Fly Over the Seafloor of San Francisco Bay

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Detailed Description

Virtual fly-through of San Francisco Bay revealing the seafloor as if the water was drained from the Bay. The movie flies through the south and central Bay, pausing over prominent seafloor features including, large sand waves, rock pinnacles, current scour pits, as well as many human impacts on the seafloor.


Team: USGSPacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, NOAA, California State University, Monterey Bay

Relevance: The high-resolution bathymetry data displayed in this virtual fly-through helps researchers and coastal zone managers map changes on the seafloor, determine sediment pathways, uncover shipping hazards, as well as map seafloor geology and benthic habitats.

Method: Publically available bathymetry data from various sources were imported into a Geographic Information System (GIS) and combined with onshore Digital Elevations Models (DEM's) and Digital Ortho-Photo Quads (DOQ's). The flight path and movie were created using the Fledermaus software package (QPC).

Start Year: 2009

End Year: 2009

Year Comp: 2009

Date Taken:

Length: 04:04:00

Location Taken: San Francisco, CA, US


USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Seafloor Mapping

Under the Golden Gate Bridge—Views of the Sea Floor Near the Entrance to San Francisco Bay, California
USGS Scientific Investigations Map 2917 shows views of the sea floor in west-central San Francisco Bay around Alcatraz and Angel Islands, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, and through its entrance from the Pacific Ocean. The sea floor is portrayed as a shaded relief surface generated from the multibeam data color-coded for depth from light blues for the shallowest values to purples for the deepest. The land regions are portrayed by USGS digital orthophotographs (DOQs) overlaid on USGS digital elevation models (DEMs). The water depths have a 4x vertical exaggeration while the land areas have a 2x vertical exaggeration.


Silent animation that shows what the bottom of San Francisco Bay looks like, as if the water has been drained out. Islands and other features are labeled and can be seen as the animation zooms into various locations around the Bay.