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Seafloor Mapping Seminar

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During the week of July 24th, Dave Nichols (WHFC) traveled to Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) in Wilmington, North Carolina, to present a one-week seminar on seafloor mapping techniques to 40 graduating Marine Science majors. Students who graduate from this two-year technical program earn an Associate's Degree in Applied Science. Dave graduated from this program in 1976 and serves on the Marine Advisory Board that deals with course curriculum and program issues.

The one-week seminar focused on side-scan sonar data acquisition using an Edgetech DF 1000 dual frequency instrument. Data were collected using the ISIS Data Acquisition System. Students were given a one-and-a-half day lecture on seafloor mapping techniques and ground truthing techniques using the USGS Seafloor Mapping CD and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin CD as guidelines. Two full days were spent on the Cape Fear River collecting sidescan sonar data.

An added bonus for the students was a one-day visit from an industry representative from EPC Labs, Mr. Ted Curley. EPC labs designed a new general purpose thermal plotter that acts as a transceiver for all the old analog style sidescan instruments as well as a thermal plotter. Students were able to open up the EPC GP1086 and were allowed to interface their old Klein side- scan system with the new technology. This exercise gave students an idea of how industry and federal agencies work together to produce products that benefit many organizations conducting seafloor mapping.

Students were trained in shipboard equipment mobilization, logistical support, equipment operation, data integrity, troubleshooting, etc. Four groups of 10 students each were taken out for half-day cruises on the river. Several interesting targets such as a sunken Civil War era paddle wheel vessel and sunken "cyprus logs" were located. Students annotated logs and operated the system while aboard the CFCC research catamaran Martek. The ship's navigational instrumentation was interfaced with the USGS data acquisition system, providing the students with a "real life" technical challenge.

CFCC regularly graduates between 30-40 marine technicians who then become involved in many areas of the marine industry. Some go to work for NOAA, some go on to earn a four-year degree, some work for commercial or industrial marine companies as lab technicians, and others work in the oil and gas field in the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the students had seen sidescan instrumentation prior to this seminar, but none had seen what USGS accomplishes with its seafloor-mapping expertise. The instructors at CFCC plan to use the USGS Seafloor-Mapping Web Page for further instruction and review.

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Recovery of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley

Crater Lake Mapping

Lake Erie Nearshore Habitat

Channel Islands

Pinnacles Area—Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Maine

Outreach Seafloor Mapping Seminar

Meetings Ocean Science Forums

Blacks in Government

SF Bay Oil-Spill Hazards

Gas Hydrates

Staff & Center News Presentations



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