Space Shepherd: Satellite remote sensing of sheep distributions in 2020 and 2030

WA Sheep Matters

Western Australia is recognized as one of the most reliable producers of food and fibre products with high quality around the world. Western Australia is also one of the most important producers for sheep products such as wool and lamb. Due to the high quality of sheep, most of the sheep products are exported to overseas markets in more than 50 countries. Predicting the future sheep population is a significant research and innovation topic for sheep industries, government and local communities. 


Spatio-temporay Modeling based Sheep Population Prediction

We propose to monitor and predict the future distributions of sheep population in Australia especially Western Australia using satellite remote sensing data and machine learning method. Sheep population data is sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics. We also collect satellite remote sensing data of temperature and precipitation from NASA website and IPCC future global climate change scenarios data. Six variables related to temperature and prediction conditions with significant correlations are used for prediction. For the accurate prediction, a comparison study is performed with linear model, nonlinear model and machine learning method. Nonlinear model shows their nonlinear relationships between sheep population and predictor variables. Machine learning method performs best among all methods.

As a result, sheep population distributions are predicted using machine learning method in Australia especially Western Australia in 2020 and 2030. Results show that with the increased temperature and decreased precipitation in the future, sheep population will be decreased in 2020 and increase in 2030, which also varies in different places


Online Sheep Population Prediction Geovisualization

Based on the predictions, we develop the online interactive geovisualisation system for decision making of industrial practice. You can learn the distributions of sheep population across Australia. Click any local region, you can search its name, state, sheep population in 2010, 2020 and 2030, and corresponding temperature and precipitation data. We also develop an interactive system for sheep population predictions in Western Australia. In addition, we provide the QR codes of both systems. You can scan the QR code by your phone or iPad to enter the system.


Please enjoy the online interactive systems, enjoy the accurate prediction and amazing analysis of future sheep population, and especially enjoy the lamb produced from Western Australia. 

For more detail information, please see the Process and Results of Sheep Population Predictions.pdf and code in GitHub.

Team name
The Next 100 Years
State, Territory or Country
Event location
Datasets used
Dataset Name
7121.0 - Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2010-11
Dataset Name
Land Capability - Grazing (DAFWA-036)
Dataset Name
1270.0.55.001 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011
Dataset Name
Tropical Data Hub – Climate Data
Dataset Name
NASA level 1 and atmosphere archive and distribution system (LAADS Web)
Source code and Material file
Project image
Video URL (YouTube/Vimeo)