NASA producing 3D maps of Guam's reefs - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

NASA producing 3D maps of Guam's reefs

Posted: Updated:

NASA research scientists are here to map out Guam's coral reefs, to an unprecedented high degree of technology, using state of the art technology. The project is meant to help conserve and protect the corals that are a critical part of our ecoculture.

Up close, it looks like a machine straight out of a Star Wars movie, or maybe equipment that an agency like NASA would come up with. Which it did.

Meet Dr. Ved Chirayath of NASA's Lab for Advanced Sensing Earth Science Division, who invented what's called 'fluid lensing" technology.

"What it does is take very high-speed video over corals, looks at the wave action and is able to actually use waves as lenses to magnify what's under the surface and remove the distortion," Chirayath said. "So we're essentially moving the ocean away and we're getting a 3D view of the coral."

A high-resolution camera attached to a drone is used to map coral reefs from the air with an extremely high level of accuracy, sub-centimeter accuracy.

"A lot of coral reefs are dying off and they're changing their distribution," Chirayath said. "Fish colonies are collapsing. So this is one method that we can survey those coral, understand where they are, how healthy they are, and how they're changing over time."

Dr. Romina King of the University of Guam's Geography and Micronesian Culture helped win a grant for the Bureau of Statistics & Plans to fund the project.

"Coral is so important in terms of economic reasons," she said. "Several years ago there was an economic valuation study of Guam's coral reefs, and it was over $50 million that our reefs are worth to our local economy."

"But really we're talking about the rain forests of the sea," added Chirayath. "These support over 90 percent of the biodiversity in the oceans start their lives in the coral reefs, and so if we lose them we may be losing out on potential future medicines. We currently derive over a hundred different medicines from coral, and the list goes on."

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Park restrooms must be assessed before contractors begin maintenance

    Park restrooms must be assessed before contractors begin maintenance

    Our tourists come to Guam to see the sights of Guam. Unfortunately, our park restrooms provide an unwanted smell. The Department of Parks & Recreation has recently awarded an invitation for bid contract for the maintenance of the 15 public parks controlleMore >>
    Our tourists come to Guam to see the sights of Guam. Unfortunately, our park restrooms provide an unwanted smell. The Department of Parks & Recreation has recently awarded an invitation for bid contract for the maintenance of the 15 public parks controlleMore >>
  • Man wanted in Minnesota for child porn headed stateside

    Man wanted in Minnesota for child porn headed stateside

    A man wanted in Minnesota will be transferred to the state. Today he consented to an order requiring his appearance in federal court there. Gary James Dokulil was picked up in the Philippines and was brought to Guam. It was in November of last year a fedeMore >>
    A man wanted in Minnesota will be transferred to the state. Today he consented to an order requiring his appearance in federal court there. Gary James Dokulil was picked up in the Philippines and was brought to Guam. It was in November of last year a fedeMore >>
  • Passengers held briefly after airport fuel spill

    Passengers held briefly after airport fuel spill

    Guam Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson Nic Lee said they were called to the Guam International Airport Authority this afternoon to respond to a report of an oil spill. Airport spokesperson Rolenda Faasuamalie says 20 gallons of fuel spilled neaMore >>
    Guam Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson Nic Lee said they were called to the Guam International Airport Authority this afternoon to respond to a report of an oil spill. Airport spokesperson Rolenda Faasuamalie says 20 gallons of fuel spilled neaMore >>
Powered by Frankly