The International Symposium on Digital Earth and Locate17, running from 3-6 April at Sydney’s International Conference Centre, will bring together government, industry and start-ups to discuss drones, driverless vehicles, and the emerging global smart cities industry.

concept of self-driving carCEO of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Australia, Susan Harris, said, “Mobility as a Service” is transforming cities and the spatial industry and technology start-ups are key parts of that.

Ms Harris – the keynote speaker for the conference’s Intelligent Transport stream – will outline the latest global developments and the pathways for Australia to leverage connected and automated vehicles, big data and positioning technologies.

“We need to be ready in Australia. We are well placed to be part of the global smart cities technology industry, creating business opportunities and ensuring that our cities remain as livable as they can be,” Ms Harris said.

“But technology is moving very quickly and early collaboration is vital.”

The capture and exchange of 2D and 3D spatial information will increasingly underpin transport networks and cities. Driverless vehicles, for example, will constantly survey road conditions – sharing information about potholes, ice and other hazards – so other driverless vehicles, and drivers, can avoid them.

Even minor road damage like cracks will be captured and shared so authorities can schedule repairs and prevent further deterioration. Drones will also play an increasing role in the capture of 3D data, and later as a new layer of autonomous transport.

“How does that spatial information get captured, managed and shared back out in ways that are reliable, safe, and commercially viable?” Ms Harris said.

“Australia is strong in both positioning technologies and big data, but we need to develop further skills and industry collaboration, including information sharing arrangements.”

The two-day conference will feature more than 130 international and Australian speakers, and provide an opportunity to understand digital transformation practices from around the world and to develop and leverage geospatial data.

The conference will be split into eight separate streams with topics including:

  • Smart cities
  • Virtual globes
  • Intelligent transport
  • Agriculture
  • Engineering/utilities
  • Smart sensors for natural resource management
  • Water and climate
  • Disaster and emergency management
  • The geospatial economy

To view the conference program, register, or for further information, visit

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