Project 3DGBR: A high-resolution depth model for the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea

Authors: Beaman, R. J.

Year: 2010

Publication: Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) Project 2.5i.1a Final Report, Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Cairns, Australia, pp. 13 plus Appendix 1.


This project aimed to develop a new high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and adjoining Coral Sea at a grid pixel resolution of 0.001-arc degree (about 100 m). A high-resolution DEM is a critical 3D dataset required to accurately simulate water mixing and current flow within a whole-of-GBR scale hydrodynamic model. In addition, a new grid is required to improve the geomorphic detail about the location and spatial extent of seabed features for much of the GBR shelf and Coral Sea region. The new grid utilised the latest data sourced from ship-based multibeam and singlebeam echosounder surveys, airborne lidar bathymetry surveys, and satellite data.

This report contains an explanation of the various source datasets used in the development of the new grid, and how the data were treated in order to convert to a similar file format with common horizontal (WGS84) and vertical (Mean Sea Level) datums. Descriptive statistics are presented to show the relative proportion of source data used in the new grid. The report continues with a detailed explanation of the pre-processing and gridding process methodology used to develop the grid. A description is also provided for additional spatial analysis on the new grid in order to derive associated grids and layers.

The results section provides a short overview of the improvement of the new grid over the current Australian Bathymetry and Topography Grid. The report then presents the results of the new grid, called gbr100, and the associated derived map outputs as a series of figures. A table of metadata for the current source data accompanies this report as Appendix 1.

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