Millions of sailing fans across the world will be able to experience all the action of this year's QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race from dry land, thanks to a cutting-edge online mapping website.

Location intelligence experts Esri Australia have again partnered with the iconic Easter classic to create the Yacht Tracker, which will map competitors’ progress throughout the 308 nautical mile journey.

With the map receiving more than 15 million hits last year, Esri Australia Managing Director Brett Bundock said the technology had brought the historic race into a new era.

“Tracking the yachts has been a requirement since the very first race in 1949, although back then competitors were required to carry and release homing pigeons to monitor progress,” Mr Bundock said.

“Technology has advanced considerably since then and this year we’re happy to provide millions of spectators around the globe with an up-to-the-minute digital map of Queensland’s premier blue water yacht race.”

Mr Bundock said the online map enabled race coordinators to communicate vast amounts of information to a global audience.

“Once the race data is translated onto a map, the visual context provides a clearer picture of the race as it unfolds, in a universal language,” Mr Bundock said.

“Users can not only view information about each yacht and its progress, they can also access analysis on a yacht’s average speed and handicap to get a running account of the expected result.

“Originally, we used GIS technology to support race management – showing organisers where yachts were placed and exposing weather or environmental dangers.

“But as the race has become more popular, we‘ve extended the use of the technology to allow fans to experience the exhilaration of the event – with just a simple click of their mouse.”

Mr Bundock said Esri Australia drew on the nation’s largest team of GIS and location intelligence experts to produce the sophisticated mapping application behind the Yacht Tracker website.

“We're very proud to put the weight of that experience and technical knowledge behind this project, to deliver a valuable tool to millions of sailing fans everywhere,” Mr Bundock said.

The QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race begins at 11am on Good Friday at Moreton Bay.

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