The Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s iconic ecological site, is not only important to the continent but to the planet as a whole. With over 3000 individual reefs stretching over 2000 kms and home to 25% of the world’s marine species, it is the world’s largest marine ecosystem. However, it now faces a serious threat. Climate change, rising sea level temperatures, pollution and Crown of thorns starfish attacks are just some of the threats that expose the reef to bleaching, and without intervention, could be lost within a few decades.

The ecological value of the Reef is indisputable and the urgency to create conservation solutions is not lost on Andy Ridley, CEO of Citizens of Great Barrier Reef. Andy is quite candid when he says, “The actions of people across the planet will define the future of the Great Barrier Reef.” It’s a complex problem given the scale; time is running out and all-hands-on-deck are required to find solutions that will conserve the Reef. Citizens of Great Barrier Reef is an organisation that brings together multiple stakeholders–ordinary citizens from local communities, multitude of technology partners, the local government and many more–to save the Reef.

Its flagship initiative, The Great Reef Census, mobilises a makeshift research flotilla to capture tens of thousands of survey images from across the Reef that are then analysed online by thousands of everyday people across the globe. It is one of the world’s largest marine citizen science initiatives. By putting the ordinary citizen at the heart of this ambitious conservation effort and crowdsourcing actionable change, a unique but complicated dimension is added to this already intricate problem.

Sahaj and Citizens GBR came together to develop the technology and software infrastructure needed to enable the Great Reef Census; it soon grew into what promises to be an enduring partnership with a collective appreciation of the magnitude of Citizens GBR’s vital undertaking and shared ethos of trust and respect.

Citizens GBR is creating a trusted ecosystem of partners and citizens that’s powered by an intelligent platform that augments and amplifies human contribution towards conservation. Designing such a system presents unique challenges and requires a level of exemplary craftsmanship. Sahaj rose to the challenge with its innovative thinking, and expertise in platform and data engineering to embark on this monumental journey with Citizens GBR.

The solution engages everyday citizens on the one hand and on the other, provides intelligence to the scientific and conservation community to act upon. The process of building it required multiple interactions with the Citizens GBR team and marine scientists to understand the full breadth of the problem. The writing is on the wall — there may not be a greater cause on the planet today than saving the Great Barrier Reef.

The team at Citizens GBR realise that the scale of the problem and the diverse nature of expertise and actions needed to protect and revitalise the Reef is too large for any one organisation. Sahaj is a proud partner in this mammoth collaborative effort and thrilled to bring its engineering expertise in the mix to save the Great Barrier Reef and leave a lasting legacy for our future generations.