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11 January 2013

NOAA Data Not currently Available from Geoscience Australia

Geoscience Australia’s NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) service is currently offline until further notice due to a hardware issue. We apologise for any inconvenience. Any enquiries relating to accessing NOAA data in the future should be addressed to

29 October 2012

Leo Lymburner has been invited to serve on the NASA-USGS led Landsat Science Team

Recently Geoscience Australia’s Leo Lymburner has been invited to serve on the NASA-USGS led Landsat Science Team as one of four international scientists for a five-year term from 2012 to 2017. Having an Australian voice at this international forum is important because it allows Geoscience Australia to represent the diversity of Landsat-related activities currently taking place in Australia. Australian representation on the Landsat Science Team will also provide an opportunity to influence sensor design on future Landsat missions to ensure that the Landsat series continues to systematically acquire data that is essential for addressing national challenges relevant to Australia. The activities of the Landsat Science Team will be a point of discussion within the National Remote Sensing Technical Reference Group and other national remote sensing coordination forums.

21 September 2012

National Remote Sensing Technical Reference Group (NRSTRG) Meeting 2012

The NRSTRG meeting was held on 14 June 2012. The full day event was a success with representatives from around Australia coming together to review progress of the remote sensing sector in Australia over the past 12 months. It was also an opportunity to discuss future development and industry needs.

Copies of the minutes are available by email. Please contact

8 August 2012

Changes to MODIS Imagery Availability

Geoscience Australia is currently unable to process MODIS images. This will not effect the availability of SENTINEL hotspots information. An improved processing system will be implemented by the end of the calendar year ensuring MODIS scenes are available from Geoscience Australia to address emergencies over the summer period. As an interim measure MODIS data downlinked by Geoscience Australia is available from the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI). Data provided through the NCI is an unsupported Geoscience Australia product so no user assistance for accessing data through this site is provided. Any enquiries relating to accessing MODIS data should be addressed to

15 May 2012

End of mission for Envisat satellite

On 12 April 2012 contact was lost between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Envisat. The Envisat mission exceeded expectations by lasting 5 years beyond its design life. Envisat is due to be replaced by the Sentinel series of satellites commencing with Sentinel 1 providing radar information in 2013. On 9 May, ESA News published an article declaring end of mission for Envisat. Envisat was due to be decommissioned in 2014.

Envisat was an extremely important satellite and provided data for assessing surface and atmospheric reflectance, land and sea temperatures, land and ice heights, atmospheric change and atmospheric gas composition. These measurements were collected with 10 sensors including the both radar and optical instruments that covered a large portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. An estimated 2,500 scientific publications were based on information acquired from the 10 sensors on Envisat. It proved to be an invaluable environmental monitoring resource.

Data from the Envisat mission played an important role in a large number Australian programs particularly those reliant on aerosol optical depth data (AATSR) and ocean colour (MERIS). Data from Envisat was also used as part of the Australian Geophysical Observation System (AGOS) which focuses on better understanding the nature of the shallow crust of the Earth in Australia to enable precision positioning. Geoscience Australia is a partner within the AGOS project.

Further information on the efforts employed to get the satellite to react and potential causes of its failure can be found on the European Space Agency News Article published 9 May 2012.

18 April 2012

Changes to Landsat 7 Acquisition Due to Space Debris

On 18 April 2012 the following article appeared on the USGS website:

More than half a million pieces of space junk are in orbit floating in and around operational missions. In coordination with NASA, the USGS keeps constant vigil to avoid space debris that might collide with the Landsat 5 and 7 satellites.

On April 17, 2012, Landsat 7 manoeuvred out of the path of a piece of debris that was on a collision course with the spacecraft. This move will affect the location of the data imaged. As a result, the geographic coverage of collected imagery will drift to the west until the easternmost portion of the scene will be missing as compared to previous acquisitions. The most affected region will be the Tropics, which will begin seeing a small offset on or around April 25.

The westward movement will continue until the USGS Flight Operations Team can manoeuvre and reposition the satellite to its proper orbit. This process is expected to take approximately 2 months, and the USGS will continue to acquire data during this time. Details about returning to nominal orbit will be announced when they become available.

Topic contact: Last updated: January 11, 2013