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International Bathymetric Chart of the Western Indian Ocean

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Introduction

The International Bathymetric Chart of the Western Indian Ocean (IBCWIO) is a regional ocean mapping project sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the German government. The first mission undertaken by this project is to create new bathymetric mapping for the areas shown on the previous web page. At some time in the future, it may be decided that the project will undertake mapping of other measurements such as sediment thickness, potential fields (gravimetry, magnetometry), and geological structure.

The German Hydrographic Office is taking the responsibility for providing project coordination, editing, conversion to digital media, printing, and distribution of the new bathymetry. Dr. Werner Bettac, former Director of the Hydrographic Department at the German Hydrographic Office, is the Chief Editor of the IBCWIO Project. Currently, participating countries include France, Germany, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Russia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and United States. Meetings of the Editorial Board are held every second year and are typically convened in one of the countries of the Western Indian Ocean region.

Bathymetric mapping is the ocean-floor equivalent of topographic mapping on land. Like topography, bathymetry provides base maps (or base layers for geographic information systems), for a wide variety of purposes including scientific studies, exploration for natural resources, and environmental decisionmaking. The final products are expected to be GIS-compatible raster and vector datasets, and image files, on CD-ROM (or available for on-line access); and printed maps.

The IBCWIO project is coordinated with four other international regional ocean mapping projects sponsored by the IOC: namely, the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea (IBCCA); Western Pacific (IBCWP); Central Eastern Atlantic (IBCEA); and Mediterranean (IBCM). The project is also coordinated with the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) Project, which is co-sponsored by IOC and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). Representatives of the IOC, IHO, and GEBCO attend and participate in the IBCWIO Editorial Board Meetings. Bathymetry, bathymetric data, and technical expertise are shared amongst all these projects.

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