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Geospatial Imagery of the Ocean

Geospatial Imagery of the Ocean

Geospatial Imaging is helping how we contribute to our reefs.

geospatial imageryNASA has decided to start helping our coral reef systems. Currently, NASA is running a project called CORAL. The project is to use geospatial imagery to map the coral reef systems in our oceans. Developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CORAL uses a hyperspectral instrument that shows what is a healthy versus an unhealthy coral reef system. The project is using PRISM which is short for JPL’s Portable Remote Imagining Spectrometer. PRISM system was mounted in the belly of an airplane that flew at low altitudes above the Great Barrier Reef and pierced the water’s surface to capture high-resolution spectrum data.

After the PRISM system gets the data, a team puts together a 3D model of the reefs. These models are currently being used in a different project to save the Great Barrier Reef. Since the 3D models are extremely accurate this helps researchers learn about the seafloor especially the hazards and features that can be worked on. Robin Beaman one of the lead researchers said, “Unless you map it, you don’t know what it is, that’s really what it comes down to.” The Great Barrier Reef data is the first in a series of datasets that will be released as part of this project. This represents the highest resolution geospatial imagery depth model of the Great Barrier Reef, to date. In addition, “Geoscience Australia will be releasing open source data of large parts of the coastline as it becomes available.” With GIS technology advancing rapidly, this will increase our chances of helping our reef systems.

For reference, the Great Barrier Reef is about 3,000 reefs combined that run 1,430 miles on the eastern coast of Australia. It’s estimated that it will take $1 billion a year for possibly the next 10 years to map the entire reef.

A vast amount of industries rely on GIS data. Fortunately, GeoTel is able to assist. If you would like to learn more, please contact (407) 788-8888.

Valerie Stephen