Think about how many times you have used Google Maps to get around, just in the past year. Google Maps has become one of the most popular ways to find one’s way, as it is available as an app that helps people find their way in real time. Now, think about how a Google Maps approach could be used for Ocean Exploration. In order for safe ocean exploration to become standard, more than 5% of the ocean must be mapped. Therefore, scientists have turned to state-of-the-art technology to map sources of natural danger.
How are the scientists planning to accomplish this feat? They are planning to use advanced sonar on their roaming ships and other unmanned vessels. This sonar will allow the vehicles to pick up any natural ‘abnormality,’ such as foreign creatures, volcanoes, and strange changes in the sea floor. This advanced sonar is known as a multi-beam sonar, which can survey hundreds of meters of the sea floor at a time.
The deadline that scientists have given themselves to map out the entirety of the sea is the year 2030. As a Google Maps approach is being used, Google is offering help to the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, which is overseeing the mapping efforts. This project should take precedence above all else.
If we look to history, we can find several instances of disasters and collisions occurring at sea because we do not have adequate knowledge of the layout of the sea floor. There have been underwater mountains struck that have resulted in deaths, for example, and much more. In order for ocean exploration to continue as a lucrative profession, scientists need knowledge about all of the terrain.
As we all know, a great deal of time and money all over the world is spent exploring space, while most of our planet remains unexplored and, therefore, not understood. I am of the firm belief that ocean exploration should be put above all else, including above space travel. When we finally choose to fully focus on exploring and mapping the seafloor, we will generate a further understanding of the planet Earth and what lies in its deepest crevices. This will make travel safer, and will be a huge leap forward for science.