Queensland Coastline Capture Project for coral reefs
October 10, 2014

Authors: Beaman, R.J., Boyes, G., Alcock, M.

Year: 2014

Publication: QCON14, 7-10 October 2014. Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI), Cairns, Australia


An ambitious mapping project is being undertaken in the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef to rigorously identify the physical coastline of shallow-water coral reefs. This mapping is part of the Queensland Coastline Capture Project, a National Collaboration Framework Agreement between Geoscience Australia, the Qld Department of Natural Resources and Mines, and James Cook University. The aim is to use all available data sources, airborne LiDAR bathymetry and high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery, to derive the low-water line around reefs.

For Australia, the low-water line refers to Lowest Astronomical Tide and underpins the territorial sea baseline from which the seaward limits of Australia’s Maritime Zones are measured. Reefs are important as they can be defined as a low-tide elevation if exposed at low tide but submerged at high tide, and may also have islands as naturally formed areas of land above water at high tide. Therefore accurately mapping these offshore features has significant implications for defining the limits of Australia’s Maritime Zones.

This seminar highlights the current maritime features, limits and zones within the Australian Maritime Boundaries spatial database. Case studies are then shown demonstrating how source datasets have been used to improve maps of the low-water line around coral reefs. The seminar concludes with the vision of the new coastline data providing greater certainty and improved governance within Australia’s marine space.

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