General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO): A New 1:35,000,000 Scale Printed Map


The modern ocean mapping community makes extensive use of digital representations of the world's ocean bathymetry. To meet this requirement, GEBCO introduced the GEBCO Digital Atlas (GDA) in 1997; the traditional GEBCO paper chart series has not been updated nor printed since that time. Although the scientific world has accepted and prefers digital representations, printed maps complement digital products in several ways. A printed bathymetric map has the potential to reach out to an audience that would not necessarily make use of a digital portrayal of the World's ocean floor. A cartographically state-of-the-art printed map may also be used to promote the importance of studying ocean bathymetry as well as the oceans in general. Here we present a first draft of a World map portraying the ocean floor bathymetry, which is scheduled to be printed during the spring of 2006 in the scale of 1:35,000,000. The bathymetric portrayal of the printed map is in the form of shaded relief with overlaid depth contours derived from the GEBCO 1x1 minute bathymetric grid released on the latest update of the GDA in 2003 and distributed on a CD-ROM. Land topography as portrayed on the printed map is primarily based on USGS GTOPO30, except for some areas of the Northern Hemisphere where more recently compiled data sets have been used. The land topography has been draped with the satellite mosaic "Blue Marble" released by NASA. This GEBCO digital cartography project makes use of the latest development within professional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which enables the construction of high quality cartographic maps based on digital information. The project was facilitated by a two week visit to Stockholm University by two students who had completed a training program at University of New Hampshire, sponsored by the Nippon Foundation of Japan.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union


86, Issue 52

Conference Date

Dec 5 - Dec 9, 2005

Publisher Place

San Francisco, CA, USA


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding