Mapping the Ocean

  • Life has existed for some 3.7 billion years in the ocean, which covers over 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface and is on average four kilometres deep. 
  • Today, large parts of our ocean are still little explored or regulated. Ongoing UN-led BBNJ negotiations are aiming to rectify this through establishing global rules. 
  • Ocean data provides crucial information on marine ecosystems in a changing climate, influencing how we interact with the ocean. This data is key to respond to threats such as climate change, overfishing and pollution. 
  • However, significant barriers exist to maximize data-sharing, with vast amounts of ocean data currently under the control of governments, industry and researchers. 

Key Facts: 

What are the Key Actions to Deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals? 

  • Collect ocean data: Accelerate industry and cross-sectoral collaborations focusing on solutions to collect standardized data will be essential. 
  • Share and manage ocean data: Promote smart data-sharing and further enhance data value through data analytics and services to increase knowledge and support decision-making. 
  • Blue finance: Blue Bonds will help to fund new data models, innovative platforms, and support data capacity building for SIDs and developing nations. 

What is the Action Platform doing this year? 

  • Conducting a gap analysis assessment to align industry needs with on-going initiatives on ocean data collection and objectives of the Decade for Ocean Science. 


Advancing Science for Sustainable Ocean Business (2020) IOC-UNESCO and UN Global Compact. 

Blue Resilience Brief (2020) UN Global Compact. Ch.1. Advancing Technology and Data-sharing

Brett, A. et al. (2020). Ocean data needs a sea change to help navigate the warming world. Nature. 

International Seabed Authority (2020) MSR Action Plan in support of the UN Decade

Leape, J., M. Abbott, H. Sakaguchi et al (2020) Technology, Data and New Models for Sustainably Managing Ocean Resources. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. 

Ocean Stewardship 2030 (2020) UN Global Compact. 

Ocean Decade Implementation Plan (2020) Summary Report. IOC UNESCO.

Ocean Data Platform. Available here:

Examples of Data-sharing initiatives and projects

iAtlantic project -

Seabed2030. Available here:

SERPENT project ‘Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership using Existing industrial Technology’. Available here: 

SIMORC project ‘System of Industry MetoOcean Data for The Offshore and Research Communities’. Available here: 

DeepData -

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