Simon Hackett is an Australian business leader who combines entrepreneurial energy with technical expertise. After building Internode into Australia's largest privately-owned broadband company, Simon sold Internode to iiNet Ltd, Australia’s second-largest provider of DSL broadband services. After serving as a non-executive director on the iiNet board for 18 months, Simon resigned that role in November 2013 to become a non-executive director of NBN Co, the government-owned company building the National Broadband Network. Simon has also invested in a number of innovative Australian start-up technology companies.
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Adelaide-based Airborne Research Australia is creating free 3D high-resolution maps of devastation caused by fires in the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island to help communities recover and reduce future fire risks.
The maps, which contain unprecedented detail and are available from the Airborne Research Australia (ARA) website, are intended to assist communities, emergency services agencies and researchers to plan recovery from SA’s summer infernos, to better understand fire behaviour and develop future fire defence strategies.
ARA collects data for these high-resolution maps from low, slow flights by crewed motorgliders equipped with LIDAR *, hyperspectral sensors ** and high-resolution RGB cameras ***. ARA renders this mapping data in three dimensions (3D) and animates it as flythroughs to simplify viewing. Click here for an example, which was compiled using sophisticated software donated to this ARA project by Veesus Ltd in the UK.
ARA founder and Chief Scientist Jorg Hacker, who is also Professor Emeritus at Flinders University, said this high-resolution mapping data would help plan for community recovery and future fire prevention. “In many cases, remote sensing data taken from fire-affected areas disappears into a black hole, so the general public either never sees it or sees only a down-sampled low-resolution version,” he said.
Australia’s first fleet of chauffeur-driven, zero-emissions cars, Evoke, has launched in Melbourne, providing Victorian customers with the carbon-free transport they have long requested.
Launched in Sydney in 2015, Evoke operates a fleet of electric cars that can each avoid emitting more than five kilograms of carbon dioxide into the air every time it takes a passenger from the Melbourne CBD to the airport.
Evoke founder and CEO Pia Peterson said the Melbourne launch was due to customer demand. “Melburnians who use our cars in Sydney have long asked us when we would be there,” said Pia. “It is great to now provide them with comfortable emission-free transport at both ends of their journey.
Philanthropic organisation Hackett Foundation has donated $100,000 to Airborne Research Australia, a not-for-profit Australian research institute that conducts world-leading measurements of climate change.
Airborne Research Australia (ARA) https://www.airborneresearch.org.au/ operates two purpose-designed single-engine Diamond aircraft equipped with globally unique self-developed or adapted environmental measurement equipment.
With climate change a growing concern globally, and ongoing debate about human contribution to it, precise environmental measurements are vital for a deeper understanding and better-informed policy.