Explore the depths


The Danish Geodata Agency has released a depth model showing how deep Danish waters are.

There is currently increased focus on the sea and the many ways in which it is used. To contribute to increased to knowledge in this field, the Danish Geodata Agency has just published a free depth model at a resolution of 50x50 meters. The depth model will allow everyone to explore what the oceans around Denmark look like.

Complex areas of application
The sea holds great potential, but is also a potential source of conflict since there are so many different interests that need to come together. It is therefore an important prerequisite to know about the depth and form of the seabed if you need to plan something out at sea. These could, for example, be designs for infrastructure projects such as offshore wind farms or tunnels, cable tracks or pipelines to name just a few things. The depth of the sea is also extremely important for research and, for example, modelling ocean currents, sediment transport and fishing areas.

“It just sounds great”
That was the simple statement from one of the DMI’s oceanographers when he was presented with our new depth models. A grid dataset is just what is needed:

- We aren’t experts in nautical charts, so it’s obviously an advantage that someone has done the work for us, says Jacob Woge Nielsen, oceanographer at the Danish Meteorological Institute.

The DMI uses nautical charts and depth data when calculating tidal models. In the past, nautical charts have been bought for these purposes, but a fifty-metre model will clearly provide a better informational basis.

Good datasets, on which tidal models rely, are also vitally important for when ocean currents need to be mapped in order to make accurate storm surge warnings. It is something that affects a lot of people who may potentially need to secure their property from flooding.

Useful planning tool
The depth model can be used in planning. Not only for the placement of offshore windfarms, bridges and tunnels, but also for the practical planning of potential construction work, such as when the DMI works with wave modeling.

Examples of this are when the DMI makes models for how high waves might get, which direction the waves are moving in and within what timeframe.

It is information used for offshore work, but also for navigation since ferry departures may be affected by how high the waves are. That is why the DMI makes five-day forecasts so shipping companies can factor in cancellations.

- It is absolutely critical that we have the correct depth. Our starting point is a global database that we refine at a local level, but with the Danish Geodata Agency’s new model, it will get even better, explains Vibeke Huess from the DMI.

Into the depths yourself
The new depth model has been created based on requests from several of the Danish Geodata Agency's partners from universities and other authorities so that it is not just the DMI that will benefit from this new model.

- We encourage everyone to explore our new depth model. Our great hope is that it can be used in ways we have not thought of ourselves, says Elizabeth Hagemann, Head of Division at Nautical Charts and Marine Data, the Danish Geodata Agency.

That is why there is a direct call for as many people as possible to “play” with the model.

- When Denmark's elevation model (mainland) was released, it turned out that historians and archaeologists got a lot out of studying the shadow map, where they could identify all sorts of traces from the past. However, we don’t expect you to sit and find shipwrecks with the depth model, but we hope that users will welcome it and use our data in new ways, Hagemann concludes.

Find it on our website
The depth model is free to download from the Danish Geodata Agency’s and Dataforsyningen’s website, either as a geotiff, or as a web service with two different views:

  • A depth model – with a grid of 50 meters, where the depth value of each grid is represented by a colour.
  • A depth-shadow map, which is a visualisation of the depth model, where variations in depth are illustrated with a three-dimensional effect.

The web service can be used as a background in various maps.

In addition to the depth model itself, two additional layers have been made available with information about the underlying depth data. The existing depth data is of such diverse age and quality that the information in the two additional layers allows users to assess the quality of the data of the different parts of the depth model itself.

The model is expected to be updated once a year after the Danish Geodata Agency has received depth data from the Danish Armed Forces’ annual surveys, so this first version should get more and more developed.
Since the depths in the model are mean depths (i.e. an average depth in an area of 50 x 50 meters), the model is in no way suitable for navigation. The Danish Geodata Agency otherwise refers to the official charts.


Danish Hydrographic Office


The Depth Model must not be used for navigation. Using the depths for navigation would be dangerous. For navigation purposes, please refer to the official chartschart corrections and nautical publications produced by the Danish Geodata Agency