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Ocean Map with Bathymetry

Interactive map of the World’s Oceans and bathymetry

This ocean map is a visual representation of the seafloor, detailing its various features such as depths, underwater terrain, and geographical landmarks. Much like a topographical map illustrates the features of land elevations, an ocean map reveals the contours and compositions of the seabed. These maps are crucial for a variety of marine activities, including navigation, fishing, research, and environmental management.

Where does the bathymetry data come from?

This Ocean map was created using the ETOPO Global Relief Model

The ETOPO Global Relief Model is a sophisticated form of ocean mapping. It integrates terrestrial elevation with ocean bathymetry, providing a seamless portrayal of the Earth’s surface. The key aspects that set the ETOPO model apart are its high resolution and comprehensive coverage, which allow for precise depictions of both land and underwater features.

By using the ETOPO model, researchers and scientists can gain a better understanding of the seabed’s landscape. This knowledge is essential for exploring marine life habitats, studying geological structures, and assessing environmental changes. The model is particularly important in regions where the ocean plays a significant role in weather patterns and climate, such as El Niño and La Niña phenomena.

For those involved in maritime navigation, the ETOPO model provides essential information about the ocean floor’s topology, which is vital for avoiding underwater hazards and optimizing shipping routes. In terms of land elevations, the ETOPO model is beneficial for planning infrastructure projects, conducting geological surveys, and implementing disaster risk management.

The ETOPO Global Relief Model was created by integrating various sources of topographic and bathymetric data to produce a comprehensive view of the Earth’s surface.

  1. Topographic Data: This includes land elevation data obtained from satellite radar altimetry and land-based survey data. For example, NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) is one of the most well-known sources of topographic data, providing detailed and accurate land elevation information.
  2. Bathymetric Data: Bathymetry, which details the underwater terrain, is gathered using sonar systems aboard ships, echo sounding, and satellite altimetry that can infer seafloor topography by measuring the sea surface height. Multibeam and single-beam sonar systems are commonly used for this purpose.
  3. Shoreline Data: Accurate representations of coastlines are essential for connecting topographic and bathymetric datasets. Shoreline data is often sourced from high-resolution satellite imagery and aerial photography, as well as from cartographic surveys.
  4. Ice Surface and Subsurface Data: For polar regions, the ETOPO model incorporates data on the ice surface and, in some cases, the subsurface topography beneath ice sheets, derived from radar and other remote sensing technologies.: Advanced computer software is used to synthesize these datasets, filling in gaps and ensuring a smooth transition between different types of data. This can include interpolation techniques and algorithms designed to reconcile differences in data resolution and accuracy.
How the Oceans are mapped
Using Sound to map the Oceans
About the Author
I'm Daniel O'Donohue, the voice and creator behind The MapScaping Podcast ( A podcast for the geospatial community ). With a professional background as a geospatial specialist, I've spent years harnessing the power of spatial to unravel the complexities of our world, one layer at a time.