Hydrographic training entered a new era when students arrived at the University of New Hampshire in August of 2004 to form the first class of the Nippon Foundation GEBCO (General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans) training program. Born out of the need to replenish GEBCO’s aging human material, and of the desire to spread deep ocean mapping capabilities more widely throughout the world, the program attracted applications from 57 students in over thirty countries. The seven selected each had post graduate training and several years experience, but differed in that three were hydrographers, two geologists and two oceanographers. Classes planned for the next two years will bring in a further fourteen students. The UNH program had been selected as the closest match to the general course requirements GEBCO considered that ocean bathymetrists should have. Subjects include all types of depth measurements, oceanography, acoustics, tides, plate tectonics, sea floor morphology, ocean basins, sedimentary processes, hydrothermal-thermal processes, gravity-magnetic relationships to seafloor fabrics, positioning and geodesy, maps and charts, IHO standards, GIS, data bases, gridding, contouring, spatial statistics, and the history of GEBCO and ocean mapping. These are taught at the graduate level as part of the graduate degree program at UNH. In this paper, the experiences that participants from the different backgrounds underwent are recounted with the overall goal of improving the general education required to map the floors of the deep ocean. Recommendations are made regarding the prior preparation of students entering the program, the content and intensity of courses comprising the program, and follow-up actions to solidify the learning experience. Intangibles such as the networking of professional contacts are also evaluated. Extrapolations to training in other areas of hydrography are made.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

U.S. Hydrographic Conference

Conference Date

Mar 29 - Mar 31, 2005

Publisher Place

San Diego, CA, USA


Hydrographic Society of America

Document Type

Conference Proceeding