General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) – Mapping the Global Seafloor

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Pauline Weatherall, British Oceanographic Data Center, Liverpool, L3, United Kingdom, Martin Jakobsson, Stockholm University, Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden and Karen M Marks, NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, College Park, MD, United States
For over one hundred years GEBCO (www.gebco.net) has been at the forefront of producing maps and digital data sets showing the shape of the global seafloor in the deep oceans with the first GEBCO chart series initiated in 1903 by Prince Albert I of Monaco.

Today the GEBCO community consists of an international group of experts in seafloor mapping who develop a range of data sets and data products with the aim of providing the most authoritative publicly-available bathymetric data sets for the world's oceans. We are also training a new generation of seafloor mappers through the Nippon Foundation/GEBCO Training Programme. GEBCO operates under the joint auspices of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

Our range of products includes:

  • A global Digital Terrain Model (DTM) – modelling the shape of the seafloor in the form of a periodically-updated 30 arc-second interval grid 
  • A gazetteer of undersea feature names
  • GEBCO Cook Book – information on topics related to building bathymetric grids
  • Web services
  • GEBCO world map
  • GEBCO Digital Atlas – a collection of GEBCO’s data sets and viewing software

Recognising the importance of local expertise when building a bathymetric grid, GEBCO’s latest 30 arc-second interval DTM, GEBCO_2014, (due for release in Fall 2014) has benefited from contributions from many regional mapping projects such as the International Bathymetric Charts of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) and Southern Ocean (IBCSO); the Baltic Sea Bathymetry Database and EMODnet for European waters. Through the Sub-Committee on Regional Undersea Mapping, GEBCO is aiming to build on and extend its collaboration with regional mapping groups to continually improve its global bathymetric model.