Lakebed 2030


An initiative to build a better basemap.

The Great Lakes have never been comprehensively mapped at high-resolution. Though many maps of the Great Lakes seem to show the shape and depth of the lake floor, known as bathymetry, these maps are created using data that is sometimes decades old and low-resolution.

The above low-resolution model of Great Lakes bathymetry was created by using data from U.S. Geological Survey and NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

Only a tiny fraction of the lake floor has been mapped in detail.

These large gaps in our map leave big questions unanswered related to human health, a changing shoreline, the impacts of fluctuating water levels, undiscovered underwater ecosystems and archaeological sites, and more.




In 2019, a group of researchers, technologists, and others dedicated to creating a complete map launched Lakebed 2030.

Begun as a grassroots regional initiative that harmonizes governmental and non-governmental efforts, Lakebed 2030 is dedicated to bringing together new and existing bathymetric data to create a map of the lake floor that’s easy to use and open to everyone.


images of the lakebed and autonomous scanning technology

First Image: This autonomous surface vehicle has a state-of-the art seafloor mapping system that can map depths reaching 650 feet and has been used to map Thunder Bay. Learn more. Image by Ocean Exploration Trust

Second Image: Image created using bathy LiDAR data captured by NOAA in Lake Michigan.

Third Image: This processed bathymetry map shows the Lake Huron bottomlands in Thunder Bay. Learn more. Image by Ocean Exploration Trust/University of New Hampshire-Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

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Great Lakes in spring

Great Lakes TechSurge Lakebed 2030 | Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2020 | Learn more




Lakebed 2030 | Early Contributions in Thunder Bay [Webinar] August 10 3:30 PM EST | Watch the recording.