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Nippon Foundation and partners to map topography of ocean floor worldwide

  • February 21, 2018
  • , Asahi , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

The Nippon Foundation announced on Feb. 20 that it will join hands with international organizations to complete a full mapping of the ocean floor by the year 2030. It says it will make the map available on the Internet so that it can be used to predict natural disasters and develop [natural] resources. The Nippon Foundation will invest 2 billion yen in the project.


The Nippon Foundation and others aim to create a general bathymetric chart of the oceans (GEBCO). The GEBCO chart series was initiated by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and others more than 100 years ago. Bathymetric charts are critical for predicting natural disasters, such as tsunami and submarine volcano eruptions, and developing minerals and fishery resources, but highly accurate charts have been created for only 15% of all oceans.


The seabed surrounding Japan is very complicated, and Japan is considered a “highly advanced nation” in measuring seabeds and creating bathymetric charts. Harnessing this past experience, Nippon Foundation decided to create a worldwide chart with its partners.


Using the latest devices, Nippon Foundation and its partners will gather seabed data in units as small as 100 square meters. It is estimated it would cost about 300 billion yen if one ship were to take all the measurements. In this project, however, underwater robots will be used to take measurements and maritime organizations in various countries and oil companies will also be asked to provide data.

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