Coral reef conservation technology wins Copernicus Masters 2020 competition

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Reef Support, an automatic warning system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite imagery to detect coral bleaching, algal blooms, sediment plumes and debris caused by humans, won the Copernicus Masters 2020 competition.

The Reef Support team includes Crystle Wee, Yohan Runhaar, Marcel Kempers, Marijn van der Laan and Eilidh Radcliff.

Reef Support addresses both the environmental and economic aspects at hand with state-of-the art technology. Its user-friendly online monitoring and maintenance tool uses AI and satellite imagery to track coastal reef health and also provides guidelines for crowd and pollution control, debris management and coral restoration.

According to the team, different types of data can be combined to form a picture of reef ecology across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. The Reef Support platform can be used for strategic planning and resource management in aquaculture farming, as well. Its deep learning algorithm adapts to user applications and regional tendencies.

The subscription-based service is available on both iOS and Android.

Celebrating its 10th iteration in 2020, the international innovation competition Copernicus Masters awarded prizes in 22 categories to outstanding products and services based on Earth observation data. In total, 591 participants from 47 countries submitted 220 new Earth observation business cases and application ideas.

“Copernicus Masters has proven to be the perfect instrument to reach entrepreneurs to become a reality in Earth observation and tackle challenges such as climate change, technology revolutions, shifts in geopolitical power or humanitarian crises, and to support economic growth, safety and security, quality of life and sustainable development,” said Jan Wörner, director general at the European Space Agency (ESA).

AZO launched the Copernicus Masters in 2011 on behalf of the ESA.