News

Map has many uses

By Country News

Australia’s first high-resolution vegetation map of Victoria has been created with the hope it could help authorities manage future bushfires and improve agricultural planning.

Researchers at Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology have used the most established data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite to develop the first land-cover map of the state.

It is the most detailed map of its kind produced in Australia, and is the result of the analysis of more than 4300 satellite images.

Researchers believe the maps could have a variety of applications including fire prevention, agricultural planning, flood modelling, pollution management, and mining site monitoring and rehabilitation.

Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to have access to this revolutionary image map, which is 25 times finer and more detailed than those currently produced by the Australian government.

Francois Petitjean, project lead and senior research fellow from the university’s Faculty of Information Technology said technology had improved significantly.

‘‘Earth observation satellites have for years provided us with information about the status of large-scale agricultural, environmental and climate problems to inform our decisions,’’ Dr Petitjean said.

‘‘But the pictures we used to see were largely static and unreliable.

‘‘We’re entering a new era in Earth observation, with latest-generation satellites starting to produce images of Earth frequently, in high resolution, and at no charge to end users.

‘‘We now have an unprecedented opportunity to monitor the dynamics of our region — and country — over time, and establish a course of action that reflects the changing nature of the environment.’’

■The map is now available online at: www.monash.edu/it/vegmap