2022 Expedition to Document Historic Shipwrecks
In the summer of 2022, I volunteered for several weeks on a project with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society. We filmed and created numerous 3D Photogrammetry Models of shipwrecks in the Kingston and Picton regions.
These models were created for outreach, education, diver safety and as a “baseline” that gives us a good understanding of the condition of the sites.
This work is very important; for when we document a shipwreck, it gives us a snapshot in time and an inventory of the significant assets. When those assets are catalogued and shared with the public, the social pressures of protection are shifted to the whole diving community. This assists in protecting Canada’s extraordinary marine heritage for generations to come.
Creating 3D photogrammetry models could be renamed to “The art of taking thousands of REALLY bad photos.” Each models requries taking several thousand overlapping pictures that are completly flat and washed out. These images are then colour corrected to look even worse and then imported into advanced modeling software which requires days to process.
To capture the thousands of images needed requires several dives or a team of divers working together to ensure that high resolution photos are taken of each inch of the ship. Since bottom time is limited and these wrecks are over 50 meters long, camera’s are attached to underwater propulsion units (aka scooters) to cover the outer hull efficiently. From there details like the ship’s wheel or anchor’s require a diver to swim slowly while maneuvering the camera in circles around the artifact.
The 2022 expedition team was able to capture images of over two dozen historic shipwrecks in Ontario waters. Below is the schooner Katie Eccles which was launched in 1877 and sunk in 1922. It was the first model that I created together with Ken Merryman and is comprised of 1,651 photos. The interactive link below allows non-divers to explore how she looks today perserved on the bottom of Lake Ontario.