Humankind arguably has a better understanding of the surface of the Moon then the depths of our oceans, but that is all about to change thanks to the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 3030 Project.
According to reports from the BBC, scientists have now managed to map 19% of the oceans floor. While this number might seem minuscule at first, it represents a huge leap forward from the 6% that was documented in 2017 when the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project was launched.
More impressively, 15% of the data was gathered in 2019 when the project mapped 14.5 million square km of new bathymetric (depth) data, which is around twice the size of Australia.
As you can see in the image above, scientists have long way to go before in mapping the entire ocean floor. The black parts of the map represents areas where they have yet to get direct echo-sounding measurements according to the BBC. While the blue areas indicate water depth. A deep shade of purple indicate deeper waters while a light shade of blue represents shallow waters.
“Today we stand at the 19% level. That means we’ve got another 81% of the oceans still to survey, still to map. That’s an area about twice the size of Mars that we have to capture in the next decade,” project director Jamie McMichael-Phillips told BBC News.
The Seabed 3030 Project gathered this information from 133 different partners and contributors including crowd sourced ship data, robotic mapping vessel, and publicly available records.
“It’s encouraging to see what working collaboratively, across the globe, can achieve. Seabed 2030 will continue to seek out new partnerships and technological advancements. Everyone has a part to play in contributing to our ocean mapping journey: a journey that will greatly benefit humanity,” said McMichael-Phillips.