Canadian marine geoscientist Brian Bornhold once said ‘the shoreline is merely an accident of history’.
Our oceans are home to vast and largely untapped resources, carry over 90% of global trade, and sustain life on earth through regulation of climate. As global population and commerce continue to grow, the demand to know our oceans is stronger than ever. It is commonly held that only approximately 5% of the world’s seafloor has been mapped in any detail, and most are close to shore coastal areas, areas that are well surveyed by hydrographers to ensure that mariners have the information they need to navigate safely.
However, real challenges remain when mapping very shallow water (10m water depth or less) and the deep ocean (1000m water depth and greater). In addition, our ability to map phenomena in the water column is limited, as is our ability to map the shallow sub-bottom (10m or less below the seabed).
As the world’s economy and climate continue to depend to a large extent on the ocean and ocean resources, having accurate and up-to-date ocean data becomes ever more critical. Lack of data leads to a lack of understanding. Lack of understanding can lead to political and business decisions that may negatively affect the long term sustainability of valuable ocean resources and the ocean environment.
These challenges and more will be the focus for Ocean Innovation 2015. Ocean mapping experts from Canada, the US and the EU, as well as other parts of the world will convene in St. John’s, Newfoundland to discuss latest developments and new horizons in ocean mapping.
Sherry Del Rizzo
Marine Institute of Memorial University
Tel: (709) 778-0756 Cell: (709) 790-0767