Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Available Data GIS Data Challenges GIS Data Types

Available MBARI GIS Data:

The MBARI Mapping Program data along with some of the images created with these data, are available on CD-ROM. To learn more about these surveys, see the mapping page, or contact MBARI to request a CD-ROM. 

GIS Data Available on MBARI's Network:

The "finalized" map layers which exist at MBARI can be found in the locations described below. There are other data sets "in house" but they exist in various states of completeness or need to be reformatted. If you don't find what you need here then ask Brian Schlining (ext. 1855) or Dave Caress (ext. 1775) we may be able to help. Also, if you have geographic data that you would like to provide to the institute please contact Brian Schlining.

GIS data is available on MBARI internal network (See this MBARI GIS tip).

On Windows, the data can be found by using Network Neighborhood to browse to \\Menard\vol16\gisdata.


Challenges Using GIS Data

  • When compared with land data, oceanographic data have more often been collected digitally but they are relatively incomplete.
  • The data that do exist will often be stored in incompatible formats and at various locations around the world.
  • Data will usually be of widely different scales, precision, map projections, and geographic coverage.
  • Often the data sets are large and require a large amount of disk space to manipulate. Effectively managing these data can be a problem


Examples of MBARI GIS Data Types


(Compressed) ASCII raster format grids of bathymetry in Geographic or UTM coordinates

Use Grids to perform Surface Analysis such as calculating contours...

...Calculating aspect: Aspect identifies the steepest downslope direction from each cell to its neighbors. It can be thought of as slope direction or the compass direction a hill faces.

...Calculating standard deviation, variety, majority, minority, median.

...Calculating slope: the incline, or steepness, of a surface. Slope can be measured in degrees from horizontal (0-90) or percent slope.

Illuminated Bathymetric:

Shaded relief images of the bathymetry grids in GeoTIFF format

Color Illuminated Bathymetric:


Acoustic reflectivity images from the surveys in GeoTIFF format (bright implies high return).

ArcNav Markpoints Data:

ArcNav generated shapefile (point data shown below)

3D Data


A digital file consisting of terrain elevations for ground positions at regularly spaced intervals. A Digital Elevation Model is often referred to as a DEM.

Merged Data Sets


Image draped on Grid created in ArcScene (ArcGIS component)