A massive 3-D map of the Great Barrier Reef
Sunday, December 1, 2013, 12:54 PM -
The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia's most iconic and well-known natural features - and for the first time, European satellites have created a high-res 3-D map of the huge coral formation.
EOMAP and the ESA say the map will help assess threats to the reef - an enormous ecosystem exposed to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and more frequent cyclones.
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The data can also help authorities manage other threats, such as pollution, fishing and outbreaks of certain kinds of starfish that feed on coral reefs - which are actually living organisms made up of countless creatures called polyps.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral system, covering some 344,000 sq km.