Why seafloor mapping helps us watch Netflix
Friday, January 18, 2019
Dr. Katleen Robert

Dr. Katleen Robert

Planning to stream your favourite show on Netflix, Crave or Amazon Prime? Seafloor mapping helps to make it possible.

Underwater fibre-optic cables transmit 99 per cent of internet and telecommunications data that crosses continents – and finding the best routes to install the first trans-Atlantic cables was one of the first incentive to start mapping the deeper portions of our ocean.

The School of Ocean Technology is hosting an evening on seafloor mapping with the Marine Institute’s first Canada Research Chair, Dr. Katleen Robert, who will make a presentation on the topic: Why seafloor mapping helps us watch Netflix.

Dr. Robert will also take part in a panel discussion on the importance of seafloor mapping to our daily lives facilitated by Paul Brett, head of the School of Ocean Technology. As well, Marine Institute students will provide first-hand accounts of their mapping projects and experiences at sea.

The event takes place from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Marine Institute’s campus on 155 Ridge Road, St. John’s. More details are available online.

The panel members include:

Dr. Robert’s research focuses on mapping over time the spatial complexity of the ocean from the seafloor to the surface. This mapping data supports marine spatial management decisions and the sustainable use of marine resources.

In her presentation, she will also explain there is more to seafloor mapping than installing fibre-optic cable.

“The seafloor is really far from you and you probably never think about it, but it does have some impact on your life,” said Dr. Robert.

“By collecting seafloor data we are actually informing quite a few different things. It’s not just cable laying – this data is also helpful for fisheries, marine protected areas, marine spatial management, oil and gas extraction and eventually seabed mining. So, all of these things all benefit from mapping the seafloor.”

The bathymetric map below shows a portion of the seafloor around Newfoundland and Labrador. The shallow waters of the continental shelf are shown in copper. Source: GEBCD

Bathymetric Map