Coastal and Ocean Mapping

This ~4,200-meter (~13,800-foot) high seamount we are calling Kahalewai was almost 1,000 meters taller than previously thought.

Even with technological advances, only a limited portion of the vast seafloor has actually been mapped. Consequently, seafloor mapping is an important part of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research's (OER) expeditions, delivering high-resolution bathymetric maps and data for previously unexplored areas.

We are active participants in the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) Program. This NOAA partnership with other federal and state agencies is aimed at providing an integrated approach to perform comprehensive ocean and coastal mapping by coordinating mapping expeditions and making the data and resulting products publicly available to the broadest user base in common standards.

OER is involved with the IOCM Program in several ways:

  • OER physical scientists stationed at the NOAA IOCM processing center collocated with the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping Joint Hydrography Center (UNH CCOM/JHC)  work closely with CCOM/IOCM and National Coastal Data Development Center/National Oceanographic Data Center staff to ensure end-to-end processing and archival for data collected on OER missions.
  • We sponsor missions that are part of NOAA's Extended Continental Shelf Program. The program's mission is to establish the full extent of the continental shelf of the United States. Collected program data are included in the IOCM data holdings.
  • OER is an active participant in the Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R) Initiative , an effort to automate and streamline the flow of data from ships in NOAA's fleet into the National Archives with standard data documentation.
  • NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is provided as a platform for testing innovative mapping technologies including improved data processing tools for seafloor and water column backscatter that are expected to be useful for NOAA-wide mapping users.
  • OER works with a host of federal and state mapping agencies through pre-cruise planning collaboration to ensure mapping efficiency; elimination of redundant mapping; and availability and use of mapping data for multiple exploration, research, and management needs.