Joseph C. Gamble / USF

FL - USF Partners With NOAA to Map the World's Oceans

The University of South Florida's College of Marine Science has entered into a $9 million agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The college of Marine Science, located on USF St. Petersburg's campus, will work with NOAA's Office of Coast Survey through a five-year agreement to launch the Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovative Technologies. The center will be located on USF St. Pete's campus and use new technologies to map ocean and coastal zones.

“This partnership between the University of South Florida and NOAA will enable us to deliver detailed maps of the seafloor in the Gulf of Mexico,” Tom Frazer, dean of the College of Marine Science, said in a statement. “A surprisingly small percentage of the world’s oceans have been adequately mapped. The mapping products generated from this collaborative effort will help us to better understand important ocean processes and sustainably manage the rich array of natural resources found in the Gulf.”

The new center will use technologies such as underwater robots and satellites and autonomous surface vessels to create the ocean maps. Steve Murawski, St. Petersburg's Downtown Partnership-Peter Betzer endowed chair of oceanography and USF professor, will serve as the new center director.

“This [partnership] comes at a crucial time when advances in unmanned systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping us more efficiently and accurately map the seafloor and provide data to inform decisions vital to resource conservation and our national and economic security," Shepard Smith, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, said in a statement.

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