Five reasons to look forward to GEO Week 2019

Blog / Stuart Minchin / October 11, 2019

With less than one month to go, we are getting ready to welcome the global Earth observation community to Canberra, Australia for GEO Week 2019. We are currently on track to be the biggest GEO Week ever, with more than 1100 attendees. Although it is hard for me to narrow down, here are five reasons to look forward to GEO Week 2019:

First Ministerial Summit in four years

As many of us involved in GEO will remember, the last Ministerial Summit was held in 2015 - hosted by the Mexican Government in Mexico City.

In 2019, The Ministerial Summit will be the centrepiece of GEO Week. It will be held on Friday the 8th of November and hosted by the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan. A draft agenda is already available on the GEO Week 2019 website.

The theme of the Ministerial Summit is ‘Earth observations: investment in the digital economy’. It will be an opportunity for Ministers to discuss the integration of Earth observation data into the broader digital economy, which is critical for sustained, inclusive, economic growth.

Clarence Strait, Australia. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA
Clarence Strait, Australia. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA
Clarence Strait, Australia. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA
Clarence Strait, Australia. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA

A brand new initiative for industry

The Industry Track is a brand new initiative championed by the Australian Government. Led by the Australian Space Agency and supported by CSIRO, the Industry Track has been designed to break down barriers between the public and commercial sectors, and Earth observation users.

We are excited to have more than 50 Earth observation innovators from around the world join us as presenters for the Industry Track, including:

  • Andrew Zolli, Vice President International Impacts, Planet
  • Rebecca Moore, Director of Earth Outreach, Google Earth Engine
  • Ben Thurgood, Senior Manager Solution Architecture, Amazon Web Services
  • Massimo Comparini, CEO, e-GEOS

Make sure you leave some time to check out the GEO Week 2019 Exhibition, which will feature almost 30 exhibitors. I am personally looking forward to trying out the virtual reality experience.

If you are registered with a GEO delegation, you do not need to sign-up for the Industry Track. If you are not a part of a GEO delegation, you can register for the Industry Track online.

Collaboration with the Pacific Islands

I know from my work with Geoscience Australia that the Pacific Islands are unique in the way they use Earth observations and there is a lot we can learn from collaborating with them.

Unfortunately, we cannot currently count a Pacific Island country as one of GEO’s 108 Member governments. With GEO coming to the Oceania region for the first time in its history, it is the perfect opportunity for us to increase our engagement with the Pacific Islands.

We have put together the Pacific Island Program, which will run throughout GEO Week 2019. Led by the Australia Government in collaboration with the Council of Regional Organizations in the Pacific together with other key actors in the region, the Program will explore ways the GEO community can more strategically support the Pacific Islands.

Keep an eye on the GEO Week 2019 website, where you can find information about the Pacific Island Program.

Fill up your week

We know that Australia is a long way to come for a GEO Week. That is why we have put together a packed schedule. In addition to the Ministerial Summit, the Industry Track and the Pacific Island Program, there will be more than 40 Side Events held over Monday, 4th November and Tuesday, 5th November.

Even if you are not registered with a GEO delegation, you can still attend all the Side Events for free. You just have to make sure to register online.

We cannot forget the GEO-XVI Plenary, which will be held on Wednesday, 6th November and Thursday, 7th November. If you are registered with a GEO delegation, make sure to take a look at the draft agenda now available on the GEO Week 2019 website.

Do not worry – GEO Week 2019 will not be all work and no play. Throughout the week, there will social functions held in the Exhibition area and at other venues.

To stay up-to-date, make sure you get the GEO Week 2019 event app. Download Attendify from App Store or Google Play and search 'GEO Week 2019' to receive event updates as they are released.

See the nation’s capital

After the long and cold winter but before the sweltering summer, November is the perfect time to visit Australia’s capital city.

Canberra is home to many of Australia’s national institutions, including the Parliament of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and the National Museum of Australia.

If you would prefer to stay on theme, many of the Australia’s science organizations are open to the public. Visit the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization  (CSIRO) Discovery Centre at Black Mountain or touch the moon rock in the foyer of Geoscience Australia. If you want to get hands on, be sure to check out the National Science and Technology Centre – Questacon.

If you are arriving early or staying on after GEO Week 2019, take a trip out to the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla. While you are there, check in at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and see some native wildlife - you might even see an elusive platypus!

So... pack your sunglasses and hit the road to Canberra!


About the author

Stuart Minchin

Dr. Stuart Minchin is currently the Chief of the Environmental Geoscience Division of Geoscience Australia. The Environmental Geoscience Division includes the National Earth and Marine Observations, National Geospatial Information, and Groundwater Branches. The Environmental Geoscience Division of Geoscience Australia is the centre of expertise in the Australian Government for environmental earth science issues and the custodian of national environmental geoscience data, information and knowledge.


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