Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) – Solomon Islands

Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) – Solomon Islands


The Australian Department of Defence is involved in programs of geospatial intelligence and mapping in Solomon Islands and other Pacific countries, through the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO).

DIGO is responsible for geospatial intelligence and producing maps for the ADF, such as digital mapping support of offshore areas, contingency support packages, three-dimensional visualisation packages, and graphical and animated products to support operational planning and activities.

These activities have military applications, as geospatial analysts “can derive information including maps, charts and digital topographic information to support a range of military tasks, such as battlefield analysis, employment of weapons systems and troop movements.”

Government sources


Defence Annual Report 2007-08, Volume 1, Department of Defence, p92

“The DIGO’s Geospatial Analysis Centre continued its international mapping programs under government-to-government memorandums of understanding. The co-operative programs to map East Timor and Solomon Islands were completed, while production for Vanuatu is almost complete. The DIGO also provided crucial geospatial data for the effective operation of ADF platforms and maintained quality geospatial standards within Defence.”


Geospatial lnformation Systems (GIS), Enabling Services, Australian Federal Police Annual Report, 2005-06, p128

[The Australian Federal Police’s Business and Information Support] “BIS is working towards establishing GIS capability, to provide further significant capability across the AFP. Through its business-assessment processes, BIS has established that the availability of a GIS would provide support to three critical activities.

    • Operational: for example, in covert tracking of objects, vehicles and vessels and surveillance of vehicles and vessels
    • Planning: such as installation of surveillance equipment or operational planning for high-risk warrants, terrorist / hostage incidents or bomb incidents
    • Demographic crime reporting: BIS is undertaking geospatial dataset acquisition (mapping data/overlays), strengthening GIS relationships with such agencies as Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) and Geoscience Australia, and trialling some geospatial software solutions.”

Defence helps to remap PNG, Defence Magazine, July 2006

“A Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian and the Papua New Guinean Governments to remap Papua New Guinea (PNG) was signed by the Australian High Commissioner Mr Michael Potts and the PNG Lands and Physical Planning Minister Dr P Temu in Port Moresby last month. The project will be implemented by the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO), providing accurate geospatial data and map coverage of PNG for use by both the Australian and PNG governments.

“DIGO has contracted the American company Earthdata to collect P and X Band radar data over the country during the next two months. Data will then be used by DIGO’s Geospatial Analysis Centre in Bendigo to extract features and produce topographic line maps of PNG. The Geospatial Analysis Centre has notable experience in this area, having recently completed similar mapping of Timor-Leste, and with ongoing projects mapping the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

“Data acquisition is expected to be completed in less than twelve months, and the project is planned for completion in five years.”


Eyes in the sky, Andy Anderson, Defence Magazine, August 2005

“This image of Honiara, Solomon Islands, is produced from commercial satellite imagery, sourced from Digital Globe, draped over a terrain model that provides details of the relief. The image has been tilted to provide a perspective view of the city and highlights the ruggedness of the surrounding terrain. Defence is participating in an Australian Government program to assist the Solomon Islands to update their geospatial data.

“Typically, DIGO intelligence analysts interpret and analyse digital imagery collected by a range of sensors and platforms including satellites. The results can range from identification of potential terrorist bases, to guiding relief efforts in response to a natural disaster.

“DIGO geospatial experts gather information about natural and man-made features on the ground. Geospatial analysts can derive information including maps, charts and digital topographic information to support a range of military tasks, such as battlefield analysis, employment of weapons systems and troop movements. Increasingly these areas of expertise are being used together to produce complex products that meet customer needs.

“The DIGO facility at Russell is one of the agency’s two key sites. The other is the Geospatial Analysis Centre located in Bendigo Victoria, which produces geospatial data in support of the planning and conduct of ADF operational and training activities. In May 2004, the Government approved the construction of a purpose-built facility for the Geospatial Analysis Centre in Bendigo, which is expected to be completed in 2007.”

See also:

Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation: Timor-Leste