Unlocking mystery of the deep: Looe Key reef getting a road map
A college class is bringing the underwater world of Looe Key to a 3D map that points out places of interest.
BY CAMMY CLARK
LOOE KEY — Equipped with floating GPS units, side scan sonar and waterproof paper, college students dove 25 feet down into an underwater classroom with a pioneering assignment: create a three-dimensional, interactive map of a reef.
When completed, the map will show both the contour and biological life on Looe Key reef, considered one of the most beautiful dive sites in the world.
”It’s the first time this type of project has been done in the Keys,” said Patrick Rice, director of marine sciences at the Florida Keys Community College.
Just as a tourist map of Key West marks Ernest Hemingway’s House and the Southernmost Point, the portion of Looe Key mapped by Rice’s class will highlight points of interest such as spectacular coral head formations and known hangouts for Goliath grouper and other territorial sea creatures.