Artificial Intelligence: AI To Help Assess Damage To The Great Barrier Reef

Conservation group Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef recruited snorkellers and recreational divers to survey and photograph the Reef.

Artificial intelligence will help to determine the health of more than 300 reefs from more than 52,000 photographs taken by “citizen scientists” recruited by the conservation group Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkellers and recreational divers joined in a movement to capture a snapshot of the health of the Great Barrier Reef. These citizen scientists were then requested to help identify in the pictures problem areas of the Reef such as bleaching that needed restoration effort.

“We built a platform (for the photographs) but it was complicated and was asking a lot from the citizens,” said Mr Andy Ridley, the chief executive of the project.

“We asked them to look at the photograph and segmented and identify the type of coral and it took a long while and a lot of them didn’t finish it.”

“So we now have the artificial intelligence to do that part,” said Mr Ridley.

A new AI system devised by tech giant Dell (NYSE: DELL) will now analyse photographs of the reef, taking about a week to process 13,000 images, or about a minute a photo.

Dell collaborated with several universities to develop the AI program, dubbed Great Reef Census, which identifies the five most important coral categories in every image.

Researchers from the University of Queensland and James Cook University will then take the data from the AI and set up a prioritised program for reef conservation efforts.

Related Story: New AI Tracks Coral Health By Listening To The “Song Of The Reef”

Image credit: Flickr

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