High tech data collection from European space agencies will be put toward getting a clearer picture of where whales are in the sea.
High tech data collection from European space agencies will be put toward getting a clearer picture of where whales are in the sea.

Project to count whales from space

An aquarium and an engineering firm in Massachusetts are partnering on a project to better protect whales by counting them from space.

The New England Aquarium in Boston, and Draper engineers say whale conservation needs new, higher-tech solutions to protect them from extinction.

They'll gather data from sources ranging from European space agencies to amateur radio operators to create a probability map of where in the ocean the whales might be.

John Irvine, chief scientist for data analytics with Draper says conservation groups will then be able to monitor whales and their movements.

"If whales are moving out of one area and into another, what's the reason for that? Is it due to ocean warming," Irvine said. "Is it changes in commercial shipping lanes? These are all questions we'll be able to start answering once we have the data."


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