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Oceanites Counts Penguins with Cesium

Oceanites has been visiting Antarctica and counting penguins for 30 years, sharing the reality of climate change through the lens of penguin population dynamics. Oceanites uses Cesium Stories to get research into the hands of policymakers and the public more easily and in an interactive way.

Oceanites researchers at Neko Harbour, Antarctica, monitoring a Gentoo penguin colony with snow and cloudy skies. A ship is in the top left quadrant of the photo. The photo was taken by a drone.

Drone photo of Oceanites researchers at Neko Harbour, Antarctica, monitoring a Gentoo penguin colony. Courtesy Oceanites.

Oceanites’ mission is to conduct and evaluate research on Antarctic penguin populations in support of climate science and inspire key stakeholders to act. During the Austral summer of 2022-23, Oceanites carried out drone surveys around the Antarctic Peninsula, including the Tetrad Islands and D’Hainaut Island, off Trinity Island, which is on the northwest side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

This was Oceanites’ first season flying DJI Mavic drones to count penguins using photogrammetry. Penguins and their chicks are visible in 3D models created from the drone imagery. The organization aims to create a long-term 3D dataset of penguin colonies, to show population change over time due to shifts in snow cover at the colonies. The dataset will also serve as a record easily shared with colleagues, citizens, and policymakers.

Cesium Stories complement thorough research with interactive, geospatially accurate scenes without the need to write any code. Oceanites puts its data into context and augments slides with informative text and high-res images. By default, Cesium Stories include Cesium World Terrain, Bing Maps Aerial imagery, and Cesium OSM Buildings—while Oceanites didn’t need models of buildings on the Antarctic Peninsula, the other global layers provide context for the locations of penguin colonies. Oceanites’ 3D models uploaded to Cesium ion were tiled to 3D Tiles for streaming in these presentations.

In observing and sharing penguins’ ability to adapt—or not—to climate change in the Antarctic, Oceanites urges action to benefit not only the flightless birds but also humankind.   

To bring interactivity and global 3D data to your research presentations with no need to code, follow our tutorial to create and share your own Cesium Stories.