London, 7 November 2023The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project has entered into a new partnership with FarSounder, a leading manufacturer in forward looking sonar (FLS) technologies. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, the parties will work together to advance the collective understanding of the ocean floor in pursuit of the complete map of the entire seabed.

Founded in 2001, FarSounder has become a globally recognised expert in 3D FLS technology. Based in the US, the company’s dynamic technology is built on a combination of advanced acoustics and signal-processing techniques, making their products unique in their ability to generate a true, 3-dimensional image ahead of a vessel at navigationally significant ranges at each ping of the sonar. 

The company has recently been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), providing funding for the research and development of a new project which will develop a cloud-based service to share survey data collected by FarSounder customers. 

The project – Enabling Expanded Crowdsourced Bathymetry Contributions With High-Quality Metadata via Commercially Sustainable Incentives to Contributors – will allow for data sharing with others across the FarSounder customer fleet and with Seabed 2030 via the International Hydrographic Organization’s (IHO) Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry (DCDB), which archives over 30 terabytes of oceanic depth soundings and serves as the long-term archive for Seabed 2030.

Seabed 2030 is a collaborative project between The Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), which seeks to inspire the complete mapping of the world’s ocean by 2030, and to compile all the data into the freely available GEBCO Ocean Map. The Project is formally endorsed as a Decade Action of the UN Ocean Decade. GEBCO is a joint programme of the IHO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and is the only organisation with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor.

“Our commitment to contributing high-resolution data to the IHO’s DCDB aligns seamlessly with Seabed 2030’s mission of achieving a complete map of the entire ocean floor,” commented FarSounder CEO Matthew Zimmerman. “By streamlining the transfer of data from customers to the DCDB we hope to encourage broader participation, inviting more individuals to actively contribute to bridging the gaps in our understanding of the ocean.”

“It’s a pleasure to welcome FarSounder on board as an official partner,” said Seabed 2030 Project Director Jamie McMichael-Phillips. “FarSounder plays a central role in championing crowdsourced bathymetry – which is essential to Seabed 2030. 

“We look forward to working together, and look forward to following the company’s journey as it embarks upon its exciting new project.”

All data collected and shared with the Seabed 2030 project is included in the free and publicly available GEBCO global grid.


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