A ‘treasure trove of data’ has been released that will be key to improving the environmental management of the Great Barrier Reef.

Environmentalists and public bodies will be able to better protect Australia’s ‘natural wonder’ using the new datasets, produced by a collaboration between Geoscience Australia, James Cook University (JCU) and the Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS).

“The Great Barrier Reef is an Australian icon and Queenslanders are lucky to call it their own. Having 1.5 million square kilometres of data shows us the reef’s structure and the underwater geography of the region on an unprecedented scale,” said Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia.

The dataset will support scientific work and aid policy and planning decisions relating to the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg, added: “The quality of this huge dataset gives government agencies access to the information they need to make the right decisions to protect the reef for future generations.

“This is a treasure trove of data and it will be put to a range of uses, including research into marine ecosystems and oceanographic and tidal modelling, which among other things helps better predict storm surges along the Queensland coast.”

Innovations are playing a key role in efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Innovators Magazine reported last year the introduction of the Wave Glider vehicle, pioneered by Boeing subsidiary Liquid Robotics, which uses sensor technology to gather data in real-time on the Reef.