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Recreating the Limones Reef

The VR project “Virtual Mexico” aims to recreate ecosystems to raise environmental awareness
Coral reef in Quintana Roo - Octavio del Río/INAH-EFE
José Pablo Espíndola
Mexico City
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Mexico has part of the second largest coral barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Reef. This large coral reef belongs to four countries and is key in protecting marine biodiversity, including sea turtles, 60 coral species, and over 500 endangered fish species.

Tourism and fishing are the main activities damaging the reef. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), this ecosystem “isn't only a representation of the unique biodiversity deserving protection, it also has ecosystems vital for supporting entire communities.”

Motivated to preserve nature and with the intention of raising environmental awareness, experts of the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) created a virtual replica of the Limones Reed, in Quintana Roo.

Using free software, a last gen graphics card, and an “Oculus” viewer, Rainer Andreas Ressl, Florian Christoph Hruby and Genghis de la Borbolla have transformed satellite data into a virtual marine ecosystem. So far, they have modeled an area of 3.5 square kilometers.

“It's a faithful representation of what happens in real life,” said Florian Christoph Hruby, geovizualization expert.

(Genghis de la Borbolla working on the project - Photo: Camila Mata/EL UNIVERSAL)

The modeling of this ecosystem is part of the project “Virtual Mexico”, which aims to virtually recreate several ecosystems of our country so people can explore them through VR technology and, in doing so, raise environmental awareness and encourage people to make a commitment to protect our environment.


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