Seabed 2030: From Vision to Action

28 October 2019

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On 22nd October, The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project convened a conference at the Royal Society, London, to mark two years since its launch and announce three new initiatives.

An international collaborative project to produce a complete, freely available seafloor map by the end of the next decade, Seabed 2030 has already resulted in a doubling of the available bathymetric data - an increase equivalent in size to the entire African continent landmass.

The Nippon Foundation Chairman, Mr Yohei Sasakawa (pictured below), announced that Seabed 2030 will be increasing mapping capacity and capability by establishing connections with and installing data loggers on fishing, tourist and leisure vessels around the world, thereby enabling them to record bathymetric information.

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In some of the most remote and poorly mapped regions, Seabed 2030 will fund additional dedicated mapping days for expeditions already scheduled, and create a pool of experienced multibeam echosounder operators who can assist missions lacking data acquisition capability, ensuring vital data is collected at all times - including during transit. This model was recently adopted in Seabed 2030's partnership with the pioneering Five Deeps Expedition which gathered detailed bathymetric information at each of its dives to the five deepest points in the world's oceans.

Seabed 2030 will also champion the development of innovative, scalable new solutions to increase the efficiency, safety and cost-effectiveness of deep-sea mapping, paving the way for the widest possible public participation in the project.

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From Vision to Action brought together some of the world's leading ocean scientists and maritime organisations, including representatives from the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. Also in attendance were the Japanese Ambassador to the UK, delegates from industry partners and the team behind SEA-KIT, the unmanned surface vessel (USV) at the heart of the GEBCO-Nippon Foundation Alumni Team's winning entry in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.

Rear Admiral Shepard Smith, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), gave a keynote stressing the importance of unprecedented international cooperation and collaboration between research institutes, private organisations and industry partners if Seabed 2030's objectives are to be realised.

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The day also saw the announcement of Jamie McMichael-Phillips (right), former UK Deputy National Hydrographer, as the new Director of Seabed 2030.

To discover how to contribute to Seabed 2030 or view presentations from this event, visit seabed2030.gebco.net.

(All images courtesy of John Cobb| The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project)

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