Digital Shipwreck Documentation in Northwestern Ontario

Latest update November 29, 2018 Started on October 15, 2018
sea

From intact vessels, to sunken shipwrecks, this project hopes to generate digital models from artifacts associated with northwestern Ontario's maritime heritage. By using a multidisciplinary approach, our team hopes to provide local researchers with the ability to assess maritime artifacts from a unique perspective.

October 15, 2018
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In The Field

As winter begins to take shape in northern Ontario, local researchers have begun to experiment with consumer-grade technology for documenting local shipwrecks. Since this project has a minimal budget, the use of expensive “professional-grade” equipment (ROV’s, cameras, sonar systems) is impractical. Instead, to create our virtual tours and 360˚ models, our team is hoping to use more practical techniques to help mitigate the cost of acquiring the digital information. Such methods include the use of action cameras and consumer-grade ROV’s (Open Source ROV, or the Gladius by Chasing Innovation),


The video below was captured last winter during a pool session with the Department of Natural Resources (Lakehead University) and the Gladius ROV.

Preparation

Originally built in Port Arthur (Thunder Bay ON) in 1959, the Alexander Henry was utilized as an icebreaker and buoy tender by the Canadian Coast Guard. After the vessels retirement in 1984, the Alexander Henry became a museum ship for the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston, ON. In 2017, the Alexander Henry returned home to Thunder Bay after the Lakehead Transportation Museum Society purchased the vessel for $2.


In October (2018), researchers from Lakehead University began to document the museum ship with a Ricoh 360 degree camera. The aim for this research is:

1) To determine if virtual technology can be used to create tours for people with accessibility issues.

2) To examine the methodology for its potential use on shipwrecks within Lake Superior.

3) To raise awareness of Northwestern Ontario's maritime heritage.

Pictured is Alex Bilyk from the Natural Resources Department and CARIS Lab at Lakehead University. Photo credit goes to me, Chris McEvoy, research archaeologist and former MES graduate from LU.

Follow the link below to see a segment of the virtual tour.

Thanks for Following!

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This is a great project! I can't wait to see the shipwrecks you document. What software did you use to create that virtual tour?

Expedition Background

From an archaeological perspective, little attention has been given to northwestern Ontario's maritime history. In fact, only a handful of underwater archaeological projects have occurred in an area that is rich in wrecks, artifacts, and history.


Starting in October (2018), various 3D methods will be used to acquire data from ships and wrecks found in Lake Superior, as well as Ontario's many inland lakes. With 3D technology becoming increasingly available, our mission is to develop a vast digital catalogue representing the regions maritime past.

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