Allen Coral Atlas tracks the world’s reefs from space

Checking coral reefs

A field team from the Carnegie Institute for Science collects critical coral reef spectral data to calibrate Planet Dove satellites for the Allen Coral Atlas. (Carnegie Institute Photo / Chris Balzotti)

Even after death, the philanthropic initiatives from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen just keep on coming.

Today the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies and its consortium of partners unveiled the Allen Coral Atlas, a database of satellite imagery and environmental data aimed at mapping and monitoring the world’s coral reefs in unprecedented detail.

The foundation of the atlas is a global mosaic of satellite imagery, acquired starting last year by Planet’s constellation of Earth-imaging satellites. The images document coral reefs at a resolution of 4 meters (13 feet) per pixel.

Other partners — including the University of Queensland, the Carnegie Institute for Science, the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and the National Geographic Society — are analyzing and validating the images to produce maps that show reef depth and water color, and discriminate between the reefs and algae, land, rock, sand and rubble.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Aerospace and science editor for GeekWire, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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