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GBR - Project 3DGBR: High-resolution Bathymetry for the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea (JCU)

Posted on 09 September 2010

The gbr100 dataset provided by Project 3DGBR is a new high-resolution bathymetry and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) covering the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea and neighbouring Queensland coastline. This DEM has a grid pixel size of 0.001-arc degrees (~100m) with a horizontal datum of WGS84 and a vertical datum of Mean Sea Level (MSL).

This grid utilised the latest available multibeam, singlebeam, lidar and satellite bathymetry source datasets provided by Federal and State Government agencies, in addition to significant new multibeam data collected during research expeditions in the area.

The large increase in source bathymetry data added much detail to improving the resolution of the current Australian Bathymetry and Topography Grid (Whiteway, 2009). The gbr100 grid provides new insights into the detailed geomorphic shape and spatial relationships between adjacent seabed features.

Copyright Notice


More information and resources for this dataset can be obtained from the Deepreef Explorer website. Note: Deepreef Explorer has an updated version of the dataset (version 2.0). Currently the e-Atlas is using version 1.0.

Quick links to media:

Wall Map Google Earth (e-Atlas)

Preview of wall map of gbr100 bathymetry dataset showing the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea

This is a map of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea using the gbr100 dataset. It also shows the locations of where new data has been used to create the gbr100 dataset.

Preview of gbr100 bathymetry dataset KML in Google Earth using e-Atlas colouring

This KML allows quick viewing of the full 1.5GB gbr100 dataset in Google Earth using a colour scheme similar to a traditional atlas.

Full Grid [40KB]

Preview of the gbr100 derived bathymetry contour KML in Google Earth

This KML contains bathymetry contours derived from the gbr100 dataset.

Contours [7MB]

Google Earth (deepreef.org) e-Atlas Web Map

Preview of new data coverage KML map for the gbr100 bathymetry dataset

This KML shows the locations of where new data has been incorporated into the gbr100 dataset.

Data coverage [300kB]

Preview of gbr100 bathymetry dataset KML

This KML allows quick view of the full 1.5GB gbr100 dataset in Google Earth using a rainbow colour scheme  

Full Grid [12kB]

Preview of the gbr100 bathymetry dataset shown in the e-Atlas web mapping client

These links display the gbr100 dataset in the e-Atlas web mapping client.

Bathymetry, Total Vertical Uncertainty map


  • Robin J. Beaman
  • James Cook University, School of Earth and Environmental Science
Owner Institution(s)
  • MTSRF 2.5.1a
Project Code(s)

gbr100 bathymetry grid

GBR_JCU_Bathymetry-gbr100: 19000x18000 pixel grid (32 bit float)

Height/Depth in metres

Raw data downloads (Note loading these files requires GIS software):

(from deepreef.org's website)

(from e-atlas website)

Total Vertical Uncertainty

GBR_JCU_Bathymetry-gbr100_tvu: 19000x18000 pixel grid (32 bit float) 

Total Vertical Uncertainty (TVU) in the bathymetry estimated from uncertainty classification of each source dataset.

(from deepreef.org's website)

(from e-atlas)

The TVU grid was created by separating all the source data into their respective International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) S44 Order 1 or Order 2 categories of uncertainty (as per last column in the Appendix of the MTSRF Final Report).

Every depth sounding had the IHO S44 formula applied, so as to calculate the maximum allowable TVU for a specific depth:

± sqrt(a2 + (b x d)2)

a represents that portion of the uncertainty that does not vary

with depth.

b coefficient which represents the portion of the uncertainty

varying with depth.

d is the depth.

For an Order 1 survey, a = 0.5 m, b = 0.013 For an Order 2 survey, a = 1.0 m, b = 0.023

The formula was applied to each source depth point of each survey. This was then gridded using the same process as the 3DGBR gridding process. The AusBathyTopo 2009 grid was used as a base layer, having applied the Order 2 formula to those depths.

Any areas in the TVU grid that did not make sense, usually because of a lack of data, were converted to NoData. Land areas were also made NoData. The result is a surface at the same grid pixel resolution and extent as the 3DGBR model, which shows the maximum allowable Total Vertical Uncertainty at the 95% confidence level.

Most of the Great Barrier Reef shelf lies within +/- 2m TVU (@95% confidence limit)


GBR_JCU_Bathymetry-gbr100_hillshade-v1.0: 19000x18000 pixel grid (8 bit). Note: these GeoTiffs can be viewed directly with windows 7.

Data Units
Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Queensland Coast latitude 10° to 29° South; longitude 142° to 160° East
Region & Spatial Extent
1971 - 2010
Data Collection
Ongoing (next update June 2011)
Maintenance & Update Frequency
Copyright Notice. The content on the www.deepreef.org website is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/deed.en). You must attribute the work as: © www.deepreef.org
Resource Constraints


A high resolution of the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea, Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS) 8 July 2010

High-resolution depth model for the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, MTSRF Conference May 2010


Project 2.5i.1a Final Report: Detailing dataset meta-data, processing steps performed and details of source datasets.



Dataset Short Name
Google Earth Data