Keynote Presentation – Microsoft

Steve Van Bodegraven1, Trevor Dhu1



Solving the world’s greatest sustainability challenges will require a global effort and Microsoft is working to enable a global community to develop the Planetary Computer. The Planetary Computer combines a growing, multi-petabyte catalog of global environmental data with intuitive APIs, a flexible scientific environment that allows users to answer global questions about that data, and applications that put those answers in the hands of conservation stakeholders. Just as importantly, this approach is providing a pathway for local solutions to quickly be scaled up to provide regional and, eventually, global impact.

The Healthy Country AI project in Kakadu National Park is an example of the power of this sort of infrastructure for transforming our approach to environmental management. This collaboration between Bininj co-researchers and Indigenous rangers, the Kakadu Board of Management, CSIRO, Parks Australia, Northern Australia National Environment Science Program (NESP), the University of Western Australia (UWA), Charles Darwin University (CDU) and Microsoft is supporting better decision-making to care for significant species and habitats on Indigenous lands. This work has used narrow or targeted AI approaches to build initial models and methods for small scale, targeted areas and then incrementally scale it to cover large regions. Different ML approaches are being used for everything from mapping landcover from drone data through to optimising the on-ground land management and weed control actions that are being taken. The ultimate result of this work has been both:

  • a step change in the health of the lands being managed; and
  • an approach that is scaling up to Northern Australia, including the Pilbara, Arnhem Land and Cape York.

This ability to use global infrastructure to scale local models and solutions is at the heart of the Planetary Computer and the community that we are enabling. It is both enabling local communities to access and leverage global data and models as well as accelerating the scale up of local solutions to address global sustainability challenges.


Steve van Bodegraven

Steven began collaborating with CSIRO in 2018 as part of our Healthy Country AI partnership and is currently involved in Climate Resilient Enterprises and Net Zero Emissions missions.

Trevor Dhu

As part of Microsoft’s Sustainability Science Team Trevor helping Microsoft to be carbon negative, water positive, zero waste, and protect more land than it uses by 2030. We’re also helping to build the Planetary Computer platform to transform the way the world monitors, models, and manages the Earth’s natural systems.


Jul 06 2021


11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Jul 05 2021
  • Time: 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm