Remote Sensing and Mapping for Coral Reef Conservation

satellite imagery coral reefs

The Remote Sensing and Mapping for Coral Reef Conservation Online Course is designed to help marine managers, conservation practitioners, scientists, decision makers, and GIS professionals decide whether remote sensing products and mapping technologies can help inform their conservation and restoration work, and which tools are best suited to their needs. It prominently features the Allen Coral Atlas, a powerful new tool providing access to high-resolution imagery and global benthic and geomorphic maps of the world’s coral reef habitats. The course also presents fine-scale mapping of live coral cover on small reef areas to guide restoration efforts in the Caribbean, developed by The Nature Conservancy. The course is available in four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Bahasa Indonesia.

This course was developed in partnership with the National Geographic Society. The lessons were developed with additional contributions from Arizona State University’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, Planet, The Nature Conservancy Caribbean Division, the University of Queensland’s Remote Sensing Research Center, and Vulcan Inc.

Lesson 1: Introduction to Remote Sensing and Coral Reef Mapping – introduces the key concepts of remote sensing and its applications for marine conservation. The lesson aims to give you a basic understanding of remote sensing and mapping coral reefs from satellite imagery. It will give you the tools to decide if remote sensing can help your conservation work. Lesson 1 provides the core foundation for Lessons 2 and 3 and is designed for managers and practitioners with little background in remote sensing. (45 minutes) 

Lesson 2: Using the Allen Coral Atlas – introduces the Atlas, its content, and applications for coral reef management, conservation, and research. The lesson provides background information and case studies and hands-on exercises that familiarize you with the data in the Atlas, demonstrates how to navigate its interactive mapping tool, and gives you step-by-step guidelines on how to use the data in more advanced applications. (45 minutes) 

Lesson 3: Multi-Scale Mapping of Coral Reefs in the Caribbean – introduces the remote sensing technology to map coral reefs at a fine scale at some locations. Building on the previous two lessons, Lesson 3 is about new technology to address management questions that target live coral cover, reef health, and monitoring changes at the colony level. We provide case studies and hands-on activities that familiarize you with the latest Caribbean coral reef maps, demonstrate how to navigate the different mapping tools, and give you a preview of what remote sensing technology can achieve. (45 minutes)

Available Languages

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Course Audience

Marine Managers and Practitioners


2.5 hours
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