New data development to improve seabed mapping

Furgo bathymetry data. Credit: Furgo

Geotechnical service provider Fugro has provided more than 110,000 km2 of high-resolution bathymetry data to improve quality and coverage of seabed mapping in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The bathymetry data, which roughly covers an area the size of Iceland, will be delivered via two programmes, known as the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) and the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project (Seabed 2030).

AORA was formed under the 2013 Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Co-operation between the European Union, the US, and Canada. With a goal of improving knowledge about the Atlantic Ocean to support a prosperous and sustainable blue economy, AORA has identified seabed mapping as a priority area of collaboration.

Seabed 2030 is a global initiative between Japan’s Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) to produce a definitive, high-resolution bathymetric map of the entire world’s ocean floor by 2030.

David Millar, government accounts director in the Americas at Fugro, commented, “as it is common across the world’s oceans, much of the Atlantic lacks the modern bathymetry data needed to properly understand the seafloor, its resources, and its processes”.

Fugro developed its crowd-sourced bathymetry method in 2017 and included in-transit data collection from multibeam-equipped survey vessels. The most recent datasets were obtained by Fugro Discovery while transiting between Scotland and the US, and from Fugro Searcher while travelling between Brazil and Canada.