Tomer Ketter is an explorer. An oceanographer, hydrographic surveyor and technical diver, Tomer has spent his career roaming the oceans, both above and below the surface. He has extensive field experience working with many kinds of vessels, mapping systems, scenarios, and clients, ranging from the esteemed to the extraordinary – a spell at the National Oceanographic Institute of Israel, member of the 2018 Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE winning team, and a role in record breaking expeditions to Challenger Deep and the base of Mauna Kea, to name just a few.
Tomer’s role at SubMerge draws on both his technical expertise and his time in the field. As the lead for seafloor mapping, Tomer is responsible for the development and execution of seafloor mapping operations. This involves acquiring and utilizing the best possible data to assemble a 3D model of the seafloor and the surrounding environment. Used in the expedition planning process, as well as aiding real-time sub navigation, these 3D maps also add an exceptional value to the experience and are made available for use by the rest of the ocean science community. It’s a role that also plays right into his love of discovery:
“I’ve frequently been asked to check if there’s a map of some obscure place…9 out of 10 times there isn’t any information so at some point I figured I should probably just go map those places myself!”
Born with the inner drive to push boundaries, Tomer grew up orienteering, trekking, and mountaineering. At 17 he was persuaded to scuba dive by his brother Ofer and was immediately hooked; his future in and on the water was cemented. After completing a BSc in Marine Sciences, and an MSc in Marine Geosciences, Tomer gained an advanced ocean mapping qualification from GEBCO and a hydrographer certification from the IHO before embarking on an action-packed career. Surveyor and navigator for deep water ROV operations; Hydrographer of the National Oceanographic Institute of Israel; curator of the north Pacific Ocean map for the Seabed 2030 project and member of the NSF Multibeam Advisory Committee; part of Fabien Cousteau’s Proteus initiative in Curacao and Victor Vescovo’s ‘The Five Deeps’ expedition and his world first full ascent of Mauna Kea, are just some of the highlights. In 2018 he embarked on what he considers his greatest adventure – winning the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. He was on the team of GEBCO alumni who bagged the $4M prize for their ‘SEA-KIT’ uncrewed vessel and cloud-based data processing system that allows for rapid seafloor visualization.
Tomer’s working life has been varied, hands-on and experience-driven, perfect for a consummate explorer. In 2020, all these experiences and achievements culminated in Tomer’s involvement in setting up Map the Gaps, a non-profit promoting equity and diversity in ocean mapping projects, and ultimately, his role at SubMerge.
For Tomer, SubMerge is about having a unique offering. With the combination of skills and knowledge that the SubMerge team provide, they have the vision and determination to position themselves as the top provider of expertise in the planning and execution of unique submersible expeditions, with seafloor mapping being a game-changing component.
These days, while not at sea, Tomer can be found combining several of his other passions – rock-climbing, photography, cooking – into a big road trip in his van. What’s next? More adventures of course!
“The spirit of adventure is an integral part of who I am. It symbolizes the curiosity and drive to go places and discover new things, along with the can-do attitude to help solve problems on the ground and combining individual skills and teamwork to make dreams come true.”