University of South Florida

USF College of Marine Science


USF marine scientists launch first mission to map Tampa Bay’s vulnerable coastal areas using remotely operated ‘uncrewed’ vessel

USF Marine Science Floor Mapping Mission. Shown here is the uncrewed surface vessel operated by SeaTrac.

USF Marine Science Floor Mapping Mission. Shown here is the uncrewed surface vessel operated by SeaTrac.

Media Contact:
Matt Cimitile
813-368-9560 (cell)


Media are invited on Dec. 9 at 9 a.m. to see the latest generation of robotic marine technology in action and hear from experts on how this mission will improve coastal resiliency in Florida

WHAT: University of South Florida marine scientists are leading an academic-federal-private enterprise partnership that will deploy a remotely operated ‘uncrewed’ vessel to map complex, coastal seafloor areas of interest in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Along with the robotic vessel with acoustic sensors, this mission will utilize laser-based sensors mounted on airplanes and satellite-derived data to develop high-resolution maps of the region’s coastal zone to inform everything from storm surge forecasting to maritime safety to protecting cultural resources, such as shipwrecks.

There is global, national, and statewide interest in developing high-resolution maps of coastal areas.  However, more than 50 percent of our nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) remains unmapped, and surveying shallow waters is particularly challenging. This new technology will begin to address those challenges.

The mission team, led by the Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovative Technologies (COMIT) at the USF College of Marine Science (USF CMS), will hold a media opportunity for reporters, who will then be invited to view the uncrewed surface vessel in action and see the mission control lab inside. Supportive visual media (maps, video, imagery, infographic) will be available as will experts from the company SeaTrac, who built and operate the robotic vessel.

WHEN: 9 a.m. on Thursday, December 9.

WHERE:  The media availability will take place in front of the R/V WT Hogarth research vessel near the USF College of Marine Science. To get there, enter 830 1st St. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701 into a GPS.  When arriving at the intersection of 8th Ave and 1st St. SE, take a left onto 8th Ave at the stop sign. Then take the first right onto E. Peninsula Dr.  The R/V Hogarth is docked behind the buildings.  A map is available here.


About the University of South Florida

The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at

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Mission Statement

Our blue planet faces a suite of challenges and opportunities for understanding and innovation. Our mission is to advance understanding of the interconnectivity of ocean systems and human-ocean interactions using a cross-disciplinary approach, to empower the next workforce of the blue economy with a world-class education experience, and to share our passion for a healthy environment and science-informed decision-making with community audiences near and far.