The Australian Acoustic Observatory: A New Way to Explore and Understand Our World

  • Date:
  • Time: 10:00 GMT
  • Location: online Zoom
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Speaker: Professor Paul Roe, QUT, Brisbane, Australia


The Australian Acoustic Observatory (A2O) is a continental-scale acoustic sensor network, recording for a five-year period across multiple Australian ecosystems. The observatory comprises 360 continuously recording acoustic sensors and over its 5-year lifetime will collect over two Petabytes of data: two millennia of sound. It is designed to support environmental science and assessment in Australia, and to foster cross-disciplinary research. The data generated is freely available to all online, enabling new science in understanding ecosystems, long-term environmental change, data visualisation and ecoacoustics. In this talk I will discuss the motivations, design and challenges of building an acoustic observatory and demonstrate some of the tools and techniques for analysing and visualising environmental sound.


Paul is a professor of computer science at Queensland University of Technology. For the past 10 years he has been researching how sound can be used for biodiversity monitoring: ecoacoustics. His research group is a world leader in ecoacoustics, it is developing novel human-in-the-loop machine learning techniques to analyse data and innovative data visualisations and summaries. He works with ecologists, data scientists and citizen scientists. He leads the Australian Acoustic Observatory project, which is building a network of 400 sensors which will collect sound from all over Australia. This will result in a unique sound archive of over two millennia of sound data. Paul has published over 150 papers and received over $10M in competitive research funding.