日本慈善組織日本基金會（Nippon Foundation）和通用大洋水深圖組織（General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans，GEBCO）主導海床2030大規模的水文測量工作。跨政府組織GEBCO的目標是要編制一份可靠的海底地形圖，詳細說明全世界海床的深度和形狀。
收集來的所有數據都將被彙整進免費、公開的資料集「GEBCO Grid」中。海床2030專案的主要目標，是建立一個完整的GEBCO Grid資料集地圖，整合全世界的測深數據。
為了完成海底測繪，計畫參與者之一、美國非政府組織Global Oceans將改裝一種作業深度達6000公尺的Ocean Explorer 6000拖曳系統，搭載多波束聲納，未來也會支援該專案其他使用模組化自適應研究船（Modular Adaptive Research Vessel, MARV）的計畫。
MARV是由Global Oceans開發的一種作業模式，可調動模組化的工作空間和資源，供需要包船的科學研究計畫租用。這樣的模式利用世界各地大量閒置未用的海上服務船（Offshore Service Vessels, OSVs），這些船隊可以配備收集資料所需的研究工具，協助達成海床2030的目標。
Ocean Explorer 6000則是一款可以從MARV OSV部署的拖曳系統。加裝最先進的多波束聲納測深儀，並升級影像技術後，這種遙控載具將能夠渲染出更大面積的海底高解析度圖像。
美國國家海洋暨大氣總署（National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA）海洋和海岸測繪綜合協調人查博（Ashley Chappell）說，測深圖有許多用途，「可用於海岸海洋科學、棲息地特徵、波浪模型、洪水模型、風能開發等等。」
Much has changed since the early days of oceanic bathymetry, the study of the seafloor, when simple soundings were taken by hand with a rope and weight. Today, an international effort led by Seabed 2030 is underway to precisely map the entire ocean floor by the end of the decade, an ambitious target that may be achieved with the help of advanced technology.
The Seabed 2030 project was unveiled in 2018 and has been endorsed by the United Nations for the UN’s 2021-2030 Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
The massive hydrographic endeavor is spearheaded by the Nippon Foundation, a Japanese philanthropic organization, and GEBCO, or General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, an intergovernmental organization seeking to compile an authoritative map detailing the depths and shapes of the underwater terrain underlying all the world’s oceans.
The scientists are mapping features such as mid-ocean ridges, underwater volcanoes, relic or submerged shorelines, hydrothermal vents, moraine crests carved by ancient glaciers, and new ocean floor crust.
All data collected will be compiled into the free, publicly available GEBCO Grid. A primary goal of the Seabed 2030 project is to create a single map like this GEBCO Grid in which to consolidate all the world’s bathymetric data.
To accomplish the seafloor mapping, Global Oceans plans to make available its 6,000-meter Ocean Explorer 6000 towed system to be re-built with multibeam sonar.
The two organizations will explore opportunities to co-finance extended mapping on Global Oceans’ projects. And Global Oceans will support new Seabed 2030-related projects on MARV vessels, Costopulos said.
MARV, or Modular Adaptive Research Vessel, is an operational model developed by Global Oceans allowing for the mobilization of modular workspaces and resources for scientific research on time-chartered ships.
This model makes use of the massive fleet of Offshore Service Vessels, OSVs, that remain unused around the world which can be fitted with scientific tools necessary for data collection, contributing to Seabed 2030’s goal.
The Ocean Explorer 6000 is a towed vehicle which can be deployed from a MARV OSV. Following its reconstruction with the state-of-the-art Multibeam Echo Sounder and additional upgrades to its imagery technology, this remotely operated vehicle will be capable of rendering high resolution images of broader sections of the seafloor.
Beyond satisfying human curiosity, a detailed map of the world’s ocean floor offers many practical benefits. A comprehensive map of the benthic world would help us identify ecological hotspots which are typically present at seamounts. This knowledge would allow for better management of fisheries and could direct conservation efforts.
Understanding the underwater topography will also further human comprehension of marine life below the surface.
Better ocean floor maps would also enhance our understanding of oceanic currents which transport sediments and nutrients and regulate the climate, which will determine how drastic the effects of climate change are.
They could also help us to predict how sea-level rise will occur in different places, allowing us to better prepare. Accurate bathymetric maps of the oceans could allow us to model where and how hard tidal waves are likely to strike land.
The technology sector also stands to gain as an accurate topographical map is essential for laying submarine cables and in the development of Wave Energy Conversion technology. Wave energy converters harvest incoming wave energy, changing the energy of a moving ocean wave into useable mechanical or electrical energy.
Ashley Chappell, integrated ocean and coastal mapping coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, explained the many uses for bathymetric maps, saying, “Data is used in coastal ocean science, habitat characterization, wave models, flooding models, wind energy development, all kinds of things.”
Collecting the enormous amount of data necessary to complete the map depends on efforts by marine research organizations, governments, maritime industries, and private boat owners who can attach data loggers to their existing sonar equipment.
Other strategies for collecting data include the use of uncrewed vehicles, and switching traditional routes taken by ships, which was effective in mapping much of the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica.