Mapping the Ocean Floor

Meet Peter Holmberg Physical Scientist. This blog post is a collaborative effort.

Peter was in the middle seat between Mary and me on the plane(my sister likes the aisle, I like the window) from Seattle to Anchorage.

I said he’d be a great subject for my People at Work Series.



I’m going to let him tell you what he does…..

“I work at NOAA’s Pacific Hydrographic Branch as a Lead Physical Scientist.
My job entails mapping the ocean floor and compiling the data to nautical charts.
We use multibeam and side scan sonar for measuring depth and object (like ship wrecks) detection.
Data are processed (tides application, vessel motion correction etc) then refined and generalized to a usable scale on nautical charts as depths, contours and features.  
The link to Office of Coast Survey where you can view or download nautical charts.

Here is a video which is the embodiment of how we use multibeam sonar data to map the ocean floor.  Though this is a laser sensor projected onto sand instead of a sonar bouncing sound off the ocean floor.”


Thanks Peter.  It was so great to meet you. Thanks for writing back with the correct details about your work.  I thought the black and white version made it feel more “seriously scientific” 😉


14 thoughts on “Mapping the Ocean Floor

  1. Such a handsome smile! I see pure joy there. This photograph made me smile. And a physical scientist? As a biologist, I can only sit back admire those involved with the physical sciences.

    • Good plan, eh? he was an exceptionally good sport cause I took his photo with the real camera I had to dig out of my backpack after we deplaned and you know how everyone wants to get where they are going. So nice.

  2. Great post, Ruth, and what luck being seated next to him. My neighbors on a plane usually have me scrambling to find my headphones a few sentences after the helloes.

Thanks for your visit. It's always good to hear you stopped by.