Imagery from the GEBCO world map

GEBCO's aim is to provide the most authoritative publicly-available bathymetry of the world's oceans. It operates under the joint auspices of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) (of UNESCO).

Organisational structure

We are a non-profit making organisation which relies largely on the voluntary contributions of an enthusiastic international team of geoscientists and hydrographers. GEBCO's work is directed by a Guiding Committee and supported by sub-committees on ocean mapping and undersea feature names plus ad hoc working groups.

These committees meet on a regular basis. Find out more about the people involved in GEBCO and upcoming and previous meetings.

GEBCO has its origins at the beginning of the 20th century. Find out more about GEBCO's history from the initiation of the chart series in 1903 to the present day.

Forum for Future Ocean Floor Mapping

The Forum for Future Ocean Floor Mapping was held in June 2016 and was attended by over 150 senior representatives, scientists, scholars and business associates from major ocean related organisations from around the world. It has endorsed the objective of Seabed2030 – that the comprehensive mapping of the entire ocean floor is possible by the year 2030. More than 85 per cent of the world ocean floor remains unmapped with modern mapping methods.

Tasked with the responsibility of developing a Roadmap for the Future of Ocean Floor Mapping, the meeting, called for the sharing of bathymetric information to create, for GEBCO, a global baseline bathymetric database.

It also called for greater access to the tools and technology, particularly for developing and coastal nations, to make a comprehensive database possible, for the sharing of data to achieve this ultimate objective.

Find out more about GEBCO's work, organisation and the people involved.

Outputs from our work

We produce a range of bathymetric data sets and products. This includes global gridded bathymetric data sets a global set of digital bathymetric contours; the GEBCO Gazetteer of Undersea Feature Names; the GEBCO Digital Atlas; the GEBCO world map and the IHO-IOC GEBCO Cook Book— a reference manual on how to build bathymetric grids.

Regional mapping

In order to build the next generation of improved GEBCO global bathymetric compilations, regional expertise is needed and this can only be achieved by fully taking advantage of regional seafloor mapping and data collection activities. Through the Sub-Committee on Regional Undersea Mapping (SCRUM), GEBCO is aiming to build on and extend its collaboration with regional mapping groups in order to improve its global bathymetric model.

Find out more about regional mapping projects and GEBCO's collaborations.

Contributing data

GEBCO is continually working to improve its gridded data sets with the aim of providing the most authoritative publicly-available bathymetric grids for the world’s oceans.

We are grateful for contributions of single-beam and/or multibeam survey data, individual soundings or existing grids to help update our gridded data sets and products. We acknowledge the source of contributed data in the documentation which accompanies GEBCO's data sets.

Find out how to contribute data to help update GEBCO's grids.

Crowd-sourced bathymetry

As an outcome of the Extraordinary International Hydrographic Conference 5, the IHO Inter-Regional Coordinating Committee has established a Crowd-Sourced Bathymetry Working Group (CSBWG).

The working group will examine how best to incorporate, manage and use bathymetric data collected by other than conventional means and develop principles and guidelines to enable the appropriate collection and use of crowd-sourced bathymetry for the benefit of all stakeholders interested in knowing the shape and nature of the seafloor and its depths. 

Training a new generation of scientists

The Nippon Foundation of Japan has provided funding for GEBCO to train a new generation of scientists and hydrographers in ocean bathymetry. The 12-month course, leading to a Postgraduate Certificate in Ocean Bathymetry (PCOB), has been held at the University of New Hampshire, USA since 2004.

Hear about the perspectives of the impact of the programme from GEBCO colleagues and scholars.

Find out more

To find out more about our work and to get involved in GEBCO please contact us.

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