International Bathymetric Chart of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico


The International Bathymetric Chart of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico (IBCCA) is a regional ocean mapping project sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The initial mission of this project was to create new bathymetry for the areas shown on the previous web page. As the compilation of the majority of areas is nearing completion, the project is beginning to coordinate efforts to digitize existing geologic and geophysical maps with the intent of creating digital layers for new parameters. The Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (INEGI) of Mexico is taking the responsibility for providing project coordination, editing, conversion to digital media, printing, and distribution of the new bathymetry. Currently, participating countries include Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, France, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela. Meetings of the Editorial Board are held every second year and are typically hosted by one of the participating countries.

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 research and modeling, exploration for natural resources, environmental policy making, education and image making. 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 IBCCA project is coordinated with seven other international regional ocean mapping projects sponsored by the IOC: Western Indian Ocean (IBCWIO); Western Pacific (IBCWP); South Eastern Pacific (IBCSEP); Central Eastern Atlantic (IBCEA); Mediterranean (IBCM) and Arctic Ocean (IBCAO); and Antarctic Ocean (IBCA). The project is also coordinated with the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), which is co-sponsored by IOC and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). Representatives of the IOC, IHO, and GEBCO attend and participate in the IBCCA Editorial Board Meetings. Bathymetry, bathymetric data, and technical expertise are shared amongst all these projects.

Return to IBCCA Home Page