Project 3D-GBR: Bathymetry grid development and geological science outputs
July 05, 2018

Author: Beaman, R.J., Webster, J.M., Puga-Bernabéu, Á., Hinestrosa, G., McNeil, M.A., Nothdurft, L., Bridge, T.C.L., Daniell, J.

Year: 2018

Publication: Project 3D-GBR: Bathymetry grid development and geological science outputs, AMSA 2018 Canyons to Coast, 01-05 July 2018. Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA), Adelaide, Australia.


Project 3D-GBR is a long-term bathymetry data aggregation project to improve the accuracy of the underwater seascape for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and Coral Sea. In a collaboration with the Australian Hydrographic Service, Geoscience Australia and James Cook University, the source bathymetry data for the project includes all the available multibeam and singlebeam surveys, airborne lidar bathymetry, satellite derived bathymetry, ENC spot depths and GA-developed Intertidal Elevation Model DEM data.

All source data are edited as 3D point clouds to remove noise, apply a consistent WGS84 horizontal datum, and wherever possible, a mean sea level vertical datum. The resulting 100/30 m-resolution grids are now widely used by marine managers, scientists and the public. We show the steps taken to generate these grids and provide examples of the dramatic improvement in the revealed seabed geomorphology.

Importantly, these bathymetry grids have provided the critical data for regional-scale geological interpretations of the GBR, including the character of submarine canyons and undersea landslides along the margin, the distribution of extensive submerged reefs, and the remarkable morphology of Halimeda (green algae) bioherms on the northern GBR shelf.

Here we show some of the science outputs from these seafloor environments and outline future planned research.

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