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Search For Aerial Image Innovations Underway In Ōtautahi Christchurch

The search is on for an innovative, disruptive technology to revolutionise how Ōtautahi Christchurch captures aerial imagery.

Images taken from high above the earth are used to make better decisions about what should be done on the land below. From tackling air pollution to water level changes through to disaster management and recovery - aerial imagery provides the Christchurch City Council with important information to make informed decisions.

The Christchurch Aerospace Challenge has been launched today to find new ways to capture these images. It is being delivered through a partnership between ChristchurchNZ and the Christchurch City Council and is proudly supported by the University of Canterbury and KiwiNet.

Christchurch City Council’s Smart Christchurch Programme Manager Michael Healy says the aerial technology currently available can be slow and costly.

“Turnaround time between capturing the images and delivery can be anywhere between six to nine months and poor weather conditions can add further delays. We’re wanting to work with the innovative aerospace startups, businesses and researches that abound here in Christchurch, and across New Zealand, who could help us create an efficient, higher quality, timely and value-for-money solution.”

The Aerospace Challenge requires applicants to submit a concept that will revolutionise hardware and software for aerial imagery capture. Submissions, due by 6 December, should also allow for public access to data, be environmentally sustainable and able to produce a prototype that can be optimised within the Challenge timeframe (January to June 2022).

Four applicants will be selected by a judging panel in January 2022 and each will receive a $10,000 grant to develop their solution. One final winner will be selected in June 2022, and awarded a $30,000 contract with the Christchurch City Council to put their prototype to use in the Council’s Smart Christchurch programme. The imagery will help with the development of a digital replica of Christchurch, to be used for planning, and enable advanced analysis of data.

ChristchurchNZ Business Attraction Manager Liz Eden says Christchurch is fast becoming the country’s aerospace and future transport hub.

Liz Eden

We’ve got an amazing depth and breadth of aerospace businesses and talent here in Christchurch. We want to tap into some of that expertise to help deliver technology that brings value for the whole city, while at the same time supporting the sector.”

ChristchurchNZ Business Attraction Manager Liz Eden

KiwiNet Commercialisation Manager Alexandra Stuthridge says the Challenge provides an opportunity for researchers and students to apply a commercial lens to their work.

“Getting bright scientific minds to solve targeted, real-world problems provides them with invaluable experience that they otherwise are not exposed to behind the confines of the lab bench.”

University of Canterbury Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Ian Wright agrees the Challenge is an important way to build capability in Canterbury and across Aotearoa New Zealand.

“This is a chance to really energise the development of a truly recognised global industry.”

More information and entry details can be found at

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