at an unprecedented scale. Created by PSMA Australia, Geoscape accurately characteristics the built environment across the entirety of the Australian continent. The data is derived from DigitalGlobe’s high resolution satellite imagery and machine learning algorithms that automatically extract all kinds of building information.

Spatial organisations are already building upon this dataset to provide simple access for a wide range of use cases. Among them is the GeoVision service offered by Pitney Bowes- an enhanced version of Geoscape designed to simplify and enhance the experience of using the valuable new dataset.

GeoVision includes location characteristics, such as building footprints and heights, land cover, tree heights, rooftop materials, swimming pools and solar panels, all of which are captured and linked to geocoded address and property data. GeoVision provides detailed information about the built environment, enabling both government and commercial organisations.

Roof type information is available for all buildings which is critical for insurance, roofing and solar companies.

The level of detail available in GeoVision makes it a critical resource for many applications, including: planning, risk estimation, policy making, emergency response and network planning.

GeoVision builds upon Geoscape by enabling compression so that large imagery files can be compressed into smaller, more manageable files. GeoVision is simplified so that it can be utilised immediately without the need for complex queries or data linkages. A number of data enhancements, such as postcode, locality and census boundary information, also help streamline reporting and analysis.

Managing Director of Pitney Bowes Software ANZ, Nigel Lester, describes Geoscape as “A very unique dataset that hasn’t been available in Australia, and for that matter is unique to Australia- something that hasn’t been available globally.”

“What we are excited about is the level of detail and then both the commercial and government applications that this particular type of data unlocks for the market,” he said.

Dan Paull, CEO of PSMA Australia explains that previously producing a dataset like GeoVision was extremely cost-prohibitive, and is set to benefit all kinds of infrastructure investment.

 “There’s actually a large part of Australia that we know very little about- an effective ‘white space’ that constitutes the built environment,” he said. “Unsurprisingly, this is the area we make the biggest investments, and this is the area we in fact know the least about at the national level.”

Thus, PSMA set out to fill this ‘white space’ by undertaking Geoscape and resulting services like GeoVision.

“To understand everything at the building level across the entire country is actually a really big job,” he explained. “We’re talking about something in the order of 20 million buildings and an area approaching 8 million square kilometres.”

Geoscape is a breakthrough in location-based intelligence that provides essential infrastructure for Australia’s digital economy, and puts Australia on the world map as a leader in this technology.”

Geoscape and GeoVision datasets are now available for Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, SA rural and QLD rural. Coverage for the rest of Australia will be made available over the course of 2017.

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