Better reef monitoring through simulation

Project overview

Researchers at the QUT Centre for Data Science are working with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to optimise reef monitoring processes and improve asset management. Associate Professor Paul Corry is developing a data-based simulation that will model reef monitoring operations. Scientists at AIMS will be able to explore how changing their monitoring schedule and adopting new technologies can impact their efficiency on the water — all with the click of a button.

The model is built on the back of data gleaned from GPS tracking from AIMS’s fleet of monitoring vessels, giving accurate information on the geographical parameters of monitoring operations including the sequences of reef visits and travel times between them. Corry and his team combined this with data from AIMS scientists, mapping the entire process of human and equipment interactions on a monitoring mission to model the timing and dependence of sequential and parallel actions.

Read a related article on Medium


The model will allow the team at AIMS to input different scenarios and model combinations of staffing, technologies, vessels and routes to understand what limits the current methods and what types of approaches they can use to optimise their resources that support the work. The model is adaptable, so the team can easily simulate new processes or technologies to improve aspects of the operation, and assess the impact before making the financial investment.

This six-month project builds on initial work that AIMS staff produced, bringing the technical expertise needed to boost their simulation and bring the project to fruition.

Improving processes for reef monitoring will have a lasting impact on reef health in the long term.

Project team