Sensor Map

Microsoft funded “SensorMap for Great Barrier Reef” project (UM,AIMS,JCU), has created a facility to publish the sensed data (visual, temperature, light, etc.) directly on the World Wide Web. The online data published periodically can be accessed on MS SensorMap webpage from anywhere.

Click here to view the sensor readings.

SensorMap for The Great Barrier Reef

Recent developments in technology together with widely observed climate change phenomena have revealed coral reef ecosystems as critical areas greatly susceptible to impact of global climate variations as well as other man-made influences, but also as early indicators of such events. The need to understand and protect such delicate ecosystems has created an urgent demand for the sensor networks technologies to be deployed in order to perform essential environmental monitoring and information collection. This data can then be analysed by higher level systems such as a semantic web to eventually provide predictive information on destructive events such as coral bleaching. 

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has a number of autonomous weather stations which collect environmental data on a half-hourly basis. This information is automatically quality checked and stored in the data centre before being delivered to web based visualisation tools. Collecting real-time data at appropriate temporal and spatial scales is critical to understanding complex marine processes and the emerging generation of 'smart' sensors presents new opportunities for automated intelligent monitoring of marine systems. This program of scientific research and engineering development, requiring extensive cross disciplinary collaboration, will convert the existing weather stations into a true sensor network.

Autonomous smart sensor based systems provide one way to obtain this data from the scale of oceans to the scale of individual corals. The development of a suite of technologies to deliver a robust, simple but effective technology platform to support sensor webs has become a high priority for a number of marine and environmental agencies. SensorMap project will be conducted in conjunction with programs that are utilising the existing AIMS weather station infra-structure as its base and extending this using a number of technologies and a number of partners including the University of Melbourne (Australia), James Cook University (Australia), the University of Twente (The Netherlands) and Ambient Systems (The Netherlands). Some of the technical obstacles are similar for any marine based monitoring system and mainly revolve around fouling, powering equipment and the general problems of maintaining equipment in a remote and hostile environment. There are also a number of new sensor network challenges that need to be addressed. This includes: the implementation of high-capacity communication links to remote areas; the storage and manipulation of the large volumes of data generated (including video); the integration of the data into modelling and visualisation systems and the ability to manage and maintain a system that is inherently more complex than the simple passive systems deployed currently.

The SensorMap on The Great Barrier Reef project will provide a valuable interface between the sensors and higher level objectives of multidisciplinary research teams around the world, from sensor networks researchers to marine biologists. Utilising the core infrastructure associated with a sensor network deployment currently in progress on the Great Barrier Reef, this project will aid in the collection and dissemination of a diverse range of unique sensor data.

People Involved:  A/Prof Marimuthu Palaniswami, A/Prof Ian Atkinson, Mr. Stuart Kininmonth, Dr. Slaven Marusic, Mr. Sutharshan Rajasegarar, Dr Jayavardhana Gubbi.


NOTE:  Reef Data from Davis reef and some other existing weather stations in Australian reef sites are first published in Microsoft SensorMap on February 2008. This is a ISSNIP-AIMS collaboration to publish reef data using Microsoft SensorMap Project. 

A snapshot of the SensorMap publishing of the GBR data is shown below.


Real data can be viewed on the SensorMap from the following link (note that this can be best viewed using IE7 browser - windows internet explorer): [ISSNIP-AIMS SensorMap publishing].

More detailed view of the sensor data can be viewed from



[1] Stuart Kininmonth, Scott Bainbridgea, Ian Atkinsonc ,Eric Gilla, Laure Barrald and Romain Vidaude (2004), Sensor Networking the Great Barrier Reef, Spatial Sciences Qld journal, Spring 2004, p34-38




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