The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) was initiated 1997 and has since been the authoritative source of bathymetry for the Arctic Ocean. In 2017, IBCAO merged its efforts with the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO-Seabed 2030 Project, with the goal of mapping the global seafloor by 2030.
Here we provide information on Version 3.0 of the IBCAO published in 2012. Please note that this is a historical IBCAO data set has been superceded by the latest release.
The aim of the IBCAO is to develop a digital grid based on all available bathymetric data north of 64° North, for use by mapmakers, researchers, institutions, and others whose work requires a detailed and accurate knowledge of the depth and the shape of the Arctic seabed. Version 4 of the data set is now available download.
The IBCAO grid is used for the Arctic region in the global GEBCO grid. As a part of GEBCO, the work of the IBCAO is endorsed by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).
At the time of its publication, IBCAO Version 3.0 represented the largest improvement in the data set since 1999. Taking advantage of new data sets collected by the circum-Arctic nations, opportunistic data collected from fishing vessels, data acquired from US Navy submarines and from research ships of various nations.
Built using an improved gridding algorithm, the grid is on a 500 meter spacing, revealing much greater details of the Arctic seafloor than IBCAO Version 1.0 (2.5 km) and Version 2.0 (2.0 km). The area covered by multibeam surveys has increased from ~6 % in Version 2.0 to ~11% in Version 3.0.
Bathymetric grids and imagery from IBCAO V3 are available either by request or for direct download. If you would like a copy of the data sets please email the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Global Center at and specify the data set(s) and format(s) that you would like.
The compilation of IBCAO Version 3.0 is described in a Geophysical Research Letter article.
Please acknowledge the following citation when using the IBCAO grids and maps:
Jakobsson, M., L. A. Mayer, B. Coakley, J. A. Dowdeswell, S. Forbes, B. Fridman, H. Hodnesdal, R. Noormets, R. Pedersen, M. Rebesco, H.-W. Schenke, Y. Zarayskaya A, D. Accettella, A. Armstrong, R. M. Anderson, P. Bienhoff, A. Camerlenghi, I. Church, M. Edwards, J. V. Gardner, J. K. Hall, B. Hell, O. B. Hestvik, Y. Kristoffersen, C. Marcussen, R. Mohammad, D. Mosher, S. V. Nghiem, M. T. Pedrosa, P. G. Travaglini, and P. Weatherall, The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) Version 3.0, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1029/2012GL052219.
Bathymetric grids for the IBCAO V3 are available on requests in netCDF or Esri ASCII raster format and geographic or polar projection co-ordinates. If you would like a copy of the data sets please email the Seabed 2030 Global Center at and specify the data set(s) and format(s) that you would like.
Please note the following details for the grids:
The following versions of the grid are available on request:
Digital Bathymetric Model (DBM) compiled with all multibeam, dense single beam and land data added at 500 x 500 m resolution in a final step using the remove-restore method. This DBM is recommended for analyses requiring the best possible resolution where data exists. Well surveyed areas are clearly distinguished in this grid, specifically if there are nearby areas with sparse data that appear smooth. Note, also available as a version 7 Fledermaus file.
Digital Bathymetric Model compiled with the land data added at 500 x 500 m resolution in a final step using the remove-restore method. This DBM portrays the seafloor with a general and smooth appearance. This DBM may be better suited for overview map making than the version described for IBCAO_V3_500m_RR, due to its more homogenous and smooth appearance.
A re-projected version of IBCAO_V3_500m_RR.
A re-projected version of IBCAO_V3_500m_SM.
Source Identification Grid (SID) with the information about the type of source data contributing to a grid cell. Each grid cell in the SID is represented by a numerical value.
Access map imagery for V3 of the IBCAO in PDF format
Imagery for V3 of the IBCAO as a GeoTiff is available on request: