Allen Coral Atlas wrap-up

I recently left the Allen Coral Atlas team after five great years building with them. It’s been quite a journey from the early demo and my being star-struck about National Geographic coverage, through moving institutional homes, the team going fully remote, and announcing that we had reached global coverage. Here’s what we’ve done since that last update:

A full remapping of the world incorporating feedback from more than 90 regional experts, and 150 Atlas users, to make our automated classification a better fit to what locals know is in their waters.

An example of the classification update, in which the left hand (before) side has generally more noise, and the right hand (after) side has major cleanup in a few circled areas.

An overhaul of the bleaching detection system building on our experience with v1, to reduce false positives.

A screenshot of bleaching detected in March 2023

A simplified reef extent layer, because while researchers need as much detail as we can give them, higher level policymakers and advocates are often better served by summary data that is quicker to digest and easier to describe.

A screenshot of the Atlas showing reef areas in the Caribbean outlined in magenta.

An ocean turbidity layer, directly tracking one of the widespread threats to coral health from human activity on land.

A screenshot of the Atlas showing turbidity around the Indian Ocean for the first quarter of 2023.

A subscription service for bleaching alerts, so that anyone can be notified by email of bleaching detected in areas they have an interest in.

I’m glad to be able to say that the Atlas isn’t going away and its data will stay fresh. It’s easily the coolest thing I’ve ever worked on and may well be the most useful. The pace of developing new features and manually updating data will be slowing significantly, but a smaller engineering team will be keeping it running and keeping the fortnightly bleaching and quarterly turbidity updates going.

And I am looking for the next thing I can help build and be as proud of as I am this one.