The World Federation for Coral Reef Conservation

The World Federation for Coral Reef Conservation (WFCRC) is a nonprofit organization utilizing spatial data to more effectively advance the understanding and conservation of coral reefs.

WFCRC is currently partnered with developing a publicly accessible online dashboard, or geoportal, to monitor the growth and decline of the world’s reefs.

What is Spatial Data?

Eric Pfeifle, an entrepreneur, Visual Communicator, GIS professional, free diver and dedicated ocean advocate is the multimedia manager for the World Federation for Coral Reef Conservation.  The WFCRC was founded by Vic Ferguson around the time of the Gulf Horizon Spill because “we were really disappointed with the lack of transparency in that entire situation. There were volunteers with boats and equipment wanting to help, but all of the information they needed to be effective was so buried and disparate that it may as well have been inaccessible. The only place all the data was together in one place was on the secure servers of BP and governmental agencies. We wanted to change that,” Eric says. “With our geo-portal we can combine all the spatial data in one place that is searchable by location letting local stakeholders take an active role in disaster prevention, conservation and, in the event of a disaster, restoration.” Eric explains, “spatial data is information that is geo-referenced.” This is done by attaching a specific latitude and longitude to our datasets. The data is then mapped taking it out of the static spreadsheets and putting it into a real world ‘spatial’ context. Doing this makes it visually accessible cognizable even to the layperson. Anyone can now look at the ‘image’ of the data and see where help is needed.”

How can we get involved with WFCRC

“Historically and currently, most reef health data has only been provided by the ivory tower,” Eric goes on, “recreational divers – over 5 million participants worldwide – are always taking pictures and videos of the same reefs. If we geo-tag these images they too become useable spatial data. The Finished geo-portal will have an upload tool where this visual data can be viewed in context of all of the other relevant data collected in the same region. Over a period of time, this will give us a clearer picture of any specific reef’s health and the surrounding threats. The recreational diver is now a citizen scientist.”

Currently, privately funded by its founder WFCRC has been built on a completely volunteer basis of dedicated and passionate individuals. Volunteering with the WFCRC is a fantastic and wonderful way to get involved, support the preservation of coral reefs, learn more about marine conservation and be personally connected and involved the long term efforts, worldwide.


The best part is you can live anywhere and be involved. Eric currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. “There are so many support roles that go onto an organization such as this. All you need is a passion to preserve the earth´s most biodiverse habitats.”

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