UKHO provides bathymetric surveys for the Seabed 2030 project

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has started providing bathymetric survey data for waters outside the UK to the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project ( Seabed 2030) earlier this year.

The MoU was signed with the aim of increasing industry understanding of ocean bathymetry and supporting the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development. The UKHO has agreed to provide bathymetric data grid map products and to provide advice on data management methods and best practices to support the ambitious goal of complete mapping of the world’s oceans by 2030 (Seabed 2030).

UKHO has started to deliver data covering the South Atlantic and the waters around Antarctica to GEBCO via the Seabed 2030 Southern Ocean Regional Center – based at the Alfred Wegener Institute. This data is a major contribution to the International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO), GEBCO and Seabed 2030. The data provided has contributed 3,753,614 new data points to IBCSO and GEBCO, covering a combined 13,500 nm², including South Georgia (1,500 nm²) . with 55,539 data points) and Antarctica (12,000 nm² with 2,931,105 data points).

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This is the first time outside the UK that the UKHO has supplied data directly to GEBCO for inclusion in their products. It follows the success of a trial in 2021 where the UKHO worked closely with the Alfred Wegener Institute on a first trial dataset for South Georgia to ensure it met coverage requirements and contained all the necessary data and metadata. The experimental data set – containing a conflict-free bathymetric surface with a resolution of 100 m and an area of ​​1,500 nm² – was delivered to the Alfred Wegener Institute in November 2021 and successfully integrated into the IBCSO data pipeline.

This announcement supports UKHO’s presence at GEBCO’s Map the Gaps Symposium. The event, hosted by the NOC (the UK’s National Oceanography Centre) in partnership with the UKHO, will take place at the end of October 2022. Rhett Hatcher, UK National Hydrographer and Director of Data Acquisition & Defence, UKHO, will deliver an opening speech.

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Rear Admiral Rhett Hatcher, UK National Hydrographer and Director of Data Collection at the UKHO, commented on this milestone:

It is fantastic to announce that we have started supplying bathymetric data collection to GEBCO for inclusion in their products. This is also an important milestone in our partnership with Seabed 2030, which is part of the UKHO’s broader commitment to fully mapping the world’s oceans to support safe, secure and thriving oceans.

Next, we plan to submit data to the Caribbean region and look forward to further opportunities to continue engaging with the broader geospatial community and support the UN Decade of Marine Sciences for Sustainable Development.

Boris Dorschel, Head of the Southern Ocean Regional Center, Alfred Wegener Institute, added:

High-quality marine geospatial data plays a critical role in Seabed 2030 and is essential to accomplish our mission of mapping the world’s oceans. We are very grateful to the UKHO for their data input and expertise on ocean mapping solutions to achieve this goal and for continuing Seabed 2030’s efforts to produce a complete map of the seabed by 2030.

Seabed 2030 – a flagship program of the UN Decade of Marine Sciences for Sustainable Development – is a joint project of the Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) to fully map the world’s oceans by 2030 and compile all bathymetric data into the free 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 organization charged with mapping the entire seafloor.

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