ocean mapping

A map of underwater ocean sounds created by commercial ships in the North Atlantic. The darker orange areas are higher levels of noise.

Mapping the Sounds of the Ocean

GIS Contributor

Using arrays of underwater microphones, called hydrophones, scientists can use sound to create images of the environment by converting sound waves to electrical signals. 

Visualization of ocean currents off the east coast of the United States.

Mapping Ocean Currents

Mark Altaweel

Mapping ocean currents and understanding how they vary is critical for geographers and scientists, especially as our globe changes.

The current US Exclusive Economic Zone is delineated by yellow outlines. As of January 2021, 53 percent of the United States' ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waterways were unmapped. Map: NOAA Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping.

53% of U.S. Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Waters are Unmapped

Caitlin Dempsey

According to a new report by the United States' federal Interagency Working Group on Ocean Coastal Mapping, 53 percent of the country's ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes water is still unmapped.

Southern stingray (Dasyatis americana), U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix. Photo: NOAA CCMA Biogeography Team, public domain.

Using Stingrays to Map the Ocean Floor

Caitlin Dempsey

One research lab in Japan is looking at using marine life to collect 3D geospatial data about the ocean floor.

Maps showing the different in detail and resolution of International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) between Ver. 3.0 (500 × 500 m resolution) and Ver. 4.0 (200m x 200m resolution) in two areas of the Lomonosov Ridge. Source: Jakobsson, M., Mayer, L.A., Bringensparr, C. et al. The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean Version 4.0. Sci Data 7, 176 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-0520-9

How Geospatial Technologies are Helping to Complete the Effort to Map the World’s Ocean Floor

Mark Altaweel

Only 20% of the ocean's floor has been mapping in detail.

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