Mapseagrass was realized by NOWPAP CEARAC as a result of long-term collaboration between the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) and UNESCO IOC Sub-Commission for Western Pacific (IOC/WESTPAC). Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre (CEARAC) of the NOWPAP, a part of Regional Sea Programme of United Nation Environment Program, has been developing a monitoring tool for assessment of marine environment since 2002. IOC-WESTPAC started Remote Sensing for Integrated Coastal Area Management in 1996 and reformed it to Ocean Remote Sensing for Coastal Habitat Mapping Project (ORSP) in 2008. IOC-WESTPAC ORSP, which has focused on seagrass mapping, standardized mapping methods, especially water column correction and has mapped seagrass meadows in ORSP members’ states. IOC-WESTPAC ORSP has shared the methods and experiences with NOWPAP CEARAC since 2011.
Mapsegrass provides cloud-based mapping tools (Seagrass Mapper and Seagrass Trainer) for detecting seagrass habitats using satellite remote sensing techniques. These tools were constructed by NOWPAP CEARAC, following the suggestion to use cloud computing technology for analysis of satellite images to reduce time and costs for mapping distribution of seagrass, which was given in the Feasible Study for Assessment of Seagrass Distribution in the NOWPAP Region (NOWPAP CEARAC, 2018)
Objectives of Mapseagrass are to share and utilize the same knowledge of seagrass distribution to conserve and/or recover seagrass beds among various stakeholders not only researchers/scientists but also governments, citizens, fisheries and/or policy makers, and to promote public awareness on conservation/restoration of seagrass beds.