Brisbane’s CBD is mapped by Geoscape.
Brisbane’s CBD is mapped by Geoscape.

What our 15m homes say about Australia

WE'VE heard high-rise development is taking over our cities.

Capitals such as Melbourne have become densely populated because of a boom in construction of skyscrapers.

But new research has shown the situation isn't as bad as you might think.

A first-of-its-kind analysis reveals Australia contains 4953 high-rise buildings more than 35m in height.

This would only put the whole of Australia in seventh place out of the top 10 global cities with the greatest number of high-rises.

That means, comparing the whole country with cities around the world, we're behind Moscow (11,783), Hong Kong (7883), Seoul (7185), São Paulo (6332), New York City (6250) and Singapore (5861).

This map shows buildings elevations in Brisbane’s CBD.
This map shows buildings elevations in Brisbane’s CBD.

Canberra-based company PSMA Australia used a special dataset called Geoscape to map every building in Australia with a roof area greater than 9sq m.

The dataset represents the first time a continent has been mapped at this level of detail, with Geoscape capturing the location, elevation, height, roof materials and footprint of every building, its solar panels, nearby trees and swimming pools.

They have figured out there are 15,243,669 buildings in Australia.

In areas deemed urban, there are 1,279,438 buildings with swimming pools and 1,251,083 with solar panels.

PSMA provides authoritative location data to businesses and governments.

The company's boss, Dan Paull, said the work was a landmark achievement for data technology.

"Having essential, location-based intelligence mapped on a national scale for the first time will drive Australian innovation," he said.

"People inherently understand that location, like time, provides a framework for analysis, revealing insights previously invisible.

"Access to detailed location data is essential for improving services for consumers, businesses and governments."

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is currently using Geoscape to identify buildings that may fall within the scope of new combustible cladding legislation. By identifying features like building height and floor area, the QBCC can locate eligible buildings, which is a key step in ensuring building owners are complying with requirements to assess cladding, helping reduce the chance of serious fires.


Geoscape looks at the Gold Coast and its density with canal systems.
Geoscape looks at the Gold Coast and its density with canal systems.


New South Wales

NSW is home to nearly a third of Australia's population but contains closer to a quarter of the country's buildings.

Despite its reputation for sunnier weather, NSW has almost the same proportion of buildings with solar panels in urban areas as Victoria.


Despite being less than a third of the size of NSW in area and with a population of 1.5 million less, Victoria has only 275,612 fewer buildings.

Victoria has the tallest building at rooftop - Eureka Tower at 293m - and largest building, Melbourne Airport, in the country.


The Sunshine State lives up to its name. Not only does Queensland have the highest proportion of buildings with solar panels in urban areas, it is also the state with the highest number of buildings in urban areas with adjacent swimming pools at 406,366.

Queensland has the highest number of buildings deemed to be in remote communities at 9290, ahead of the Northern Territory and Western Australia.


Geoscape shows the Perth CBD.
Geoscape shows the Perth CBD.

Western Australia

Despite being the largest state, Western Australia has significantly fewer remote communities buildings than Queensland or the Northern Territory at just 1890.

South Australia

Proportionally speaking, South Australia is Australia's most built-up state, with more buildings than its population would suggest. Despite representing 6.9 per cent of Australia's population, the state contains 9 per cent of the nation's buildings.

South Australia has a reputation for being one of the most environmentally conscious states. It has 8.68 per cent of Australia's total urban buildings, yet accounts for 11.65 per cent of solar panels in urban areas.


Tasmania is the most rural state with 33 per cent of its buildings classified as rural.

Tassie has the lowest proportion of urban buildings with a swimming pool. Only 2.26 per cent of the state's urban buildings have an adjacent pool.

Australian Capital Territory

More than 99 per cent of the buildings in the ACT are classified as being urban.

The ACT cannot compete with other states when it comes to tall buildings. Its tallest building (89m) is the smallest of all the Australia's states and territories' tall buildings.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory has the highest proportion of urban buildings with an adjacent pool at 23.9 per cent.

Despite the hot weather, it has the second smallest proportion of urban buildings with solar panels at just 5.8 per cent. Only Tasmania has fewer.