It has recently celebrated the 120th Anniversary but it does not show its age, being more active than ever. Since its establishment in 1903, the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans - GEBCO has been focusing on a key role: mapping global oceans comprehensively including the seafloor surface. Considering that oceans covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, their in-depth knowledge is fundamental to better understand the dynamics of our Planet and preserve various ecosystems balance. Monaco is about to celebrate the GEBCO 2023 Week that will see the participation of international explorers, mapping experts, policy makers and other stakeholders to debate about new technologies, novel trends and other pivotal issues in the field.
On the 7th and the 8th November 2023, in particular, the "Map the Gaps" Symposium will be the privileged stage for highlights from the participants in the iconic framework of the Oceanographic Museum. Everyone can follow it by registering through a digital platform. The event is promoted by the homonymous non-profit organisation based in the United States, with the aim to federate people around the topic, in partnership with the International Hydrographic Organization - IHO and the Oceanographic Institute, Albert I Foundation, Prince of Monaco.
Exploring the ocean depths with scientific purpose is essential because most of them are still largely unexplored, having discovered only a quarter of all seabeds, so far. Keep going to map the oceans through targeted actions is then the best way to fill this gap. The Symposium will also offer an opportunity to celebrate the first mapping project by the will of H.S.H. Prince Albert I of Monaco while launching new challenges.
Among the speakers, the Explorer Victor Vescovo will share his diving adventures at the deepest point of the Mediterranean Sea together with H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco within the «Five Deeps» Expedition as well as his unique experience towards the wreck of the Titanic. The visionary Aquanaut, Oceanographic Explorer and Environmental Advocate, Fabien Cousteau (grandson of the paramount explorer Jacques Cousteau) will present Proteus, an ambitious underwater 'space station' allowing scientists, experts and other parties to deepen their knowledge about ocean health, sustainability, and climate change effects on marine creatures. Dr. Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist at the Environmental Systems Research Institute ESRI, will provide her perspective on high tech devices at the service of modern explorers.
The final day of the Symposium, will be focused on scientific data collecting through a participatory bathymetry initiative under the umbrella of the International Hydrographic Organization. On the spotlight, new technologies to improve our knowledge of the ocean, notably autonomous vehicles and advanced data collection instruments. Participants will discuss about the crucial role played by Ships of Opportunity that is involving the entire marine transport (including yachting) in the collecting of oceanographical and meteorological data during the routine trips (= data sharing). New targets are in sight on the horizon to overlap current boundaries in the ocean mapping. Let's stay tuned to learn more. ***
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By Maurice Abbati
Springer International Publishing