Wreck Sketch Expedition

Data collection for Scapa 100 project

A group of BSAC divers have been collecting data and images to help the Scapa 100 project and plans for 3D models to be created of the iconic Orkney wreck sites, in particular SMS Cöln. 2019 will be the 100th anniversary of the scuttling of the German High Seas fleet at Scapa Flow and a range of projects are in place to mark this centenary reports Andy Hunt, co-author of BSAC’s Expedition Manual and who coordinated the team for last week’s expedition to dive with Halton Charters to collect data for the project.

With the 100th anniversary of Jutland and in a couple of years’ time the 100th anniversary of the scuttling of the German High Seas fleet at Scapa flow, there is a renewed interest in diving the wrecks. The anniversary was not lost on the local Orkney diving community who have created the Scapa 100 project that enables information gathered by visiting divers to be collated and made available to the wider general public. Advances in underwater camera technology and computing power are enabling divers to contribute in many ways that were inconceivable a few years ago.

Steve Jakeway, a BSAC direct member and professional illustrator has been working with the project to develop diver maps of the main wreck sites. During the week of 6th November, a group of BSAC divers has been assisting Steve evaluate the processes to capture information and update and augment the diver sketches from on board the MV Halton. The team have trialled different lighting technics and gathered data to enable 3D models to be created from low cost video and digital cameras owned by many divers.

Alex Bicheno, a member of Stirling University SAC stated “We have some of the best wrecks on our doorstep, and we get the opportunity to use brand new techniques to bring these famous wrecks to life. It’s excellent to be able to do some amazing diving up here and yet be part of a much bigger project”. Bob Anderson from Halton Charters contributed to our case study of the SMS Koln in the BSAC Expedition Manual. Quite a few years on from the release of the manual it is great to learn that BSAC plan to work with the Scapa 100 project again with the SMS Coln as the focus of the work, and be part of the advance team of divers trialling the supporting technology.

Steve Jakeway says “This week has been a great opportunity for the team to learn how best BSAC members can contribute practically to the project. It is interesting to see how some simple aims on the diver to gather small bits of information contribute to a much greater diving experience. BSAC Chair Alexander Warzynski added: “Scapa Flow has been dived by countless hundreds of BSAC members over the year. The Scapa 100 project provides a great focus for future generations to bring history to life”.

More information about the Scapa 100 project
Original article published in BSAC News.