Global reef satellite images come online


The world’s most up-to-date satellite images have been published by an international research collaboration and are now set to be converted into a digital atlas.

The international group included funding from Microsoft’s late co-founder Paul G. Allen and the University of Queensland.

The project will see satellite images transformed into the Allen Coral Atlas an online mapping and monitoring project – to be completed in 2020 – that will show the composition and structure of the world’s coral reefs.

Dr Chris Roelfsema and Professor Stuart Phinn, from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Remote Sensing Research Centre, lead the mapping efforts globally, and have completed example maps for five important reefs at different locations around the world.

“The Atlas will be critical to saving coral reefs globally,” Professor Phinn said.

“We can now help strengthen conservation efforts, providing access to high-resolution satellite imagery and advanced analytics, mapping and monitoring the world’s coral reefs in unprecedented detail.”

Dr Roelfsema said UQ had been playing a critical role in what has been a truly international project.

“This project started by capturing a global, four-metre-per-pixel mosaic image of the world’s coral reefs, comprised of satellite imagery from 2017 to 2018,” he said.