Reef Tracks nominated for top internet awards



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ReefTracks allows people to track animals on the GBR: Hammerhead shark tagging, Biopixel Oceans Foundation. Image: Erica Heller.

Conservation organisation Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and their Reef Tracks platform have been nominated for one of the world’s top internet awards. allows people to track animals like sharks, turtles and manta rays in real-time on the Great Barrier Reef and has been nominated for Best Science Website in the 24th Annual Webby Awards, alongside science behemoths such as NASA and National Geographic.

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honour” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international awards organization honouring excellence on the Internet.

Like the Oscars of the internet, the Webby Awards recognise the best and most innovative websites in the world, with winners announced at a star-studded annual event in New York.

“Nominees like Reef Tracks are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, Executive Director of The Webby Awards.

“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 13,000 entries we received this year.”

As a nominee, Reef Tracks is also eligible to win a Webby People’s Voice Award, which is voted online by fans across the globe.

From now until May 8, you can cast your vote at Webby Awards.

Reef Tracks was built to bring together data from a range of sources and map it on the Great Barrier Reef in an engaging and accessible way for a global audience, while also providing real conservation outcomes through the research data.

The platform is part of Citizens’ ongoing efforts to build engaging tools to inspire and educate people around the world in the Reef, while also building a cooperative reef-wide network across science, tourism and conservation.

Reef Tracks launched last year on BBC’s Blue Planet Live, allowing viewers around the world to track Midori the turtle who was released to the wild following rehabilitation. Built entirely in-house on a limited budget, Reef Tracks is competing against large organisations, huge budgets and agency teams.

The platform was designed and developed by Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef’s technologist, Som Meaden.

“Growing up alongside the Reef I’ve always been passionate about the environment,” Meaden said.

“After years working at agencies in big cities, it’s refreshing to be able to use my skills for something meaningful.”

Meaden worked for 15 years leading digital teams in the UK, Sydney and Brisbane before taking up a role at Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, who had just formed with Earth Hour founder Andy Ridley at the helm. 

“With Citizens we have a unique opportunity to do things differently, to think about things in a new way.” Meaden said.

“Our vision has always been to use tech and innovation to bring the Reef to life for people around the world and show why it’s so important to protect it.”

“Having Reef Tracks nominated for a Webby is pretty awesome, but it also means more eyes on the Reef at a critical time in its history - so make sure you vote!”

Andy Ridley, CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef agrees. “We are fortunate at Citizens to be working with some incredibly talented people on the team and in a subject that we are all deeply passionate about, the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

“Projects like Reef Tracks, and the upcoming Oceanpedia, have been developed with an amazing spirit of cooperation and on the smallest of budgets and are all part of our vision of developing a 21st century conservation organisation,” Ridley said.

Dr Adam Barnett from Biopixel Oceans Foundation has been working with Citizens to map satellite data from sharks tagged by his team across the Reef, from northern Cape York to Lady Elliot Island.

“Working closely with Citizens to share and map our shark tagging data on Reef Tracks makes our on-the-ground research accessible to so many more people,” Dr Barnett said.

“We’ve been able to learn so much about shark behaviours as they travel around the marine park and share that data with people around the world.”

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef is a network of individuals, organisations and businesses working to preserve the Reef by driving positive action and engagement.

Citizens use the Great Barrier Reef as a point of inspiration to bring together a motivated and diverse network from Australia and beyond, driving projects on the Reef and engaging people across the globe in its protection.

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