The IBCEA is a regional ocean mapping project sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine (SHOM) of France and the Instituto Hidrográfico (IH) of Portugal are co-editors of the project, with participation of the Southampton Oceanographic Centre (SOC) of the United Kingdom.
The Editorial Board in charge of the general direction is chaired by IGA(CR) André ROUBERTOU, retired from SHOM. The project's current members are representatives from France, Portugal, the UK, Senegal, Nigeria, the Republic of Guinée, Togo, Russia and the United States. The editorial board works mainly by correspondence, and partial meetings as required. Only two full sessions have been held to date (Lagos, Nigeria, February 1990, and Paris, France, September 1996).
The IBCEA project is coordinated with five other international regional ocean mapping projects sponsored by the IOC: Western Indian Ocean (IBCWIO); Western Pacific (IBCWP); Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico (IBCCA); Mediterranean (IBCM) and Arctic Ocean (IBCAO). The project is also coordinated with the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), which is co-sponsored by IOC and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). Representatives of the IOC, IHO and GEBCO attend and participate in the IBCEA Editorial Board meetings. Bathymetric data and technical expertise are shared amongst all these projects.
Bathymetric mapping is the ocean floor equivalent of topographic mapping on land. It provides base maps (or base layers for geographic information systems) for a wide variety of purposes, including scientific research and modeling, exploration for natural resources, environmental policy making, education and image making. The final product currently envisaged by IBCEA is a set of printed maps, at a scale of 1:1,000,000. Although no CD-ROM or on-line datasets are planned for release in the present state of the project, the digital data resulting from the project is provided to GEBCO, for incorporation into further releases of the GEBCO Digital Atlas (GDA).
Bathymetric contours from sheets: 1.01, 1.06, 1.08, 1.09, 1.10, 1.11 and 1.12 are included as part of the Centenary Edition of the GEBCO Digital Atlas (GDA) contour data set.