The First Full 3D Scan of the Titanic, Made of More Than 700,000 Images Capturing the Wreck’s Every Detail

Even the most ardent ship­wreck enthu­si­asts among us must make peace with the fact that, in all prob­a­bil­i­ty, we’ll nev­er get to see the Titan­ic for our­selves. But now, at least, we have a sub­sti­tute in the form of the ship’s “dig­i­tal twin,” based on more than 700,000 images col­lect­ed under­wa­ter over 200 hours.“It pro­vides a unique 3D view of the entire ship, enabling it to be seen as if the water has been drained away,” report BBC News’ Rebec­ca Morelle and Ali­son Fran­cis. “The scan was car­ried out in sum­mer 2022 by Mag­el­lan Ltd, a deep-sea map­ping com­pa­ny, and Atlantic Pro­duc­tions, who are mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary about the project.”

You can catch a glimpse of how the scan looks in the clip from the Times at the top of the post, but it only hints at its true lev­el of detail. “The joint mis­sion by Mag­el­lan and Atlantic Pro­duc­tions deployed two sub­mersibles nick­named Romeo and Juli­et to map every mil­lime­ter of the wreck, includ­ing the debris field span­ning some three miles,” writes Ars Techi­ca’s Jen­nifer Ouel­lette.

“The result was a whop­ping 16 ter­abytes of data, along with over 715,000 still images and 4K video footage. That raw data was then processed to cre­ate the 3D dig­i­tal twin. The res­o­lu­tion is so good, one can make out part of the ser­i­al num­ber on one of the pro­pellers.”

“The bow, now cov­ered in sta­lac­tites of rust, is still instant­ly rec­og­niz­able even 100 years after the ship was lost,” write Morelle and Fran­cis. “Sit­ting on top is the boat deck, where a gap­ing hole pro­vides a glimpse into a void where the grand stair­case once stood.” As one might expect, the Titan­ic has come through twelve decades at the bot­tom of the North Atlantic ocean some­what worse for wear, and get­ting worse all the time. “Microbes are eat­ing away at it and parts are dis­in­te­grat­ing. His­to­ri­ans are well aware that time is run­ning out to ful­ly under­stand the mar­itime dis­as­ter.” Indeed, there will come a day when the remains of the Titan­ic will have van­ished com­plete­ly. But even then, its dig­i­tal twin — or, per­haps, dig­i­tal ghost — will have more to teach us.

Relat­ed con­tent:

See the First 8K Footage of the Titan­ic, the High­est-Qual­i­ty Video of the Ship­wreck Yet

Watch the Titan­ic Sink in Real Time in a New 2‑Hour, 40 Minute Ani­ma­tion

Watch 80 Min­utes of Nev­er-Released Footage Show­ing the Wreck­age of the Titan­ic (1986)

How the Titan­ic Sank: James Cameron’s New CGI Ani­ma­tion

The Titan­ic: Rare Footage of the Ship Before Dis­as­ter Strikes (1911–1912)

Titan­ic Sur­vivor Inter­views: What It Was Like to Flee the Sink­ing Lux­u­ry Lin­er

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (18)
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  • Rob T Firefly says:

    Needs more pub­lic acces­si­bil­i­ty of the data. We should all be able to zoom around this thing in our com­put­ers, at least a low­er-res­o­lu­tion ver­sion.

  • Billy says:

    They should bring back thee titan­ic from the ocean and keep it like a trea­sure in the names of those peo­ple who dies is like you are res­cue­ing those lives and put titan­ic in a big muse­um to hon­or those lives I know the titan­ic could break in the inten­tion to take it out from the ocean but is bet­ter than see it deas­api­er in the ocean with the time

  • Anna says:

    No. This should stay exact­ly there. Is the grave for the dead peo­ple and ani­mals who lost their lives there

  • Jason w Brooks says:

    Peo­ple wake up ! That boat is not the Titan­ic ! It’s the Titanic’s twin sis­ter The Olympic. Look it up ! It’s one of the biggest secrets of all time ! There’s a Doc­u­men­tary “The Titan­ic: The Shock­ing Truth” on Prime doc­u­men­taries.

  • Christ lutz says:

    It can’t be brought up. It is falling apart. It’s a grave­yard right where it sits. It would be ter­ri­ble to even attempt it.

  • James says:

    @Jason w Brooks
    Even a minus­cule amount of research will dis­prove this old con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry. Just because it’s blown up on Tik­Tok recent­ly does­n’t make it truth. Very lit­tle on that app is truth to begin with any­way. As for the Prime doc­u­men­tary — It’s an old­er doc­u­men­tary pre­sent­ed by a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist, and is laugh­ably full of errors and over­sights. To address a few: Switch­ing the ships after the Olympic’s col­li­sion with the Hawke would have been impos­si­ble — the pan­el­ing took months to install. Addi­tion­al­ly, the items that have been recov­ered from the Titan­ic’s rest­ing place have all borne the yard num­ber from the Titan­ic, not the Olympic. As for the insur­ance fraud idea — the ship was insured for LESS than it cost to build. Sim­ple math dis­proves that the­o­ry eas­i­ly, as it would have been a cat­a­stroph­ic finan­cial loss, not a gain.

  • Real person says:

    Love it when the bots are out to play. The for­mat­ting, the empha­sis and the actu­al deep care to such a sil­ly trend­ing top­ic?

  • Meredith Helton says:

    It should be left alone. It would fall apart If it the attempt is made to bring it too the sur­face.

  • Darby says:

    Your not smart, we know it’s the Titan­ic. I’ve stud­ied the ship for years and to all those peo­ple who believe the Titan­ic was the Olympic, it isn’t. The port­holes and such don’t even match up. We also know the Titan­ic had a coal fire at one point before sink­ing, and the marks were found on the wreck.

  • Darby says:

    As much as I respect hav­ing the Titan­ic as a gravesite, I feel like rais­ing parts of the wreck for dis­play or a memo­r­i­al would be neat. They could also melt down parts of the wreck­age to make a wall with the names of those who died. If I died on that faith­ful night, I would want my body far from where I was dragged down into those icy depths. Though they also say there’s no bod­ies by the Titan­ic, I believe there may be some sealed deep with­in that cold steel hull.

  • Mark says:

    You can’t bring things that have been that far under­wa­ter for that long to the sur­face, they dis­in­te­grate. It’s not a risk, it’s a guar­an­tee.

  • Rebecca Tucker says:

    I agree know­ing what hap­pened on that night that the unsink­able sunk would be a great dis­cov­ery. Also, get­ting a full dig­i­tal like your of it’s remains is intrigu­ing; but don’t take the risk of destroy­ing what’s left of her. Espe­cial­ly, if it’s a guar­an­tee that she will dis­in­te­grate. Let her and all the lives lost in that cold night rest in peace. I have always been very intised by the “his­to­ry” of the Titan­ic. I am sure that many peo­ple to come will be very inter­est­ed in the “true” sto­ry of that faith­ful night she went down. And who knows we may final­ly get to know in detail every­thing that hap­pened lead­ing up to her going down. God rest all the souls lost on that cold night..

  • Keith Post says:

    Noth­ing left of bod­ies nature took its course. They should raise it just like they looked at the wreck­age from 911. The remain­ing fam­i­lies deserve full clo­sure on what hap­pened that night.

  • Jennifer Pritchett says:

    Hope u knw that I watch titan­ic and I have noticed it was the Olympic cause they could­n’t build titan­ic the (orig­i­nal) so who’s the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry now!!!!!!!

  • Simon holdsworth says:

    You can­not raise her, it’s 5 miles down, mak­ing it impos­si­ble.

  • Colton Gracioso says:

    Are you stu­pid? Nei­ther ship crashed, the gov­ern­ment is feed­ing us fake images of the wreck. Those peo­ple on board were used for exper­i­ments.

  • Brando says:

    dude, no

  • Nathan says:

    She is 2 ½ miles and the state of her wreck is what makes it impos­si­ble aswell as the pub­lic

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