Thanks to marine archaeologists who are donning their wet-suits to dive in the Lake Huron and cutting-edge 3D imaging technique, we now have 3D images of shipwrecks lying on its bottom.
These treasure trove for researchers and the wide public alike are not really accessible except to experienced divers. Still, without the appropriate tech equipment, they remained a sight for few to enjoy.
Cutting edge imaging technology from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is being used to bring the shipwrecks in the 4,300 square miles Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary back to life.
All footage and data collected by the research team supported by the state of Michigan is being fed into a software that renders the astonishing images of the shipwrecks in 3D. The project is a premiere in a way. However, the researchers have been snapping images and shooting videos of the historical treasure found hundreds of feet below the surface for years. Their work gained the extra-edge it needed as the new technology came to them.
Creating high-quality 3D images that capture the intricacies of the shipwrecks accurately and rapidly isn’t an easy job, despite the fun. Financial and time restrictions require the scientists to be quick, precise and good divers. Diving to over 130 feet depths with the tech at hand, the researchers are now capable to assess every wreck and monitor any slight change in their state.
Joe Hoyt who is in charge of the imaging equipment as well as for photogrammetry as the technique is scientifically coined, declared:
“This is the first project we’ve really rolled it out on. The cool thing about this is it’s photo-realistic but it’s also perfect 3D, so you’re seeing all sides of it.”
With precise scaling and a short developing time frame, photogrammetry is the perfect tool for monitoring and measuring the most minute detail of the shipwrecks found in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
The latest expedition on which the research team embarked was aboard the environmental research vessel Storm. Sailing in expanded territory of the sanctuary, in the vicinity of Canada, the team chose eight dive sites.
The bounty was abundant. Defiance, Windiate and Spangler, three 19th century schooners were imaged with the aid of photogrammetry. To their excitement Hoyt and his team found all three shipwrecks very well preserved.
The better preserved, the better 3D images they get. Defiance is a 19th century schooner that measures 110 feet in length. In 1854 it sunk in the sanctuary after a collision with another ship, John J. Audubon. As Hoyt described it in its state of perfect conservation:
“a storybook wreck, what you’d imagine a shipwreck to look like but never is”.
Photo Credits: fourthelement.com