Using Big Data to Count Whales from Space

Many whale species have been critically endangered for decades, but identifying and tracking whale populations is tricky business – which means that protecting those populations is a tricky business, too. Now, a new initiative from Draper Laboratory (a Massachusetts-based engineering organization) and the New England Aquarium aims to tackle that task by using big data.

Announced at the 2019 Our Ocean Conference, an annual conference of governments and conservationists with a focus on actionable commitments, the aptly named “Counting Whales From Space” initiative aims to… well, do just that. Unlike current whale population measurement, which is typically done by expensive, range-limited aerial surveys with small aircraft, the initiative is employing a “multi-sensor fusion approach.”

Author: Oliver Peckham

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