Map Once, Use Many Times

Seabed 2030 Initiative and the U.S. Analysis

Knowledge of the depth, shape, and composition of the seafloor are foundational data elements necessary to explore, sustainably develop, understand, conserve, and manage our coastal and offshore natural resources. The 2020 National Strategy for Ocean Mapping, Exploring, and Characterizing the United States Exclusive Economic Zone and the Seabed 2030 initiative both make comprehensive ocean mapping a priority for the coming decade. These are drivers of innovation to increase survey efficiency, foster cooperation, and encourage the open sharing of data.

Seabed 2030 is an international, collaborative project between the IHO/IOC General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) and the Nippon Foundation that aims to facilitate the complete mapping of the world's ocean floor by 2030.

GEBCO_2020 estimates only 19% of the global seafloor has been mapped. The figure below illustrates the sparse seafloor measurements associated with global bathymetry maps. The vast regions of unmapped areas (shown in dark grey) are filled with low resolution estimates of seafloor depth based on satellite data to produce global bathymetry images. This project seeks to replace those estimates with real data.

Multibeam Sonar Data

In June 2022, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, formalized U.S. participation in the Nippon Foundation-General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) Seabed 2030 Project through a signed agreement. Recognizing shared interests in modern bathymetry to meet a broad range of applications, the agreement facilitates the exchange of information and promotes joint efforts to fully map the world's seafloor by 2030. Further emphasizing the importance of a common space where nations can archive and retrieve valuable seafloor information, in May 2023, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, signed a memorandum of understanding reaffirming NOAA's relationship with the International Hydrographic Organization as the host of the organization's Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry at NESDIS NCEI.

NOAA has taken a closer look at how a Seabed 2030 mapping goal can be met within U.S. waters. This site outlines NOAA's approach to identifying the bathymetric data coverage within U.S. waters and calculating the status of seafloor mapping.

Through an Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) lens, NOAA offers innovative ways for the U.S. to reach this goal and to follow our progress via published documentation.