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The map at the top of this page illustrates the challenge faced by GEBCO in the coming years. The black is where we still need modern measurements at a reasonable resolution

World - One-fifth of Earth's ocean floor is now mapped

We've just become a little less ignorant about Planet Earth.

The initiative that seeks to galvanise the creation of a full map of the ocean floor says one-fifth of this task has now been completed.

When the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project was launched in 2017, only 6% of the global ocean bottom had been surveyed to what might be called modern standards.

That number now stands at 19%, up from 15% in just the last year.

Some 14.5 million sq km of new bathymetric (depth) data was included in the GEBCO grid in 2019 - an area equivalent to almost twice that of Australia.

It does, however, still leave a great swathe of the planet in need of mapping to an acceptable degree.

"Today we stand at the 19% level. That means we've got another 81% of the oceans still to survey, still to map. That's an area about twice the size of Mars that we have to capture in the next decade," project director Jamie McMichael-Phillips told BBC News.

Read more.

Read more World Hydrography Day: Mapping the oceans