Seabed 2030: Building a Complete Global Bathymetry Map by 2030

Vicki Ferrini

Bathymetry data is important observational information that can be used for a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies. Despite its importance for understanding processes at and beneath the seafloor, and throughout the water column, only a small portion of the global seafloor has been mapped with direct measurement. The Nippon Foundation – GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project  aims to bring together all available bathymetric data to produce a complete map of the world ocean floor by 2030 (Mayer et al 2018) . The project aspires to empower the world to make policy decisions, sustainablyuse the ocean, and undertake scientific research that is informed by a detailed understanding of the World Ocean floor. 

Seabed 2030 is an ambitious global initiative that relies heavily on coordination, capacity building and partnerships at local, regional, and global scales. Best practices with respect to data standards, data documentation, and acquisition of new data will be important throughout the project. By working with stakeholders to assemble information about the coverage of all existing data, public or embargoed, the project seeks to identify gaps in data coverage to prioritize new data acquisition.  Opportunistic data acquisition aboard all vessels of opportunity are an important component of “mapping the gaps,” and crowd-sourcing is anticipated to be a significant source of data.  It is also envisioned that emerging technology in ocean mapping sensors and platforms, as well as data processing and integration techniques will be important accelerators for this initiative.  Please visit www.seabed2030.org for more information.