Seabed 2030 Project Joined by Five New Partners to Map World’s Entire Ocean Floor (1) [2021/11/08]
I was heartened that The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project has recently signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with five new partners to work together to complete the mapping of the entire ocean floor by the end of this decade.
This has brought to 166 the total number of official partners, contributors and supporters that have officially signed on to Seabed 2030 from across government, industry, philanthropy and academia in more than 50 countries.
The five new partners are the New Zealand government, ARGANS of the United Kingdom, EOMAP of Germany, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) of the United States and Kongsberg Maritime of Norway.
Under the MOU signed in July, New Zealand became the first government to sign up to the project. The agreement calls for Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand, a government department, to work together with National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd. (NIWA) and GNS Science to jointly govern data assembly and coordination in the region surrounding the South Pacific country.
“New Zealand is proud to be leading the way with this work. Mapping the seabed floor is critical to our knowledge about climate and weather patterns, tides, wave action, sediment transport, tsunami wave propagation and underwater geo-hazards,” said Ms. Gaye Searancke, chief executive of Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand.
Mr. Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director, said: “The New Zealand signing is significant for Seabed 2030 as it’s the first full MOU between a Government and the Project. As a host of one of our regional centers, New Zealand has provided steadfast support to Seabed 2030 from the outset and we look forward to building on our collaboration in the race towards achieving our mission.”
The country hosts one of the four regional centers at NIWA under the Seabed 2030 project. The centers are responsible for championing mapping activities, assembling and compiling bathymetric information and collaborating with existing mapping initiatives within their regions.
“We call upon other countries to join us in our goal of a complete map of the ocean floor―an apparatus which will help us better understand planet Earth,” said Mr. McMichael-Phillip.
Kongsberg Maritime, headquartered in Kongsberg, Norway, provides solutions for safe, efficient and sustainable maritime operations. The solutions are suitable for offshore energies, seaborne transportation, hydrography, science, navy, coastal marine, aquaculture, training services and more.
Mr. McMichael-Phillips commented: “KONGSBERG’s prominent capabilities in providing sustainable maritime operations closely align with our ethos and aim here at Seabed 2030.”
Bjørn Jalving, Kongsberg Maritime Senior Vice President Technology, said: “We envisage our systems for surveying, positioning and navigation to contribute rewardingly to this imperative global effort. We will specifically develop freely available functions for Kongsberg Maritime multibeam echo sounders, single beam echosounders and AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) that ease the process of contributing bathymetric data to the Seabed 2030 data centers.” The development will be made collaboratively with the University of New Hampshire and Stockholm University, also Seabed 2030 partners.
EOMAP, a Munich-based global service provider of satellite-derived aquatic information in maritime and inland waters, develops and generates tools and data to map and monitor shallow waters and aquatic ecosystems with satellite data analytics. Its mission is to develop and apply high quality satellite-derived methods and data to precisely map and monitor the aquatic environment and thus contribute to the effect management and understanding of this crucial environment.
“Mapping the coastal zones of our oceans can be very complex, and so we’re delighted to welcome the expertise and support of EOMAP,” said Mr. McMichael-Phillips.
Dr. Knut Hartmann, COO of EOMAP, said: “We have joined the ambitious Seabed 2030 project to contribute with bathymetric data, which are hard or impossible to access otherwise. Our contribution will be−in cooperation with our clients and stakeholders−to fill data gaps in coastal shallow waters and to encourage others to join in.”
Coastal zones are not only critical for biodiversity, coastal protection, navigation and other aspects, they are also subject to constant change. Nevertheless, many are not sufficiently understood. Using satellite data and smart analytics these aquatic environments can be mapped and monitored in space, in time and on various scales.
(To be continued)