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Bathymetry is the information that describes the topography of the seabed. It is an essential component in understanding the dynamics of the marine environment, both in terms of sediment transport but also in the prediction of tides, currents and waves. Safe ocean navigation relies on accurate bathymetry data, which are also essential for planning marine installations and infrastructure such as wind turbines, coastal defences, oil platforms and pipelines. Bathymetry plays also a key role in the distribution of marine species. Overall bathymetry forms the foundation of any comprehensive marine dataset; without it, the picture is incomplete.

Objectives of EMODnet Bathymetry

EMODnet Bathymetry aims to provide a single access point to bathymetric products, Digital Terrain Models (DTM) and data (survey data sets and composite DTM) collected and managed by an increasing number of organisation from government and research scattered over Europe.


Key services provided by EMODnet Bathymetry

The EMODnet Bathyemtry portal provides a range of services and functionalities to users for viewing and downloading bathymetry data products and for identifying and requesting access to the survey data sets that are used as basis input for the DTM. Currently the following key services and functionality are provided for users:

  1. Data Discovery and Access service: provides functionality to search and obtain survey data sets;
  2. Composite Products Discovery and Access service: provides functionality to search and view metadata of composite DTM;
  3. Bathymetry Viewing and Download service: provides functionality to view, browse and download digital bathymetry as DTM and obtain information about the underlying data sets used to compile the DTM.


The following approach has been adopted for the implementation of the EMODnet Bathymetry portal:
  • Include in the portal a metadata data discovery and access service, by adopting the SeaDataNet CDI metadata standard, for providing clear information about the survey data used for the DTM, their access restrictions and distributors, and featuring online shopping request and delivery; this ensures that the bathymetry data sets can also be queried at the SeaDataNet portal;
  • Include in the portal an additional catalogue service, by adopting the SeaDataNet Sextant Catalogue service, for providing metadata on composite DTMs that are contributed by a number of data providers next to or instead of bathymetric survey data;
  • Involve research institutes, monitoring authorities, and Hydrographic offices, in providing bathymetric data sets, only for internal use by project partners for producing the Digital Terrain Models (DTM). DTM tiles are loaded and integrated into the portals' spatial database, and made available for free downloading;
  • Develop a Bathymetry Viewing and Download service on top of a powerful spatial database including various ways for browsing and interacting with the EMODnet Bathymetry digital terrain model and associated metadata by means of information layers and specific functions. It includes WMS, WCS and WFS services (OGC) to share layers also with other portals such as other EMODnet portals, the European Atlas of the Seas, and external portals.

Data sources

The partners of EMODnet Bathymetry combine expertise and experiences of collecting, processing, and managing bathymetric data. They have also gathered expertise in the building and management of distributed data infrastructure which routinely provides discovery, access and viewing services to users according to INSPIRE implementation rules and international standards (ISO, OGC).

Both hydrographic and scientific/academic organization are deeply involved in continuously  increasing the coverage of European seas, through the acquisition of new information using essentially modern multibeam sounders.

EMODnet Bathymetry product development

Digital Terrain Model are based on 3 types of bathymetric data sources:

  • Bathymetric surveys, such as single and multibeam surveys, echosoundings and even historic leadline soundings. These data sets are most preferred as data sources because of their high resolution;
  • Composite data sets, which includes a set of surveys merged and gridded altogether;
  • Gaps with no data coverage which are completed by integrating the worldwide GEBCO Digital Bathymetric grid (in which the lack of coverage is filled by coarse resolution (up to several kilometers) information extrapolated from altimetry measurements for satellites.

Improvements in the current development Phase III (2017-2020)

  • Multi-resolution DTM (¼ of an arc minute);
  • Satellite-derived Bathymetry (SDB) data used to cover gaps in the coastal area;
  • Extended coverage  to include European coastal zones as well as the European Arctic region and Barents sea;
  • Quality index provided at the grid node level in order to inform the user about the quality of the product.

Hydrography Pic

Bathymetry DataBox

Leading partner

View the full Consortium


Available data and products


- Minimum cell water depth
- Maximum cell water depth
- Average cell water depth
- Standard deviation of cell water depth
- Number of values used for interpolation of cell water depth
- Elements relative to the quality of the data sources composing the DTM

DTM reference framework

- Horizontal coordinate reference system
- Depth reference system
- Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT) 

DTM Coverage

- Gridsize of ⅛*⅛ arc minutes available for:
- The Atlantic Ocean (Channel, Celtic Seas, Western Approaches)
- The North Sea and Kattegat
- The Western and Central Mediterranean sea and Ionian Sea
- The Iberian Coast and the Bay of Biscay (Atlantic Ocean)
- The Adriatic Sea (Mediterranean)
- The Aegean - Levantine Sea (Mediterranean)
- Madeira and Azores
- Baltic Sea
- Black Sea
- Norwegian - Icelandic Seas
- Canary Islands 
- Arctic region + Barentz Sea