Thanks to an international initiative Seabed 2030 23.4% of the entire ocean floor on Earth has already been mapped. The project, which relies largely on voluntarily provided data from governments, organizations and research institutions, is part of a larger UN initiative The Ocean Decade

Seabed 2030 hopes to map 100% of the ocean floor by 2030. According to the researchers, this will be possible thanks to the development of technology and the collection of already available data. In just the last year, the organization has added measurements to an area roughly the size of Europe, mostly relying on existing archives.

Scientists believe that mapping the bottom will help better understand climate change, and detect tsunamis and other natural disasters. It can also contribute to ocean conservation efforts.

“A complete map of the ocean floor is the missing tool that will enable us to tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, including climate change and marine pollution. It will enable us to safeguard the planet’s future,” says the executive director of The Nippon Foundation, the organization assisting the project.

All data collected by Seabed 2030 will be publicly available at GEBCO. Before this project, there was very little publicly available ocean floor measurement data.