GEBCO logoThe General Bathymetric Chart of the Ocean (GEBCO) aims to provide the most authoritative publicly-available bathymetry of the world's oceans. It operates under the joint auspices of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the IOC.

Bathymetric charts have been in existence since the 16th century, but only during the early 1900s were charts starting to become standardised. Since then, 5 editions of the GEBCO chart series have been published and in 1994 the first GEBCO digital atlas (GDA) was created via CD-ROM. The GDA is now available to download online.

In 2017 a new initiative, Seabed 2030 was launched by GEBCO and the Nippon Foundation with the ambitious aim “of producing the definitive, high-resolution bathymetric map of the entire World Ocean”.

UK Contributions

The UK is heavily involved in bathymetric mapping and the GEBCO organisation through indviduals and organisations such as the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC), the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the British Geological Society (BGS):

SEABED 2030 logo

  • Dr Helen Snaith (BODC at NOC) is Head of the Seabed 2030 Global Centre
  • Jamie McMichael-Phillips (UKHO representative in Singapore) is the Director of Seabed 2030
  • Pauline Weatherall (BODC at NOC) is the GEBCO Digital Atlas Manager
  • Data has been provided by BAS (UK Contact: Robert Larter), BODC and NOC (UK Contact: Pauline Weatherall) and the UKHO (UK Contact: Samuel Harper)
  • Seabed 2030 funded Crowdsourced Bathymetry pilot programme is being developed in collaboration with the UKHO (UK Contact: Andrew Talbot)
  • Data has been submitted to EMODnet Digital Bathymetry via the NOC, BODC and BGS


GEBCO has a number of groups, an overview of these and UK participation is found in the table below.

GEBCO Groups and UK Point of Contact
GroupRemitPoint of ContactOrganisation

Joint IOC-IHO Guiding Committee for GEBCO


To oversee the work of the GEBCO sub-committees and working groups.


Samuel Harper (IHO appointed member)UKHO
Technical Sub-Committee on Ocean Mapping

Designated authority for all technical matters relevant to the goals of GEBCO


Pauline WeatherallBODC at NOC
Sub-Committee on Regional Undersea Mapping

To build a closer collaboration with regional mapping efforts and coordinate, as well as encourage, the incorporation of their compilations into GEBCO


Pauline WeatherallBODC at NOC
Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names

To maintain and make available the IHO-IOC GEBCO Gazetteer of Undersea Feature Names


Sub-Committee on Communications, Outreach and Public Engagement (SCOPE)To coordinate the communications, outreach and external relations strategy and activities conducted to support and raise awareness of the GEBCO Project and to complement the focused outreach activities of the Seabed 2030 initiativePauline WeatherallBODC at NOC
Cook Book Working GroupCurrently developing a technical reference book on how to create bathymetric gridsNoneN/A
GEBCO ScholarsGEBCO has been funded by the Nippon Foundation to train a new generation of scientists and hydrographers in ocean bathymetry. The twelve month course, leading to a Postgraduate Certificate in Ocean Bathymetry (PCOB), is held at the University of New Hampshire, USAEloisa Jayne BarnettNippon Foundation/GEBCO Training Programme

Deep water - South Atlantic Rio Grande Rise. Credit: Tim Le Bas (NOC) Shallow water - Limestone collapsed cavern (a 'doline'). Credit: Tim Le Bas (NOC)