Microsoft is contributing software, services and technical expertise to address the needs of citizen science on the Great Barrier Reef, an important milestone in bringing the power of technology to the protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef.

In Townsville, Queensland, Microsoft is joining the eReefs project. This is a collaboration between the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and its corporate partner BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance; Australia’s leading operational and research agencies in the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science; the Australian and Queensland Governments as well as the Science and Industry Endowment Fund and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. With Microsoft in Townsville was Tony Burke, the Australian Government’s Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, who has made the preservation of the reef a matter of urgency for our government.

The eReefs Project uses the latest technologies and data gathered from many sources across the entire reef, river catchments and the surrounding ocean to create a digital model of the reef. This will allow environmental stakeholders and the general public to better understand the reef and how it is affected by weather, industry and climate change.

Building upon our experience with the European Environment Agency and the development of applications to monitor air, water and noise quality in Europe, we will help develop ‘’eReefScope’’ a platform for collaboration, analysis and visualization for citizen science.

One of eReefScope’s main goals is to provide the citizen science groups and communities dedicated to preserving the Great Barrier Reef with the software and services that will enhance their activities. Each of these groups has been collecting data from the reef and its surrounds for many years, with their interests as varied as the reef itself – from mangrove growth, to coral outcrops to fish populations and more.

eReefScope will include multiple data layers for gathering, analysing and visualizing the many areas of impact on the Great Barrier Reef. Additionally, eReefScope will include SharePoint functionality so that the many communities that look after the reef can collaborate across groups. The solution will be easily accessible from almost anywhere, capable of receiving data inputs via different groups and communities.

 Read the full blog post on MSDN