The Joint Global Ocean Flux Study is organized into five components: process studies, time series observations, modeling, data management, and global surveys [JGOFS, 1990]. The last of these will consist of large-scale surveys of ocean processes and properties important to the global carbon cycle. The planners of the study decided that, for the immediate future, it would be best to carry out the surveys in cooperation with another global study, the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) in the WOCE Hydrographic Program (WHP). This article aims to promote interest in the global survey, and to provide guidelines for those proposing research along these lines. The WHP is truly comprehensive and will require many investigators over the next several years to complete the survey. Here, we describe the need for a global survey of optical and biooptical properties in the ocean, and identify how these measurements are to be implemented in JGOFS.