Review by Jeff Thurston
Ocean Globe is a rare book - it ties the field of oceangraphy and bathymetry to the tools of GIS in ways you will not find in many other places. It takes the reader on an adventure of ocean learning from the start. Beginning with learning about the tools and technologies for capturing ocean digital data, readers will discover not only how the data is captured, but also why it is captured in particular ways. Few of us have seen the development of mapping by species as it relates to bathymetry nor quite understood why certain species of fish seem to be where they are - this book attempts to explain that.
Editor Joe Breman brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the project as founder of International Underwater Explorations (IUE). With 15 years of experience he has previously authored the ESRI Press book Marine Geography in 2002 as well as being the co-author of Arc Marine: GIS for a Blue Planet - a book you will find I earlier reviewed in 2007.
Dawn J. Wright sets this book in motion wih her foreword. "95 per cent of the global ocean floor remains either unmapped or mapped at a resolution that pales in comparison to the topographic maps that we have of Mars, Venus, and the dark side of the moon." Wright knows what she is talking about. A professor at Oregon State University, Wright leads a seafloor mapping GIS lab at that institution. But her words are true and striking. They point directly at the contents of this book - and why more needs to be done in terms of understanding our oceans.
Within the last few years tsunami have struck the Indian Ocean region, fish stocks and management programs in the European Union have been drastically altered and as I write this, oil is bellowing from an open well in the Gulf of Mexico, pouring thousands of litres of toxin into the water and impacting animals and sealife in ways we have not even begun to understand.
Without ocean data we lack the ability to understand the world's oceans. Without higher quality ocean data we lack the decision making baseline to begin the process of managing oceans more sustainably and within a context that builds upon science and education. The process of modelling our oceans is greatly hindered without proper spatial data and tools like GIS that enable the data to be analysed and presented properly.
It might very well be that a lot of people do not understand what goes on in oceans in this respect, thus lending to support to the value of this book. Breman includes several contributors through 12 chapters. They discuss topics like LiDAR for bathymetry, topographic data in relation to tsunami, mapping habitats of the English Channel, building a California seafloor mapping project and the unique case of Hawksbill and green sea turtles wandering the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
If you wonder why some people keep saying, "GIS is special" then this book should leave little doubt. They understand that work like that described in this book is innately tied to information systems that can build these kinds of data archives, analyse, visualise and deliver the knowledge from them - to real people making real choices - for a better world. This is the kind of stuff that matters.
Other chapters investigate the topography of the Hawaiian Islands and describe the value of high quality bathymetry for habitat modelling there. And, as the Gulf of Mexico situation is happening - this book includes a chapter on mapping and bathymetry linked to the northwestern parts of the Gulf of Mexico. There is a fascinating account of the use of GPS for linking underwater surveys to land surveys for more properly estimating sea depths.
Ocean Globe also includes discussion about ocean habitats and remote sensing, explaining how that technology is linked to estimating salinity in water. The case of developing bathymetry for understanding seaweed population in Massachusetts is also presented.
Breman says, "Ocean Globe provides a clear path to unify all the disparate projects as authors take the next steps in documenting seafloor, bathymetry, and GIS marine mapping projects for the first time." I think this book goes even further. Not enough people know synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can provide the results it does, nor that LiDAR might be helpful to their projects. Through Breman's own tally and description there is real opportunity for people to learn about these technologies in bathymetry use and to get behind them in terms of support. I would suggest that many people do not know that digital bathymetry helps to understand tsunami dangers, something this book explains well.
If LiDAR can be used to a depth of 70 meters as this book explains, then a large part of Europe would surely benefit from that data as compared to mapping Mars? I'm just pointing out what is so clearly evident.
The work of echo-sounders is well known, but the differences between map output for single versus multi-beam approaches are explained in this book. Further, the case of 3D visualisation is also explained and how that connects to 3D ocean visualisation. The visual example provided of a ship off the coast of Peru using Fledermaus software by IVS -3D company, for example, is striking for it's detail.
The maps and information about habitats in the Dover Strait and English Channel by researchers from France and the UK is very interesting. This is an example of information we seldom see, yet, maps, discussion and technologies for gathering and processing these spatial information are provided.
I'm heartened by the California seafloor mapping project, a project that is providing higher quality bethymetry information off the coast of California. It is good to see that change is happening and this kind of work is beginning. Half completed, the project will take a few more years but it is an example of work that needs to be extended globally. In plain terms that state found that without this kind of information is was severely restricted in decision making possibilities.
California without proper bathymetry and marine data:
1) could not develop fish habitat preservation programs
2) had no way to understand or develop strategies for protecting critical underwater infrastructure
3) could not manage marine facilities and sites properly
4) had little detail about marine resources in the area
It is clear, more oceanographic data provides more answers. As California begins to talk about off-shore management, residents can be assured that data is backing the details. I'd draw your attenion to the work of Stephen G. Dunbar and David Howard, two researchers who study Hawksbill and green sea turtles. Their account of the travels of these somewhat mysterious long distance travellers is intriguing. Other work in the book describes habitat modelling using GIS. Admittedly, I never knew tides played such a key role in habitats, their distribution and physical environments.
Finally, the Appendix of this book includes the History of Seafloor Mapping as outlined by author Albert E. Theberge Jr. It provides a summary of the technologies used through history for bathymetry mapping. You will be able to see the first bathymetry chart produced by sound in this section.
From Foreword through to Appendix, Ocean Globe keeps the reader interested with excellent content. The images presented throughout are integral to the story. The book makes the important tie between data capture and visualisation through explaining why specific data is being gathered. The why in this case sheds light on why different kinds of turtles and sealife live where they do, tsunami may be more dangerous in certain places and the details of sanctuary's in Hawaii to the fish populations of the Dover Strait.
I can't say enough about this book. It is magical. Editor Joe Breman hit the mark here. This book includes insight about GIS in ocean technology while addressing issues relating to ocean science and links them together vividly. Readers will learn how ocean data is gathered and gain an understanding as to how it is processed. They will also develop an appreciation for this knowledge and how it can lead to ocean and marine decision making and policy development. I don't say this often - buy this book.
Jeff Thurston is co-founder and co-editor of V1 Magazine / Asian Surveying and Mapping for Vector1 Media. He is based in Berlin.
|Sun Jun 23|
Italy - INSPIRE 2013: The Green Renaissance
|Sun Jun 23|
Italy - International Workshop at the Crossroad of Earth Information, Technology and Social Sciences
|Tue Jun 25|
Austria - RIEGL LIDAR 2013 International User Conference
|Tue Jun 25|
Canada - MultiTemp 2013
|Wed Jun 26|
Portugal - 10th International Conference on Image Analysis and Recognition
|Tue Jul 02|
Austria - GI_Forum