5Esri ODXPGlobal smart mapping leader Esri and the XPRIZE Foundation have announced Esri’s partnership in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. The new partnership will help accelerate innovative surveys of the ocean, 95% of which remains unexplored.

Esri will donate its award-winning ArcGIS Online platform to support the $7 million XPRIZE competition. Participating teams will compete to develop fast, autonomous deep-sea technologies that can map the seafloor at high resolutions. Competing teams will submit their maps using Esri ArcGIS Online to ensure all participants are judged from a consistent technology platform.

“We are incredibly excited and grateful to have Esri as a partner on the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE,” said Dr. Jyotika Virmani, senior director of XPRIZE’s energy and environment group and prize lead of this competition. “Esri is the global leader in GIS software technologies and offers the perfect platform to empower innovative XPRIZE teams from around the world with state of the art technology that will help us finally map our own planet.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will award a $1 million bonus prize to incentivize teams to develop complementary underwater sensing technology that can detect and track a biological or chemical signal to its source.

“Ninety-five percent of the ocean floor remains either unmapped or mapped at resolutions inferior to topographic maps of Mars, Venus, and the dark side of the moon,” said Dawn Wright, chief scientist at Esri. “We depend on our oceans for survival, yet we know so little about them; their vast ecosystems and detailed bathymetry are largely mysterious to us. Esri is excited to support the inspiration and experimentation of new discoveries about Earth’s last true frontier.”

Teams can still register to compete at oceandiscovery.xprize.org if they submit by September 30, 2016. To learn more about the Esri and XPRIZE partnership, click here.

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