Using sonar imaging, and 100,000 photos from taken by submersibles, an expedition team put together a digital map of the Titanic, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ships ill-fated voyage. The study was conducted by RMS Titanic Inc., the legal custodian of the wreck, in tandem with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Waitt Institute.
Parks Stephenson, Titanic historian, states that study of previous image maps of the ship was akin to "trying to navigate a dark room with a weak flashlight." Stephenson adds, "with the sonar map, it's like suddenly the entire room lit up and you can go from room to room with a magnifying glass and document it. Nothing like this has ever been done for the Titanic site."
Exact details of the new findings will be revelaed in a 2-hour special on the History Channel, airing April 15th. The team utilized two autonomous underwater robots, equipped with side-scan sonar, to map the wreckage along a grid, moving at roughly 3 miles per hour. The robots also snapped about 130,000 pictures, to build a photo mosaic of the debris. "When you look at the sonar map, you can see exactly what happened," said Paul-Henry Nargeolet, the expedition's co-leader with RMS Titanic Inc.
Dirk Hoogstra, a senior vice president at the History Channel states, "we've got this vision of the entire wreck that no one has ever seen before. Because we have, we're going to be able to reconstruct exactly how the wreck happened. It's groundbreaking, jaw-dropping stuff."
In related news, James Cameron, director of the Oscar-winning Titanic movie, is set to explore the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the world's oceans.