[timgcapimported=Kate O’Callaghan and her husband, Som, who are in line for a prestigious award for their work on the Great Barrier Reef.2d27292d-f4ef-4b07-9535-36ee08690c97__4511900c-9109-49ce-88cd-c692adaa8d36.jpg[/timgcapimported]
A Cork couple is battling it out with NASA and National Geographic for one of the world’s most prestigious internet awards.
Kate O’Callaghan, a native of Ballincollig, has been nominated for the Best Science Website in the 24th Annual Webby Awards for the work she and her husband, Som Meaden, have undertaken to highlight the wonderful biodiversity of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Kate and Som work for conservation group Citizens of the Barrier Reef based in Cairns, Australia. They and their group have been nominated for what’’s dubbed as ’’Oscars of the Internet’’ for their work on developing website which tracks undersea life on the Great Barrier Reef.
ReefTracks.org allows people to track animals like sharks, turtles and manta rays in real-time on the Great Barrier Reef.
“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," she added.
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.
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 ongoing efforts to build 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 the 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 with huge budgets for the prestigious title.
The platform was designed and developed by Som, the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef’s technologist.
“I’m delighted for myself and husband that we are nominated for the Oscars of the Internet. This is a critical time on the reef and this kind of attention that can make a real difference in the water.
Our website is not just great fun for tracking turtles, manta rays and sharks in real-time, it’s also key to providing real conservation outcomes for many research projects along the reef,” Kate said.