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3D satellite mapping of Coral Sea reefs

By [email protected] - 23rd April 2015 - 14:19

A James Cook University researcher in Cairns has completed detailed 3D depth maps of Australiaâs Coral Sea reefs, shedding new light on the likely distribution of coral diversity and sea life in the area. Dr Robin Beaman, from JCUâs College of Science, Technology and Engineering, said mapping the reefs and their underwater landscape had always been a challenge, because their remote locations and shallow nature made it difficult to use modern surveying techniques, such as vessel-mounted echo sounders. Instead, Dr Beaman worked with the German Earth observation company EOMAP and used satellite imagery to develop 3D bathymetry (or depth) data over a large group of Coral Sea reefs. The project focussed on the reefs and atolls within those waters of the Coral Sea that fall within Australiaâs Exclusive Economic Zone, also called the Coral Sea Marine Reserve.

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