The shape of the seabed is critical to understanding ocean circulation patterns - affecting climate and weather patterns, tides, wave action, sediment transport, tsunami wave propagation, underwater geo-hazards and resource exploration (for instance oil, gas and minerals).
More recently, our oceans have become vitally important for wave energy conversion, which uses the rising motion of waves to generate electrical energy.
Seabed mapping is vital for the security, safety and economic health of nation states. The 'Blue Economy', according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is valued at $1.5 trillion a year and creates the equivalent of 31 million full-time jobs.
More importantly, given that three billion people rely on fish as a source of protein, a deeper understanding of the sea floor can only strengthen our understanding of marine ecosystems and marine life for the benefit of our current and future food supply.
We currently have over 1.1 million kilometers (approximately 424,712 square miles) of submarine cables and Google has just announced an investment of billions of dollars in three additional cables due to come online in 2019. Routing of these cables is highly dependent on detailed knowledge of bathymetry.