Remote sensing has helped the government analyse the clearing of native vegetation in New South Wales, according to a report from the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.
Information on all activities are gathered by aerial photographs and satellite imagery, and then checked against known legal projects such as routine agricultural management or clearing of regrowth.
When illegal clearing is identified the department chooses whether to prosecute, issue penalty notices, stop work orders, provide remedial directions, issue notices to produce information, or issue warning and advisory letters.
High-resolution SPOT5 imagery is analysed alongside Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 EM+ imagery.
New South Wales Institution of Surveyors president Grahame Wallis said the technology had transformed the surveying sector, but a skills shortage was now looming.
“Eye-in-the-sky technologies are proving particularly effective at spotting potential illegal clearing and are important tools in land-clearing investigations,” he said.
"Surveying has been transformed by technology and demand for people who have the geospatial skills to understand this technology and to develop it further is now so huge that we’re facing a real shortfall of professionals in the field, especially from country areas.”