Maps to monitor Australian waters

By on 22 July, 2014
EOMAP

The EOMAP turbidity product over Whitsundays and Airlie Beach.
© EOMAP GmbH & Co.KG, Germany 2014. Satellite imagery: Landsat 8 with 30m resolution © USGS/NASA.

 

German aquatic remote sensing company EOMAP has teamed up with Western Australian statutory authority Landgate to deliver water-quality monitoring tools that enable anyone to examine what is stirring up under the surface of Australian waters.

“The fusion of EOMAP’s science and experience together with Landgate’s infrastructure and know-how means that we now can deliver the best possible water quality information from satellite imagery, in near real-time, for all Australian waters,” comments Dr Thomas Heege, CEO of EOMAP.

The products measure visibility, turbidity and chlorophyll concentrations in the water column. The result is high quality digital maps that are continuously updated as these parameters vary across the oceans and coastal waters.

The tools go back in time as far as 2001, meaning that it is possible to compare the current water column environment with baseline measurements from the past.

“As an example, this becomes important when using these tools to monitor dredging and dumping plumes. Perceived change can be compared against objective, quantitative historical data of natural variability, providing a balanced assessment of real change,” explains Dr Magnus Wettle, EOMAP Australasian manager.

Other examples of product application include: identifying algal blooms; tracking sediment plumes from rivers; and, for divers, seeing if the water is clear for diving as well as the return trip home.

Project partner Dr Matthew Adams from Landgate says, “EOMAP’s rigorous modelling provides more accurate and better estimates of visibility, turbidity, chlorophyll, and water depth than standard processing algorithms.”

In addition to this, EOMAP has also developed a web app for public use.

“Our free ‘eoApp Australia’ is an online data visualiser that enables anyone with a web browser to view these water quality parameters in two important areas: Abbot Point and the neighbouring Great Barrier Reef, as well as Barrow Island and the nearby Ningaloo reef,” explains Karin Schenk, head of EOMAP’s Water Quality Group.

“Anyone can access the eoApp and look at the data online. So, for example at Abbot Point, you can zoom in, extract data point values, and monitor basic parameters over time. We also offer the option of professional, customised versions of the eoApp to scientists and managers in conjunction with a subscription to these data product feeds.”

The monitoring is at regional through to continental scales, featuring imagery with pixel resolutions of 250m or 500m as standard. Map products with higher spatial resolutions of 30 m and even 2 m pixels are also available.

“We also have the capability to seamlessly integrate several new satellites that are coming online soon. This will give even better temporal and spatial resolution,” adds Dr. Heege. “The reason we can integrate these very easily is because the proprietary EOMAP algorithms are sensor-independent, and Landgate’s systems are already proven as both robust and scalable.”

To access eoApp, please visit the eoApp Australia website.

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