On the occasion of World Hydrography Day, the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project, which aims to facilitate the complete mapping of the global ocean floor by 2030, has announced the inclusion of 14.5 million square kilometres of new bathymetric data in the latest GEBCO Grid. The new data are now equating to an area twice the size of Australia.

Scientists say the topography of the ocean floor is less known than the surfaces of Mars, Mercury or Venus.

However, the coverage of the seabed has risen from 15 to 19% in the last year. When Seabed 2030 launched in 2017, only 6% of the oceans were on map to modern standards.

The sustained increase in data available to map the ocean floor will enable Seabed 2030 to play a leading role in delivering a comprehensive set of authoritative data that is freely available for all to use. This is a leap forward towards achieving our mission, by the year 2030, to empower the world to make policy decisions, use the ocean sustainability and undertake scientific research based on detailed bathymetric information of the Earth’s seabed,

...said Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director.

See also: Deep ocean more affected by warming than the surface, says new study

The effort to complete the map of the world’s oceans has gathered significant momentum since its launch, with Seabed 2030 rallying over 100 international organisations in support.

The Project now has 133 official partners and supporters – and continues to pursue new collaborations in data collection and technical innovation.

Additionally, the Nippon Foundation recently announced three initiatives that need further collaborative activity in accelerating the mapping of the ocean floor. These include supporting the mapping of unexplored areas, collecting data through crowdsourcing, and advancing technology for data collection.