How Does MAREMAP Work?

Developments in multibeam echosounder (or swath) systems (MBES) in recent years have led to significant improvements in seabed mapping and scientific research. Charting data collected primarily to safeguard life at sea compliments geological and habitat mapping, as well as marine surveys carried out for fisheries management, conservation and industry. The result is a more abundant and readily available body of very high quality information.

'The use of multibeam echosounder systems to map the sea floor is delivering a new generation of geological maps and science outputs'
Alan Stevenson, MAREMAP Coordinator, BGS

The use of MBES data has not only provided more detailed images of the seafloor, but has also allowed marine geologists and other scientists to re-interpret data collected during earlier mapping programs in much greater detail.

The BGS, for example, are focusing their offshore mapping efforts on the coastal zone around the UK as this is an area that, due to the large ships used during surveys carried out in the 1970s and 1980s, was not surveyed.

MAREMAP is helping to changethe way public sector organisations collaborate and provides a way for the different sectors of the marine community to come together to share data and expertise and produce new geological and habitat mapping information.

As part of the Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) investment in large research infrastructures, facilities, data, national-good services and long-term science provided by research centres and universities, MAREMAP is taking a multi-disciplinary approach to three principal areas of environmental science: geoscience, biology and oceanography. MAREMAP brings together the marine geoscience activities within NERC under a single programme to provide effective collaboration and coordination.

As outlined in the NERC strategy document 'The Business of the Environment' published in November 2013, NERC partners in MAREMAP encourage all associate organisations with a shared ambition to participate. To date, six organisations have joined the programme as associate partners. Each contributes marine data and specialist knowledge to the consortium, ensuring that the most up-to-date maps are made available to the outside community.

Our research is organised under 7 main themes:

  • Coastal and shelf geological and habitat models
  • Deep water geological and habitat models
  • Submarine hazards
  • Sediment mobility and 4D monitoring/modeling
  • Technology and techniques
  • Heritage and archaeology
  • Data and products

MAREMAP hosts NERC research in these themes and acts as a hub for information and research made available by our collaborators. The programme provides a service for compiling and delivering our combined marine environmental mapping activities. By doing so, our aim is to bridge the delivery and exchange of information between our partners and the industries and other organisations that use a wide range of marine information.

Kongsberg Multibeam system
BGS White Ribbon