András DUTKÓ
Gazetteer and Electronic Atlas of the World Ocean
PhD theses


The first chapter of the dissertation reviews the scientific research of our department on cartographical representation of marine areas and seafloor.
The second chapter discusses two different systems of natural geographical regions of the World Ocean. The first regional system is based upon the position of shorelines and islands; it divides the area of the World Ocean into oceans, subordinate seas, marginal seas and coastal seas. The other regional system is based upon the relief of seafloor; it delimits the main area of the oceans and 22 subordinate seas, which in turn are divided into basic relief regions, superregions, regions and smaller relief features.
The third chapter deals with the international and Hungarian practice of denominating undersea relief features. It gives a detailed list of main undersea feature types, gives definition for each type, and reviews the generic terms that are used for each type in sources in different languages. It makes a proposal on Hungarian generic terms that should be used in Hungarian texts and maps for each undersea feature type.
The fourth chapter discusses types of specific terms used in undersea feature names in English and other languages. For important features, that did not have any denomination so far, it proposes new English names. It makes propositions on specific terms that should be used in Hungarian names of undersea features (in which cases should be specific terms adopted without change, translated into Hungarian or changed with entirely new elements). It gives a detailed review of orthographical problems of Hungarian names (writing names in one word, in separated words or hyphenated, using minuscules or majuscules, etc.)
The fifth chapter reviews the cartographic methods used in electronical maps attached to the dissertation, their preparation and the softwares used.
The sixth chapter is about our future plans of further enlarging of the electronical atlas.
The electronical maps attached to the dissertation include the limits of marine regions and units of the regional system of seafloor, their denominations in different languages and their proposed Hungarian names.


More than two thirds of the surface of our Earth is covered by sea. Geology and relief of the seafloor is as diversified as that of the territory of continents. In spite of this fact, in the popular education or in publications destined for the general public, until recently we hardly could find any information on seafloor topography. However, nowadays there is widespread interest on this field of science throughout the world.
Hungary is a landlocked country situated in great distance from the sea. However, tasks of mapmakers are not confined to the cartographical representation of their own country. Hungarian cartographers must represent oceans, seas and surfaces covered by sea on maps, just like deserts, high mountains and regions of recent volcanism.
The goal of this work is, on the one hand, to achieve an electronic map series representing the limits of oceans and seas and the relief of the seafloor in a uniform way; on the other hand, to establish a consistent Hungarian nomenclature system of undersea geographical names.
My work was assisted by the International Cartographic Association (ICA) and the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA). I maintain contact with the International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB). On the International Cartographic Conference in Durban, 2003, I presented my results to the ICA's Commission on Marine Cartography.


During my doctoral work, I have compiled two different systems of physical geographical regions of marine areas.
The first system is based upon the position of shorelines and islands; it divides the area of the World Ocean into oceans, subordinate seas, marginal seas and coastal seas.
The other system of geographical regions is based upon the relief of seafloor. Within the area of the World Ocean, it delimits the main area of oceans and the area of the 22 subordinate seas surrounded by topographical barriers; these are themselves divided into basic relief regions (shelves, continental slopes and deep-sea floor), superregions, regions and smaller relief features. Basic relief regions, superregions and regions all cover the whole undersea surface of the Earth without any gap.
A significant proportion of superregions and regions was not defined formerly, and I could not find any denominations of them in the literature. Following the international principles of denominating undersea features, I constructed new English names for these regions and superregions.

Catalogue of Undersea Feature Names

In order to compile a consistent Hungarian nomenclature, I had to make a detailed study of the international and Hungarian practice of denominating undersea features. Therefore, combining the names found in different gazetteers and map systems, I compiled a database that contains the names of approximately 5000 undersea relief features in different languages. Most of the names are English, but there are also a lot of Russian, German, French and other names. In many cases, there are several different names for the same feature from the same language.
Most names used in physical geography, including names of undersea features, consist of a generic term and a specific term; in Hungarian names, the specific term precedes the generic term. It is desirable that generic terms used in names always correspond to the type of the undersea feature the name is used for. For this reason, I give a summary of the undersea feature types and of the generic terms used for each type in English, Russian, German and French sources. I made propositions on the Hungarian generic terms those should be used for each undersea feature type. I aspired to propose short and readily understandable generic terms originating in the Hungarian language.
I made a survey on the principles of choosing a specific term for an undersea feature name, on the denomination practice and name types of undersea features. I mentioned some name types that do not follow the internationally accepted denomination rules.
I elaborated the principles for choosing the specific term for undersea feature names to be used on Hungarian maps (adoption of the foreign term without change, translation of the term, construction of a completely new term). I express an opinion that completely Hungarian names should be used in more frequent cases than they were formerly used.
I discussed the orthographical problems related to the Hungarian names of undersea features (using of affix -i, majuscules and minuscules, writing geographical names in one word, in several words or hyphenated).

Cartographical Representation

The results of my work are represented in the form of an electronic map series. This map series consists of two parts: one part represents the regional system based upon the position of shorelines; the other part demonstrates the relief of seafloor.
The part representing the regional system based upon the position of shorelines consists of eight map sheets; these sheets delineate the four great oceans and the most complicated marine areas (Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Caribbean Sea, the archipelagoes of Southeast Asia). The limits of marine entities of different levels are represented with different line types. There are data records attached to each polygon containing the limits of a marine region; these records contain the names of the regions in different languages, and their place in the regional system.
The part that demonstrates the relief of seafloor consists of four map sheets; these sheets represent the four great oceans (Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Arctic Ocean). The relief of continents and seafloor is demonstrated with hypsometric and bathymetric colouration. The maps contain polygons corresponding to the approximate limits of undersea topographical superregions, regions and smaller features. There are data records attached to each polygon; each record contains the place of the region or undersea feature in the hierarchical regional system, its name versions in different languages, and its Hungarian name that I consider as adequate.


1. I compiled a hierarchical regional system for marine areas. This system clearly distinguishes different types of seas, that are connected to the oceans in different degree (subordinate seas separated from the central part of the ocean by island arcs or peninsulas, marginal seas open to the central part of the ocean, and coastal seas consisting of sounds and inlets among islands).
2. I arranged a hierarchical multilevel regional system for undersea relief features. This system consists of the levels of seas, basic relief regions, superregions, regions and smaller relief features.
3. In the regional system of undersea relief features, I treat the area of the four great oceans as a single unit; as these oceans cannot be delimited on the basis of undersea relief, I do not construct artificial limits between them.
4. For some regional units of undersea relief, no denominations can be found in the literature. Other features, situated in international waters, are only denominated in the language of the expedition that discovered them and they have no English name. For these features, I constructed new English names that meet the denomination principles of the IHB. This practice was accepted by Mr Ron Linton, former chairman of the ICA Commission on Marine Cartography.
5. As Hungarian generic terms for superregions of continental shelves and slopes, I introduced the terms főself and főlejtő.
6. On translation of specific terms of undersea feature names, I expressed the opinion, that specific terms should be translated into Hungarian if they are directly related to any geographical feature, object, living creature, person or concept, that have a simple and well-known Hungarian denomination. Specific terms originating in names of ships should not be translated. Determining the origin of specific terms can be helped by the fact that features situated close to each other often have names of similar origin (features named after scientists, constellations etc.)
7. In contrast to the former practice, I suggest that descriptive names should be translated (the Hungarian name of Horseshoe Seamounts should be Patkó-fenékhegycsoport).
8. I suggest that some partially Hungarian names, widely used in Hungarian cartography, but not corresponding to the above mentioned translation principles, should be substituted by entirely Hungarian names (Császár-fenékhegyvidék, Bálna-hátság instead of Emperor-fenékhegyvidék, Walvis-hátság).
9. In the case of some meaningless names, I suggest that the Hungarian name should contain entirely new elements, instead of translating the English name mechanically (the Hungarian name of Central Basin in the Barents Sea should be Központi-Barents-selfmedence).
10. I have recognized three main types of names referring to cardinal points (Keleti-Bradelle-selfvölgy, Nyugat-európai-medence, Keleti-Scotia-medence).
11. Instead of positioning undersea features with the coordinates of one or a few point, I give their position in cartographical form, representing their limits graphically as exactly as it is possible on a map of this scale.


Dutkó A. - Márton M.: A tengerfenék domborzatának bemutatása multimédiás módszerekkel (Representation of undersea relief by multimedia methods). In: Studia Cartologica, Vol. 12., 55.-65. pp. Budapest, 2002.
Dutkó A.: Az óceánfenék többszintű tájbeosztása (Multi-regional classification of the ocean floor). In: Földrajzi Közlemények, Vol. 126. (50.), 2002/1.-4., 118.-129. pp. Budapest, 2003.