The First Full 3D Scan of the Titanic, Made from Over 700,000 Images that Capture Every Detail of the Shipwreck
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The First Full 3D Scan of the Titanic, Made from Over 700,000 Images that Capture Every Detail of the Shipwreck

Even the most ardent shipwreck enthusiasts among us have to come to terms with the fact that, in all likelihood, we’ll never see the shipwreck. Giant For ourselves. But now, at least, we have a replacement in the form of a “digital twin” of the ship, based on more than 700,000 images collected underwater over 200 hours. it was as if the water had been drained,” reported Rebecca Morelle and Alison Francis of BBC News. “Scans were conducted in the summer of 2022 by Magellan Ltd, a deep-sea mapping company, and Atlantic Productions, who made a documentary about the project.”

You can preview the scan view in the clip from Time at the top of the post, but only hinting at the actual level of detail. “The joint mission by Magellan and Atlantic Productions deployed two subs dubbed Romeo and Juliet to map every millimeter of the wreck, including a debris field that spanned about three miles,” wrote Jennifer Ouellette of Ars Techica.

β€œThe result is 16 terabytes of data, along with more than 715,000 still images and 4K video footage. The raw data is then processed to create a 3D digital counterpart. The resolution is so good, one can see part of the serial number on one of the propellers.”

β€œThe prow, now covered in rust stalactites, is still instantly recognizable even 100 years after the ship went missing,” write Morelle and Francis. “Seating above is the ship’s deck, where a gaping hole affords a glimpse into the void where the grand staircase once stood.” As expected, the Giant has passed twelve decades at the bottom of the North Atlantic ocean somewhat worse to wear, and getting worse all the time. β€œMicrobes eat it and the parts disintegrate. Historians are well aware that time is running out for a full understanding of maritime disasters.” Indeed, there will come a day when the remains of Giant will be completely lost. However, his digital double β€” or, perhaps, digital ghost β€” will have a lot more to teach us.

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Based in Seoul, Colin MArsall writes and broadcastst about the city, language and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter book about cities, book The City Without a State: A Journey through 21st Century Los Angeles and video series City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarsall or on Facebook.

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