UK Hydrographic Office comes aboard global ocean floor mapping project

The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project and the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work on advancing the industry’s understanding of the ocean bathymetry.

Seabed 2030, a flagship program of the Ocean Decade, is a collaborative project between The Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) aiming to complete mapping of the world’s oceans by 2030 and collect all bathymetric data into the freely available GEBCO Ocean Map.

GEBCO is a joint program of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and is the only organisation with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor.

Now, under the MoU, the UKHO will provide bathymetric gridded map products to be used by the project within the GEBCO gridded bathymetric data set.

UKHO will also share and promote methods and best practices in technological innovation, infrastructure, and solutions for ocean mapping and bathymetric data management.

The MoU follows the technical cooperation agreement that the UKHO, Seabed 2030 and Teledyne CARIS entered into in June 2021 to advance efforts in producing the definitive map of the seafloor by the year 2030.

Speaking about the partnership, Peter Sparkes, chief executive at the UK Hydrographic Office, said: “Today marks an important date in our partnership with Seabed 2030 as we initiate the release of identified data contributions to the project. (…)

“Knowing the depth of the seabed is of vital importance for navigation and coastal management. It is a fundamental parameter for understanding ocean circulation, tides, wave action, sediment transport, environmental change, underwater geo-hazards, cable and pipeline routing, and much more. High quality marine geospatial data will play an instrumental role in Seabed 2030, and we are delighted to actively support and contribute to the project’s mission.”

Seabed 2030 Project director Jamie McMichael-Phillips added: “We are delighted to further develop our partnership with the UKHO in support of producing the complete map of the ocean floor.

“With eight years left until the end of the decade and 80% of the sea floor still to be mapped, UKHO’s data contribution and expertise on ocean mapping solutions will no doubt play a significant role in supporting Seabed 2030 realise its essential goal, for the benefit of humanity.”

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