Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs at NASA: Overview of Integrated Collaborations, Projects, and Products
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The "Millennium Coral Reef Mapping Project" Geomorphological Reef Map

Click for larger version of image By using a consistent dataset of high-resolution (30 meter) multispectral Landsat 7 images acquired between 1999 and 2003, Institute for Marine Remote Sensing (http://imars.marine.usf.edu/corals/index.html) at the University of South Florida is developing the first global uniform map of shallow coral reef ecosystems. The program aims to highlight similarities and differences between reef structures at a scale never before considered by traditional work based on field studies. The project has included an unprecedented standardization of geomorphological structures for reefs around the world. It will provide a reliable, spatially constrained data set for biogeochemical budgets, biodiversity assessment, reef structure comparisons and will also provide new high-quality information for reef managers about reef location, distribution and extent. The maps are constructed scene-by-scene, with mosaics produced for selected locations.

Extensive details on the mapping philosophy, global classification scheme, and other aspects of the project are available online at the Millennium Coral Reef Mapping (http://imars.marine.usf.edu/corals/index.html) website. The portion of the project supported by NASA was completed in 2007, however the lead investigator, Serge Andrefouet, expects to continue working with the data and validating maps under support for other organizations for many years to come. Scientists interested in unvalidated maps and working in these regions should contact him for potential collaboration opportunities.

The part of the data produced under NASA support (including validated maps for some regions, and unvalidated maps for other regions) is available for download on NASA web servers at the following location: http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi/landsat.pl. Click on "Access to validated and unvalidated reef classification products". There is also information there on how to cite the information if it is used, and whom to notify about major uses at http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/LANDSAT/HTML/README.html.