A new Working Group on Marine Geospatial Information was established during the 7th Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) in New York, USA, from 2-4 August 2017. The event was attended by over 400 delegates and observers. A proposal to establish a dedicated Working Group on Marine Geospatial Information was tabled by the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Coastal Surveys (OCS) supported by the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO).
The Committee of Experts overwhelmingly supported the proposal in order to better meet three of its 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, namely ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’, ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’ and ‘Life Below Water’.
In its report to the UN Secretariat, NOAA identified substantive issues on the marine environment necessary to strengthen global geospatial information management in the marine space. The outcome will assist Member States to develop national policy, strategic priorities, improve decision making as well as measure and monitor global development outcomes in the world's oceans and seas.
The Marine Working Group will focus, for example, on the development of a Global Geodetic Reference Frame and Fundamental Data themes such as elevation (water depth) which will enable land-sea data interoperability and the creation of a single 'skin of the earth'. The Working Group will engage with subject matter experts including the IHO and the UN-GGIM Private Sector Network to achieve its goals.