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Video: Tracking Tuvalu Tides

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The nation of Tuvalu is made up of nine low-lying islands scattered across the surface of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  These islands are home to over 11 thousand people and for them, the sea is a major source of food.  However, the ebb and flow of the tides has also brought change to these islands.

The sea level monitoring station in Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu, is one of 13 located throughout the Pacific region and undergoing maintenance. For the past 20 years it has been collecting and analysing vital data in tracking Tuvalu tides.  These monitoring stations help to better predict and prepare for the extreme high tide which, in turn helps prevent great loss to personal property.  Other vital services also depend on this important information e.g. infrastructure, large buildings etc.

The monitoring stations are part of the Australian Government- funded Pacific Sea Level Monitoring Project in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate and Ocean Support Program, Geoscience Australia, Pacific Island Governments and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Geoscience Division (GSD).

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Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2015 13:06  

Newsflash

Pacific Island countries and territories are challenged by the necessity to update their maps to reflect the current day realities. “Countries are utilising several mapping systems, or projections, in parallel,” explained Dr Wolf Forstreuter, SOPAC’s Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist. SOPAC is the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

“For example, road networks river systems, coastlines, contour lines and village locations are available on different maps. Often each has different accuracy and a different projection. They do not overlay or fit one on top of the other,” continued Dr Forstreuter.

Dr Forstreuter said that discrepancies are the result of several factors: the mapping carried out by the first surveyors at the end of the 19th century; tectonic shift, which contributes to islands shifting position; legal challenges associated with using old maps, and the need for Lands Departments to move to the use of remote sensing data and new software.