The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF) is pleased to be working alongside other research infrastructure providers and research organisations to develop the Australian Scalable Drone Cloud (ASDC), supported by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) Platforms program.

The ASDC aims to standardise collection and analysis of drone data and other 3D data by establishing best-practices in data management based on FAIR data principles and providing cloud-based analytical and computing capabilities. APPF’s particular role is in the co-design and development of scalable tools for improved data accessibility, analysis and visualisation.

The ASDC is a partnership of key National Collaborative Research Infrastructure (NCRIS) capabilities including the APPF, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), and Auscope, as well as Monash University’s Monash Drones Discovery Platform, and CSIRO.

Drone technology is being deployed across many settings, including agricultural research and management, environmental monitoring, geosciences and more, but the data generated can be complex and hard to use.

According to Dr Tim Brown, Director of the APPF’s ANU Node in Canberra, “drones can provide us with great 3D data but we lack the tools to work optimally with that data, and that’s where the ASDC will have a major impact; supporting the successful deployment of drone technology across Australia and beyond.”

“The ability to standardise 3D geospatial data-gathering, processing and analysis via technologies built specifically for the cloud will significantly improve the accessibility, reusability, and interoperability of drone data for application across industry, research and public sectors,” added Dr Brown.

“Drones and similar technologies are increasingly providing us with tools to measure the world in 3D at very high resolution through time, but these types of data are still extremely hard to work with.”

“Ultimately, improvements such as cloud-based processing and analytical capabilities including machine learning and Artificial Intelligence will support more timely decision making based on that complex data.”

Establishing this national ecosystem for drone data management requires the integration of sensing capabilities with easy-to-use cloud storage, processing, visualisation, and data analysis tools (including computer vision and related applications of machine and deep learning techniques), with the platform build to roll out over the next three years.

APPF Executive Director, Dr Susie Robinson said, “a really exciting element of this initiative is that it brings together some key players from across the Australian landscape, supporting next generation developments and research-enabling services using drone technology and associated infrastructure. Through the ASDC partners, we can also further reach and work with a really wide array of research teams.”

“Our hope is to collectively create a national platform, bringing data together from APPF, our partners and users, in order to enable transformative impacts on agricultural monitoring and management.”

Further information: Jo Curkpatrick, APPF Communication and Marketing, (08)8313 0159 / 0419 882 608