A procedure is proposed for reconciling different scientific priorities within a multi-objective global survey in which the needs of individual participants, their preferred sampling areas and methods, and requirements for treatment and storage of samples, all have to be considered in deciding a common cruise schedule and work plan. The paper proposes a decision-making framework that will help reconcile the individual requirements of each scientific program and its differing objectives within the joint endeavor, through an objective exercise. Negotiation on priority survey areas and stations would be facilitated and focussed by objective information compilation. Priorities of the different parties as to areas to be surveyed can be expressed in the form of separate maps for each program. These can be reconciled within a Geographic Information System (GIS) format, after weighting each by objective criteria ideally prepared by an independent review committee. The combined overlays for each program can be used as a basis for stratified station allocation. The weighting allocated to each of the participating scientific programs should reflect inter alia the degree to which each program’s requirements are in accordance with overall objectives, areas of operation, survey vessel procedures and the joint work of the expedition. The role of historical data in optimizing the impact of the Census of Marine Life, and the needs for the Census to provide adequate baselines for future work, are also discussed.