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Source:   —  October 22, 2017, at 8:25 PM

Google, Netflix and Twitter, as well as the BBC and Australian nonprofit New Horizons, have produced digital experiences that create the reef accessible from your couch.

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You don't have to visit Australia to experience the ponder of the Grand Barrier Reef.

Google, Netflix and Twitter, as well as the BBC and Australian nonprofit New Horizons, have produced digital experiences that create the reef accessible from your couch. Swim in the pristine waters of Australia'south Coral Sea, spy on the reef'south bountiful marine life and absorb up the grandeur of a UNESCO World Heritage Site without putting on a swimsuit.

Some of the projects utilize virtual reality to immerse you in a world that's both pretty and alien. Large names, including David Attenborough and Google, are behind some of the efforts, ensuring they're as entertaining as they're educational.

The efforts to document the Grand Barrier Reef arrive as global warming pushes sea temperatures higher, endangering the reef'south coral. Bleachings in two thousand-sixteenth and two thousand seventeen killed enormous swaths of the tiny marine animals, which expel the algae that live with and nourish them when exposed to heat. An estimated twenty-nine % of the shallow-water coral was killed latest year alone, according to the Grand Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the government body responsible for monitoring its health.

The documentarians hope making the reef'south beauty available to everyone will inspire us to modify our behavior. If we curb global warming, the reef will obtain a chance to recover. If we don't, VR experiences might become the only way future generations can look it.

Start your dive with David Attenborough

The BBC'south "Grand Barrier Reef with David Attenborough" is a excellent space to start your virtual tour of the reef. The three-part series, released in two thousand-fifteenth, introduces viewers to the reef'south inhabitants and is hosted with the characteristic charm of the beloved naturalist. You can stream the documentary on Netflix.

If you happen to be in Canberra, Australia, or Trondheim, Norway, stop by the National Museum Australia or the Trondheim Science Centre to look a condensed VR version called "David Attenborough'south Grand Barrier Reef Dive." You'll spend the 19-minute experience in the Triton submersible with Attenborough as he glides through the Grand Barrier Reef. Further information is supplied by Justin Marshall, a Prof and reef expert, as they slowly descend and arrive up near to corals, an assortment of fishes and reef sharks.

The creators of "Dive," Atlantic Productions and Alchemy VR, also produced an interactive site with five chapters, each set at a different location on the Grand Barrier Reef. Each chapter is accompanied by a brief video and slides that examine the reef and its inhabitants.

One of the most emotional elements is an interactive depiction of the reef'south deteriorating health. It lets you pan a 360-degree camera and modify the quantity of pollution hitting the reef, driving residence the ways human action affects the reef over time. The site won the Best Interactive award at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival latest month.

Chase corals on Netflix

Attenborough'south film may leave you exhilarated, love a baby discovering the treasures of nature. But the makers of "Chasing Coral," a Netflix documentary, wish to provoke more than wonder. The film is a no-holds-barred presentation of the Grand Barrier Reef'south dire health, designed to create us act.

Richard Vevers, who heads marine advocacy The Ocean Agency and stewarded the project, said he was devastated to look stretches of deceased coral after having seen them healthy a year earlier.

The producers re-create the visual beauty of the reef, but Vevers says they can't replicate other sensory experiences that may capture the plight of the Grand Barrier Reef better than any image.

"You arrive out of the water and that'south when it hits you because you odor it," says Vevers. "It'south the dying flesh of all the animals."

The film premiered in Jan at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U. S. Documentary Audience Award. Netflix made it available online in July. "Chasing Coral" won Best Impact Film at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival latest month.

Embark on an expedition with Google

"Chasing Coral" mightn't have happened if Vevers hadn't begun his quest to capture the devastation of the Grand Barrier Reef on Google Str View.

Using images collected by XL Catlin Seaview Survey, a marine study Vevers runs, Google pulled together 360-degree underwater photos in the Google Str View format. The photos, taken in different years, are a record of the reef'south health.

You might discover the experience more immersive using Google Earth VR for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. If you're love me, you'll likely discover yourself intrigued by the shape of the corals. Some resemble brains, others wishbones. They're all mesmerising.

Str View and Earth VR are grand for getting a sense of the scope of the reef and its problems. If you wish to obtain a more complete understanding of what you're seeing, get a dive with Google Expeditions.

Designed for classrooms, Google Expeditions is useful for solo travellers and has an "Examine on your own" option. The app has two Grand Barrier Reef adventures. One explains the ecosystem and science of the reef, and the other serves as a virtual travel guide, showing you well-known spots, such as Lady Elliot Island and Heron Island.

Australia brings the parks to you in VR

New Horizons, an Australian nonprofit, is portion of the team behind the Parallel Parks initiative, a project to capture the Grand Barrier Reef and three other national parks in VR. New Horizons wants to bring the ponder of the parks to people who can't obtain to them, particularly people with disabilities.

In September, Parallel Parks held an event in Sydney, where it showed a two-minute video of its reef experience. In the first min you're flying across the sea at Vlasoff Cay, marveling at the expanse of the reef. Then you're taken beneath the waters where you dive among a multicolored expanse of corals, which are sometimes called "the rainforests of the sea."

Connect a dive on Periscope

In July, Twitter collaborated with travel personality Mitchell Oates to livestream a dive at the Grand Barrier Reef. More than 100.000 viewers watched at minimum portion of Oates' dive, which you can replay from his Periscope channel.

Unlike the documentaries, the quality isn't pristine. But that enhances the realistic perceive of the unedited recording.

Oates' raw excitement is plainly visible as he dives the reef for the first time, ticking an item off his bucket list. Nearby fish occasionally videobomb him as he explores the earth-colored coral.

Real-time viewers were engaged too. Oates panned the camera wherever he was asked, and he answered viewer questions during the broadcast.

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