Oceans Crucial for Global Economy & Sustainability


80 percent of the world trade goes through seas, making a worthwhile argument for greater focus on our oceans, seas, and water bodies.

With sustainability under the microscope around the world, oceanic studies, awareness, and efforts to mitigate climate change have become the need of the hour.

To discuss this and more, Geospatial World Forum 2024 organized a session on the second day of the conference. Moderated by Denis Hains, President & CEO, H2i, the session proved to be thought-provoking for oceanography and its importance along with sustainable practices.

Greater Involvement

A duly sense of ignorance when it comes to ocean awareness has been settled upon, wherein talks of ocean mapping, pollution control, and its importance and the greater scheme of humankind’s presence are being foreshadowed.

Mark Heine, CEO, Fugro, The Netherlands, reiterated this problem, “At COP28, there was a prominent ocean pavilion which gave a lot more attention to our oceans. This was an indication of how people have started to understand how important the oceans are for everybody who lives on the planet.”

Without healthy oceans, we cannot survive on this planet, he emphasized. 

Ocean Digital Twin

Shedding light on the digital twin of Earth’s water bodies, Mathias Jonas, Secretary General, IHO, France explained the importance of using geospatial for healthy oceanography.

He explained the two ways forward for forming ocean’s digital twin; a digital twin of the ocean and another digital twin of the navigable waters.

“The digital of the ocean is predominately a science project. The people who deal with this are the oceanographers, and they try to describe the greater processes like ocean currents, sea water level rise, biodiversity, ablation of coasts, and ocean as a major driver for the weather and climate,” he said.

“The second part, the navigable waters which limits to 200 metre in ocean depth and supports blue economy, offshore energy, shipping, fish farming, navigation needs interoperability and mesh all the diverse data together as well as broadband connection to all the players,” he added.

“We need more real-time information. At landsat, these are normal circumstances but these still are challenges in the navigable oceans for us,” Mathias reiterated.

Oceanic Open Data

Leendert Dorst Deputy Hydrographer, Royal Netherlands Navy, The Netherlands explained how open data can be revolutionary in sustaining oceans.

“You can build a great digital twin with beautiful visualisation and smart algorithms but if the underlined data is old, missing, or inaccurate then what is the value of the digital twin.”

“This is the problem that we’re facing for our seas and oceans. First thing we need to do is make all the ocean data open for the public so everyone can use it and give feedbacks,” he added.

He then stated how it is very important that the Royal Netherlands Navy provide the right metadata so there are no qualms over the time and quality of the open data.

For sustainable governance of oceans and seas, you need to base your policies on facts, according to Leendert.

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