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People who make charts and maps are called cartographers.

Making pictures of the sea floor is the science of hydrography.

Hydro means water.
Graph means to make a picture of something.


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The NOAA ship Rainier
The NOAA Ship Rainier has special equipment to map the sea floor.

How Do We Map the Sea Floor?

It is easy to see what is on land.

It is much harder to look at the bottoms of lakes, rivers, canals, and oceans.

To make a map of the sea floor, a ship goes out and does a special survey called a hydrographic survey.

Did you know?

NOAA survey ships.

NOAA operates four full-time hydrographic survey ships and several smaller boats.

The NOAA ships Rainier and Fairweather survey in Alaska and the Pacific Ocean, and the ships Rude (say Rudy) and Thomas Jefferson survey in the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast.

Click here for more information on NOAA survey ships and the NOAA fleet.

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