The Project


Urban Monitor (UM) is an enabling project that began life in 2005 looking at applying broad-scale regional satellite data processing methods (based on Land Monitor) to urban four-band aerial photography.

In 2007, a dozen agencies and partners came together to discuss using this UM research for long term monitoring of vegetation in and around the Perth Metropolitan Region. These partners showed a great deal of interest and agreed to contribute finances and or in kind research/processing time to investigate the idea further.

The initial contributing partners included:

This UM consortium subsequently contributed funding for capturing data for 2007, 2008, 2009. Landgate’s aerial photography program started capturing the 4th band from 2010 onward and the Urban Monitor data has been essentially captured as part of Landgate’s annual program creating an annual saving of around $120,000.

CSIRO led the research effort into advanced digital processing techniques and product development, and the initial research and UM products derived have proven of interest to the original funders. A significant challenge to the UM program is processing power and storage for the products. Each year’s worth of UM processing generates nearly 15TB of data and given the substantial size of the processing task, iVEC supercomputing facilities were utilised. Processing costs were largely managed as a research project but are significant.


The products generated include:

Products still in development include:

Data has been captured since 2007 onwards but at present only a few of those have been processed into products:

Access to Data

Challenges remain in distribution of the data to partners and clients with 15TB annually. This UM web site with map service aims to provide a simple 3 band pictorial (visual) representation of the data, and the data will be made available as a WMS and through the SLIP platform.

The Location Information Strategy through WALIS have provided base funding to store the UM products for the near term.

Partners and subscribers can request the raw product data for their own processing at extraction and distribution (including media) costs. There will be some individual licensing restrictions for some of the data and there may be a pricing and licensing review of the longer term program.

The Future

It is hoped that the UM consortium will be formalised and while the data capture cost is worn by Landgate, it is hoped that the WA government through a targeted program funds the recurrent processing. While initially only the Perth Metropolitan region, the UM algorithms can be applied to any four-band photography (or high resolution satellite) anywhere in the state. The demand is there, but the leadership through a funded program is not yet. If you want to see this program come to fruition, please let your Landgate account manager know how this data could benefit you.

Also see: