Research Excellence: October awards

By November 3rd, 2020

While it’s been a challenging year, October has delivered a slew of good news for research excellence at CSIRO’s Data61, with five projects winning awards and two applications of Data61-designed tech used by commercial partners recognised for their innovation.

State iAward winners NSW Spatial Digital Twin, PaintCloud, Graincast and Broadband Demand Forecasting are now competing for the National Governent and Public Sector Solution of the Year award, with the winner to be announced at the National iAwards virtual event on November 17th.

A huge congratulations to everyone involved.

Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) iAwards 2020

NSW Government and Public Sector Solution of the Year – NSW Spatial Digital Twin 

Launched in February this year, the NSW Spatial Digital Twin enables planners, infrastructure owners, developers, policymakers and residents to help better plan, design and manage the state’s cities.

“The NSW Spatial Digital Twin allows us to better plan for tomorrow’s ‘new’ NSW,” wrote Minister for Customer Service NSW Victor Dominello on a LinkedIn post congratulating the team.

“This is monumental reform that will enable smarter decisions and better outcomes for the people of NSW. By viewing this data collectively, rather than in isolation, users are empowered to make data-driven decisions to create better, smarter cities, and plan for Australia’s future.”

The NSW Spatial Digital Twin is a powerful interactive live data sharing, collaboration and visualisation tool accessible from an Internet browser, which captures 3D and 4D spatial data to model the urban environment.

The tool aggregates high-value transport, infrastructure, property, planning and environmental datasets directly from governments, industry and other data owners, as well as from other digital twins and geographic systems.

Learn more about the NSW Digital Twin here. 

QLD Government and Public Sector Solution of the Year – PaintCloud

PaintCloud colourises LiDAR data, linking the 3D range information to real-world colours detected by a commercial off the shelf camera (eg, a GoPro) mounted on the handheld, aerial or ground system used to capture the data. This application allows users to easily and inexpensively upgrade their 3D mapping equipment.

PaintCloud can be applied to a range of scenarios including mining, construction, manufacturing, surveying, agriculture and heritage building analysis. For example, a scan of a commercial building under construction by remote access users would tell them the paint colour used in the main office, the tile pattern in the lobby, or if there’s been any structural damage following an extreme weather event.

“The team is delighted to win the award,” writes Dr Mark Cox, Robotics Perception team leader.

“What distinguishes PaintCloud from existing static or mobile 3D mapping solutions which combine cameras with depth sensors like LiDAR, is that PaintCloud imposes no restrictions on the type of camera, their number or placement, nor the software used to produce the original uncoloured 3D point cloud.

One of the future directions we are excited about is using PaintCloud in conjunction with machine learning and artificial intelligence.”

Want to know more or see if PaintCloud is suitable for your application? Contact us here.

ACT Government and Public Sector Solution of the Year – Graincast

A joint project developed through the collaboration of two business units within CSIRO (Agriculture and Food and CSIRO‘s Data61), Graincast is a downloadable application that enables farmers to estimate yields ranging from a single paddock right up to their entire farm.

Graincast draws on information from satellites, climate forecasts and sensors to estimate historical crop yields, yield potential and crop species.
It applies Data61-designed data analytics platform Senaps to run tens of thousands of complex model simulations and deliver near real time data and complex analytics securely, efficiently and at scale across Australia.

Graincast application

The data is brought together in a sophisticated platform and output to a smart phone for agricultural businesses to quickly acquire information about production without the problem of identifying soil types, calibrating models, searching for satellite information or trying to interpret complex data.
The app allows agricultural businesses to quickly acquire information about production without the problem of identifying soil types, calibrating models, searching for satellite information or trying to interpret complex data.

It can also by advisers, bulk handlers, marketers, commodity forecasters and insurers to forecast grain production at the regional and national scales.

The app is free to download at Learn more about Graincast here.

VIC Government and Public Sector Solution of the Year – Broadband Demand Forecasting

By designing an innovative machine learning model to calculate consumer demand for NBN installation in specific regions across the nation, the Broadband Demand Forecasting project enables the decision-making needed to digitally connect all Australians.

The model combines demographic-specific data gathered weekly with existing consumer data such as service type, past order records and premise type. The resulting predictions are displayed as fine-grained spatial-temporal dimensions, with an overlayed scenario model used to produce the final forecast.

Compared to the existing heuristic model, this machine learning version achieved a 30% improvement on prediction accuracy and a 62.5% reduction in workload reduction for analysts. NBN was able to achieve a 96% on-time connection rate for new customers and attracted 2.5 million new clients.

NBN machine learning

The machine learning model for NBN’s Service Demand Forecast.

The techniques and datasets developed in this project were used to launch NBN’s successful 2018 campaign to incentivise retail service providers (RSPs). To calculate the incentives, the original predictive analytics approach was tweaked to forecast at not only a regional level, but for every RSP.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, NBN maintained a high on-time connection rate (97%) as a result of the forecast model, with half a million new customers attracted in the 3rd quarter of 2020.

This data-driven decision-making support tool could be applied to other telecommunications or customer-centred services to ensure a successful product roll out.

IoT Awards

Intelligent Data Infrastructure Award – Senaps

Senaps helps data-driven products get to market by providing the foundations needed to manage complex analysis alongside IoT and spatial data. Well suited for start-ups, SMEs and research organisations, Senaps is an established platform that can help businesses build or enhance their data-driven product. The award recognises that real-time data is increasingly important to Australian industry, government and community to realise value and efficiencies and to enhance our lives, says the team.

“The Senaps platform from CSIRO’s Data61 is delivering a really important linkage between real-time data and the analytics and scientific work that happens, to analyse and research into that data.” said Geof Heydon, Chair of the IoT Alliance Platforms and Interoperability Workstream and one of the judges.


The technology can be found in HydraSpectra, Graincast, Waterwise Planner and Ceres Tag’s livestock provenance and management smart ear tags and platform.

“I think there are some really important big trends in data analytics that they are going to be able to enable and drive, and that’s one of the things where we saw there is the greatest potential for impact going forward.”

The technology can be found in HydraSpectra, Graincast, Waterwise Planner and Ceres Tag’s livestock provenance and management smart ear tags and platform.

Find out more about Senaps here.

Honorary mentions

IoT Awards Finalists – Geelong Tech High School, Bees with Backpacks program

Geelong Tech School are a finalist in this year’s Australian IoT Awards held for their Bees with Backpacks program.

The program utilises micro-sensing technology developed by our Cybernetics team that can be placed on bees to track the time they spend from the hive, how far they travel and what they do — all important information in helping to understand risks to bee populations and addressing them.

These high-tech micro-sensors (also known as backpacks) are manually fitted to bees and work in much the same way as a vehicle e-tag system, with strategically placed receivers identifying individual bees and recording their movements.

Learn more about the Bees with Backpacks program here.

iAwards VIC Start-Ups – Ynomia, BLEAT technology

BLEAT technology applied by end-to-end construction data solution Ynomia has been recognised for ‘providing a digitised solution for construction projects that run over budget and are delayed.’

Ynomia’s BLEAT-based solution works in collaboration with CSIRO’s Data61 Distributed Sensing Systems Group, who have developed the proprietary BLE-localisation IoT algorithm and BLEAT tracking platforms (BLEATag and BLEAcons) to provide large scale, rapidly deployable real-time tracking infrastructures.


BLEAT’s BEAcons and BLEtags hardware.

Utilising BLEAT, Ynomia delivers a solution to create a connected jobsite, giving worksite personnel the ability to locate materials, equipment, and people throughout a live construction site in real time, and comprehensive supply chain visibility to remote construction stakeholders.

By connecting the multiple elements that make up a worksite, BLEAT facilitates valuable location information of critical building resources from manufacture to installation, reducing the time and costs spent searching, waiting, and verifying; facilitating the management of complex, high value builds.

Ynomia is the commercial licensee of the BLEAT technology for use in all industries including the construction industry.

Learn more about BLEAT here.