Mapping Our Seas, Oceans & Waterways - More Important Than Ever is the theme of this year’s UN-sponsored World Hydrography Day due to be marked worldwide on and around 21 June.

Chosen by the inter-governmental International Hydrographic Organization in Monaco on behalf of its 86 member states with the aim of fostering wider public appreciation of services provided by national hydrographic offices and others, it’s a forcible reminder that barely 10% of the world’s oceans and around 50% of its coastal waters have been measured directly; Caribbean, Indian, Pacific Oceans and Polar regions are reckoned to be especially vulnerable.

The event will be preceded by a UN Ocean Conference in New York from 5-9 June which is expected to include key specific references to hydrography and its crucial need to obtain more and better data. New initiatives and ongoing work by the IHO and its scientific partners are due to be highlighted during proceedings covering such issues as increased use of satellite-derived and crowd-sourced bathymetry.

By David Goodfellow