Mr Allum – who co-designed the submersible that took Mr Cameron on a world-record 11km-deep trip to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in March last year – said there are significant benefits to mapping Australia’s final frontier.
“There are currently vast sections of the ocean floor – some just 80 kilometres off the Australian coast – which we have absolutely no knowledge of,” Mr Allum said.
“While these stretches of ocean may be out of sight for many; it’s vital that we start to learn as much as possible about these environments.
“The benefits of mapping these areas are immeasurable, from expanding our knowledge of marine life, hydrothermal vents and geological plates and fissures – to improving our nation’s emergency response and defence systems.
“Removing some of the confusion around climate change is another good example – we have next to no understanding of what effects rising ocean temperatures are having in areas below 6,000 metres.
“The answer lies in mapping our ocean floors.”
Mr Allum said the technology needed to drive the expedition is already available and called on support from government and industry to help bring the project to life.
“My work with James Cameron proved we can build a vehicle to work beyond 6,000 metres – which was once thought to be a limit in deep sea exploration,” Mr Allum said.
“The ability to create autonomously operated vehicles and robotics we need to do this exploration already exists here in Australia.
“What we need now is the vision and commitment of Australia’s government agencies, scientists and industry to back this kind of project for the interests of the nation.”
Ozri 2013 Technical Director Kellie Persson said the mapping project will have significant implications across a broad range of sectors.
“By creating a detailed picture of our marine environment, the Defence agencies charged with protecting our borders will have access to a depth of information never thought possible.
“Likewise, emergency response teams conducting rescue and recovery missions will be able to instantly ascertain what’s occurring below the ocean’s surface – which is incredibly important when dealing with incidents such as plane or boat crashes.
“Major mining and resources companies will be able to clearly understand the effects and ramification of oil spills.
“Even biologists will be able to take the information gathered to analyse the relationship between the distribution of organisms and water temperature, to address questions around the impacts of climate change.
“Many of these groups will be attending Ozri to meet with Ron – as well as hear about some of the other spectacular adventures he’s had exploring the bottom of the ocean.”
Ozri 2013 will run from 4-6 September at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Hosted by Esri Australia, the market leader in Australia’s $2.1 billion mapping technology industry, the event is expected to attract more than 700 Geographic Information System (GIS) professionals from across the Asia Pacific.
To register visit: www.esriaustralia.com.au/ozri