An underwater mapping company has completed the first full-size digital scan of the Titanic, revealing an entirely new view of the world’s most famous wreck.
The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 captured the public imagination for more than a century. And although there have been numerous expeditions to the wreck since its discovery in 1985, its gigantic size and remote position – some 3,800 meters underwater and 740 kilometers off Newfoundland, Canada – made a full view of the wreckage almost impossible.
But that was before. Using technology developed by Magellan Ltd., scientists were able to map the Titanic in its entirety, from its bow and stern sections (which separated after the sinking) to its debris field of 5 by 8 kilometers. The result is an accurate “digital twin” of the wreckage, Atlantic Productions, the project’s media partner, said in a press release.
“What we have created is a very accurate photorealistic 3D model of the wreckage,” says 3D capture specialist Gerhard Seiffert. “Previous images were only able to see a small area of the wreckage at a time. This model will allow people to zoom in and see the whole thing for the first time…It’s the Titanic like no one else ‘has never seen.”
Magellan calls this project the largest underwater scanning project in history: “We believe this data is about ten times larger than any underwater 3D model that has ever been attempted before,” said Richard Parkinson, founder and CEO of Magellan.
Experts in Titanic history and underwater exploration hail the model as an invaluable research tool. They believe it could help scientists and historians solve some of the ship’s lingering mysteries – and learn more about other underwater sites.
Scientists spent six weeks capturing scans of the site, using technology Magellan says it developed over five years. The expedition deployed two submarines, named Romeo and Juliet, approximately 3,800 meters below the surface to map every millimeter of the wreck site. They did not enter the interior of the vessel, let alone touch the site, in accordance with existing regulations.
Scientists spent months processing and rendering the data to create the “digital twin”, which the company is happy to share publicly.