The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project has entered a technical cooperation agreement with the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), a world-leading centre for hydrography specialising in marine geospatial data, and Teledyne CARIS, the leading developer of marine mapping software.
The Memorandum of Understanding – announced on the first World Hydrography Day to fall within the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development – will see the parties work together to advance the effort associated with producing the definitive map of the seafloor by the year 2030.
The announcement also coincides with the release of the latest GEBCO Grid figure – with 20.6% of the world’s entire seabed now mapped. When Seabed 2030 was launched in 2017, only 6% of the oceans had been mapped to modern standards. The latest figure has seen a growth of 1.6% from last year’s data – an increase equating to around half the size of USA.
Seabed 2030 is a collaborative project between The Nippon Foundation and GEBCO to inspire the complete mapping of the world’s ocean by 2030, and to compile all bathymetric data into the freely available GEBCO Ocean Map. GEBCO is a joint project 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.
Commenting on the MOU, Seabed 2030 Project Director Jamie McMichael-Phillips said: “Seabed 2030 is delighted to announce this new partnership with UKHO and Teledyne CARIS on the occasion of World Hydrography Day. As we enter the newly-launched UN Decade, but also final decade of Seabed 2030, we remain humbly aware of what we have yet to achieve – just under 80% of the world’s seabed still to be mapped.”
As part of the new agreement, the three organisations will use a new AI tool developed by Teledyne CARIS and the UKHO as part of their ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions portfolio. The AI-Based Bathymetry Data Noise Cleaning Capability is thought to benefit Seabed 2030 by providing processing efficiency of incoming multibeam bathymetry dataset typical of the type to be received by the Project.
Michel Stanier, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Teledyne CARIS commented: “We are very pleased to be supporting this project with AI technology. Seabed 2030 represents an opportunity for a unique collaboration whereby new AI methods are being developed and delivered to help solve the data processing bottlenecks created by the huge quantities of data needed to map the world’s oceans over the next decade.”
Peter Sparkes, Chief Executive at the UK Hydrographic Office commented: “Seabed mapping data plays a vital role in supporting maritime trade, the protection of our oceans and the fight against climate change – by keeping mariners safe and supporting sustainable development. Through use of this new capability, we hope to significantly reduce the time it takes to process this foundational data from days to hours – allowing us to build our understanding of the world’s oceans at a greater pace.
“We believe that collaborations like these can help to build a better future for all, so the UKHO will continue to build on this partnership and work with others across the maritime community to support safe, secure and thriving oceans.”