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Session: Ocean S.T.E.A.M.™ - Ocean Mapping (UNB) (Huntsman Marine Science Centre)

Ocean S.T.E.A.M.™ - Ocean Mapping (UNB)

By: Huntsman Marine Science Centre

About this Program:

  • Overnight Camp
  • Age 15 - 18 (Coed)
  • Specialized in STEAM and Engineering, offers 9 activities
  • 0 session dates to choose from
  • Cost starting from $495
  • Busing not available
  • Special needs support not available


1 Lower Campus Road, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, E5B 2L7


Offered in partnership with the University of New Brunswick (UNB)

Ocean Mapping with Dr. Ian Church

Our world is primarily covered in water, yet the ocean remains one of the last unexplored frontiers on our planet, with only a small percentage of it mapped to modern standards. Knowledge of the three-dimension shape, structure and materials that make up this under-explored area is the foundation of nearly all other ocean sciences. However, collecting ocean mapping is challenging and requires complex sonar systems that operate from ocean-going vessels. This course will explore the theory, tools, and applications of mapping the ocean floor using sonar. Students will get hands-on experience with various sonar systems and experience ocean data collection. Activities during the week will engage students with engineering and science principles, marine robotics, and modern software to create 3D maps of the ocean floor.

Example Career Connections: Geomatics Engineer, Hydrographer, Geophysicist, Oceanographer, Marine Robotics Technologist

Day 1
May 29, Sunday
Introduction. Orientation.

Registration opens at 4:30 p.m. at Anderson House, on the Huntsman Upper Campus with check-in and room assignment. Supper is served starting at 5:30 p.m. and the group will eat together. After supper, there will be an introduction to the program, instructors, participants, general safety and other Huntsman rules followed by a tour of the campus and teaching labs.

Day 2
May 30, Monday
(low tide 7:01 a.m. – 0.81 m) Ocean mapping applications. Boat trip.
(breakfast, lunch, supper)

After breakfast, students will come to the lab to learn about the applications of Ocean Mapping and why it is essential to understand the world beneath the oceans. After discussing the applications, students will be introduced to the technology of ocean mapping. After lunch, we will head down to the St. Andrews Town Wharf, where the Huntsman Fundy Spray Research Vessel is docked. After a short safety talk, we will head out to collect ocean mapping sonar data to explore the secrets of the Passamaquoddy Bay and see the equipment in action. Students will get hands-on experience with equipment and software to survey the ocean floor. The boat trip is about four hours. We will take a supper break at 5:30 p.m. to refresh our bodies before returning to a discussion about the data collected during the boat trip.

Day 3
May 31, Tuesday
(low tide 7:42 a.m. – 0.89m) Open Sonar Project. Tour of Huntsman Fundy Discovery Aquarium.
(breakfast, lunch, supper)

We will start the day with an introductory discussion of how the pieces of a sonar system work together to map the seafloor. We will then apply that theory to build a simple sonar system on a small remote-control vessel. We will explore the individual pieces of equipment, discuss data communication, and establish how we record the data. After lunch, we will take a tour of the Huntsman Fundy Discovery Aquarium. We will continue to explore, plan, and assemble our sonar systems for the rest of the afternoon. Supper is at 5:30 p.m., and we will finalize the assembly and testing of the sonar vessels that evening.

Day 4
June 1, Wednesday
(low tide 8:21 a.m. – 0.99 m) Data collection. Data processing.
(breakfast, lunch, supper)

We will spend the morning testing our vessels and collecting sonar data in the field. After lunch, we will download the collected sonar data, evaluate how the system worked, and design solutions for improvements. We will discuss how to turn sonar data into depth information and what corrections and other information are needed to create a seafloor map. Supper is at 5:30 p.m. In the evening, students will create maps of the 3D seabed mapping data collected that day.

Day 5
June 2, Thursday
(low tide 8:59 a.m. – 1.09 m) Data visualization.(breakfast, lunch, supper)

This day starts with a recap of yesterday's exercise and a discussion of how it can be expanded to more advanced sonar systems and applications. We will take a closer look at the sonar data collected on the Fundy Spray during Day 2 using more advanced techniques. We will apply what we learned during the week to use advanced processing software to correct, evaluate, and analyze the seabed mapping data. The product will be a full 3D seafloor model. We will explore the 3D seabed model and discuss ways to display the data, what it represents, identify problems, and consider the limitations of the data. We will spend the evening creating a presentation of the 3D seabed model using different visualization techniques.

Day 6
June 3, Friday
(low tide 9:37 a.m. – 1.18 m) Presentations. Clean Lab. Group photo. Depart☹

On our last morning, we are all curious to hear what everyone has learned. Informally students will present their 3D maps of the ocean floor. After this, we will return all of the pieces and clean up. Lastly, we will take a group picture before the final farewell as we go our separate ways.

Character Development: This program helps build the following traits

  • Independence: Explore your interests with like-minded students from across the country and learn from experts in their field. Gain mentorship and develop new skillsets in the field as you enter the marine environment every day!
  • Curiosity: Provides a unique learning environment for students to thrive as they enter the field of study to gain insight into career paths they might not have known existed.

Session Dates and Rates:

Date TBD
St Andrews, NB
1 Lower Campus Road

Time TBD
Cost TBD


Recreational       Instructional       Intense or Competitive

Marine Biology
Public Speaking
Recreational       Instructional       Intense or Competitive

Mapping the Ocean Floor
Students will get hands-on experience with various sonar systems and experience ocean data collection.


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Ocean S.T.E.A.M.™ - Ocean Mapping (UNB)
Contact name:
Huntsman Marine Science Centre

Phone number:
(506) 529-1200

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