Damanaki wants to map the seas.
Maria Damanaki, the European commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, is an old-fashioned socialist and she demonstrated as much last week (23 April), when she went to Monaco to sign a memorandum of understanding with the International Hydrographic Office, taking with her a pledge to create a high-resolution “digital map” of the seabed in European waters.
The European Commission has already been involved in a preparing a low- resolution map of water depth, which was made available to private companies, public authorities and researchers. It was, the commissioner said, “patched together and processed from 20 different data providers who themselves processed surveys from 113 different surveying bodies”.
Her declared aim is to cover all European waters at double the resolution by the end of 2014. The digital map will show the depth of water, the type of sediment, the whereabouts of minerals, the zones of human activity and the type of habitat. It will be accompanied by observations on temperature, salinity, chemical pollution and marine life.
This approach, relying as it does on the public sector providing and preserving a public good, strikes Entre Nous as definitively last century. Nowadays, surely you just wait for Google, the internet search and mapping behemoth, to put together ‘Sea View’: Google submarine passes by, taking unauthorised photographs of startled anemones and sea urchins, which in due course are posted on the internet.
(source: Oceanology International)