NOAA 2007-R116
Contact: Connie Barclay
NOAA News Releases 2007
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Office of Communications

Recognizes Fifth Anniversary of the UN Atlas of the Oceans

NOAA joins 14 of its partner organizations today to celebrate World Ocean day by marking the fifth anniversary of the UN Atlas of the Oceans. The Atlas is a pioneering online encyclopedia containing a wealth of information on the world’s oceans.

The Internet-based Atlas of the Oceans contains information relevant to sustainable development of the oceans and to the advancement of ocean science. It allows policymakers, resource managers, academics and other experts to access, contribute and continuously update a globally-relevant marine ecosystem information system. To access the Atlas of the Oceans, visit

“NOAA is proud to have been a key contributor in establishing the Atlas,” said Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.), under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “When the Atlas was launched in 2002, we were optimistic that it would significantly enhance public literacy of the world's oceans and five years later we are heartened to see its recognition as a valuable tool.”

The Atlas includes background on the oceans, from how they were formed to their physiology, biology and climatology; the uses of the oceans, from food to shipping, mining and energy; and other ocean issues, such as sustainability, food security and global change. It also includes a geographic dimension to enable users to explore materials for their own region of interest.

Currently the atlas contains more than 4,000 entries on a vast range of themes, ranging from fisheries biology to ocean law, to undersea prospecting for pharmaceuticals to maritime transport and telecommunications. About 100,000 people access the UN Atlas of the Oceans website each month.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with our federal partners and 60 countries to develop a global Earth observation network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.