One of the current limitations of public satellite data is the spatial resolution. Currently, the highest resolution for freely available data is 10m wide pixels. While higher resolutions, 15cm-1m wide pixels, can be purchased from commercial sources, to achieve even higher resolution, the Earth observation community has turned to drones.
Compared to satellites, drones can produce higher-resolution imagery and can be cheaper for small and bespoke purposes. However, they require continuous costs for maintenance and deployment (including pilot and crew). Satellites do not require this as – once launched and operational – they are more or less fully autonomous for their 5-30 year service period. Because of this, satellite data can be cheaper for analysing large land areas over long time periods.
While Earth observation and drone imagery are often used synergistically, drone data by itself is considered outside the scope of the activities of ASDAF. Despite this, the value of drone data to the Earth observation community is clear, and as such, below is a non-exhaustive list of freely available drone resources. Please note, this page is not regularly updated, so if you are an Australian company with freely available drone repositories and wish to be included here, please e-mail us at email@example.com
Access additional Earth imagery from drones
GeoNadir is a Queensland-based company that offers drone pilots processing and storage services for their drone mapping images. In addition to this, the company has an open, global repository that drone pilots, scientists, and environmental managers can contribute to and benefit from under the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principle. The company aims to create the most detailed map of the Earth to protect at-risk ecosystems.
ASDC (Australia’s Scalable Drone Cloud)
ASDC is a three-year collaboration between CSIRO and the Australian Government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure organisations - Australian Research Data Commons, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Infrastructure, Australian Plant Phenomics Facility, and AuScope. The collaboration aims to develop a nationwide, cloud-managed platform for processing, analysing, visualising, and publishing data which will accelerate research outcomes. This is intended to encourage the widespread adoption of the FAIR principle on drone-acquired data. The beta version of the platform is expected for release in Q4 2022.