Space+Spatial value chain

The Space – Spatial Value Chain

In recent years, and as technical capabilities evolve and improve, both the Australian space and spatial sectors have become more diverse in terms of users, more complex in terms of stakeholders and responsibilities, and more holistic in the way space and spatial data is used and managed.

Today, each sector alone delivers a substantial benefit to support a wide range of Australian interests. However, there is a huge opportunity from the integration of space capabilities into spatial services to provide new, previously unimaginable capabilities. As these capabilities mature they will, in turn, generate new requirements for the space sector to meet.


Figure 4: The Space-Spatial feedback loop

This diagram shows the synergistic relationship between space and spatial capabilities, highlighting how integration leads to benefits that would not be realised through each sector operating in isolation.

Space and spatial technologies frequently form integral components of the same supply and value chains. One example highlighting the positive impact of the space and spatial sectors on each other is how the advancements in high resolution satellite imagery led to the development of a new method of coastal mapping to support hydrographic charting. In 2007 the Worldview-1 satellite launched by Digital Globe Ltd, heralded a new era of high- resolution optical imagery for the sector. However, while Worldview-1 provided new capabilities to many sectors, the coastal mapping and bathymetric mapping communities found their applications did not benefit greatly from the greater resolution and new spectral bands. The spatial user community, specifically hydrographers, fed this feedback into the space sector engineering teams for this satellite series who were then able to be incorporate a new coastal mapping band into the next satellite WorldView-2 launched in 2009. This band then allowed for a new standard of shallow water bathymetry mapping that opened up a new field previously thought to be impossible from satellites – using satellite imagery for shallow water hydrographic charting.

The opportunities presented through increased integration of space and spatial sectors is gaining increased recognition internationally. Reflecting this, the 2019 Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Ministerial Summit was held in tandem with the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management Asia Pacific (UN-GGIM AP), the Asia Oceania Intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (AOGEO) and the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF). This co-hosting approach of all the major regional-level space and spatial organisations highlights opportunities not just for collaboration between the sectors but also delivery of joint infrastructure between the sectors.


Figure 5: Venn diagram of Space and Spatial Sectors.

Space provides a vantage point to collect and deliver “ubiquitous data”. Space underpins the availability of spatial applications “everywhere”. Spatial applications demonstrate the value of space capabilities.