Nippon Foundation / GEBCO Ocean Mapping Training Program at the University of New Hampshire: 13 Years of Success and Alumni Activities

TitleNippon Foundation / GEBCO Ocean Mapping Training Program at the University of New Hampshire: 13 Years of Success and Alumni Activities
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
AuthorsWigley, R, Zarayskaya, Y, Bazhenova, E, Falconer, R, Zwolak, K
Conference NameOCEANS 2017
Conference DatesJune 19-22
Conference LocationAberdeen, UK
KeywordsElectronic mail, GEBCO, geology, Oceans, Organizations, Sea measurements, Training

The General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO, training of a new generation of hydrographers and scientists in ocean mapping has been funded by the Nippon Foundation, based in Tokyo, Japan, since 2004. The Nippon Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation, whose overall objectives include social innovation, assistance for humanitarian activities and global ocean management ( The 14th class of Nippon Foundation / GEBCO Postgraduate Certificate in Ocean Bathymetry (PCOB) Training Program ( will begin one year-long education for a Graduate Certificate at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping / Joint Hydrographic Center in the University of New Hampshire in August 2017 ( These six new individuals from Year 14 will join an international and active group of 78 Nippon Foundation / GEBCO Training Program alumni from 35 coastal states educated in ocean mapping over the last 13 years. These alumni working at national naval and hydrographic offices, industry, research institutes and universities represent a group of ocean mappers who take home a strong passion for the oceans, backed by a world-class education they will use to build capacity through sharing their knowledge and experiences in their home nations. Currently ∼80% of the alumni are still employed within the same organization they were attached to when selected for the Training Program and ∼97% are still working in ocean sciences. This strong retention of alumni is one of the greatest successes of the Nippon Foundation / GEBCO Training Program. This capacity-building Training Program consists of a combination of theoretical education and practical training. Obligatory and elective courses give the students a complex knowledge of topics related to hydrographic surveying and coastal and ocean mapping. The Summer Hydrographic Field Course is a culmination of the training; consisting of planning, practical realization and data analysis of hydrographic survey data of a specific area of New Hampshire coastal waters. The academic training is followed by a visit in an international laboratory, chosen individually for each student and a deep-water ocean mapping research cruise. This gives the students the opportunity to get familiarized with oceans-related research and to work in institutions abroad on their own relevant projects with the support of laboratory staff. The lab visit and research cruise round out the students training, help them build networks and deepen some of their newly-acquired theoretical knowledge. GEBCO aims to provide the most authoritative, publicly-available bathymetry data sets for the worlds oceans and is a joint project of the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. Nippon Foundation / GEBCO Training Program alumni are now a significant group within the GEBCO organization, and are engaged in various regional and global mapping projects, including the Indian Ocean Bathymetric Compilation (IOBC), the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO), the International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBSCO) and the GEBCO Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN). The diverse backgrounds, academic skills and practical experiences and knowledge of the Nippon Foundation / GEBCO alumni group, has being capitalized on in a number of alumniled initiatives. The alumni supported by industry and GEBCO experts, are, for example, currently developing an alternative integrated and remote mapping system solution for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition participation.