Stolt 3D

Welcome to the Stolt3D Expedition! 

Here, you can find the latest updates to the expedition, scheduled events, resources & results, livestreams, and more. 

Join our team as digital crew:  follow us on YouTube, Twitch, & Sketchfab, and sign-up below for email updates!

Your information will not be shared, and will be deleted after the expedition unless you specifically ask to receive future updates.


BTS 2023 update - the slides from our Spring 2023 project update are posted! 

Below, you can find the presentation video, and also a PDF export of the panel slides.  Coming soon, the model chunk exports will also be posted on Sketchfab. Enjoy!

Stolt3D - Modern Digital Shipwreck Survey - Project Update 20230326 - Shared Slides.pdf

Crew Roster

Christopher Survey & ROV Ops., Director

Mike Photographer, Survey Team 

John Navigator, Survey Team

Larry Photographer, Survey Team

Chuck Safety Diver, Survey Team

Olga Photographer, Survey Team

Renata Safety Diver, Survey Team

Joe Photographer, Survey Team

Tracy Safety Diver, Survey Team

Steve Video, Dive Voyager Expeditions

Maureen Video, Dive Voyager Expeditions

Josh AV DIT & ROV Tender

Andrew Historian & Composite Review

—  Crew Log  —

(Latest updates on top)


Are you ready to hear about the latest developments at the Stold3D Project? This year has been a thrilling one for us, with good progress in our underwater research, survey, and rendering.

In June 2022, we finished building our main workhorse computer, complete with two powerful EVGA RTX 3070s, which provided us with an immense amount of computing power. We extensively tested our computer for modeling using Agisoft Metashape and were thrilled with the results.

July was an exciting month for us, as we had a successful team dive that allowed us to capture excellent photos of the topshell and middeck. These images gave us an incredible starting point in our project and provided insights into the areas of the wreck that we would need to survey next. Additionally, we obtained fantastic pictures of the wreck and her condition, giving us a comprehensive understanding of the site.

The following month, we acquired a new ROV, the Chasing M2. This advanced model represented a significant upgrade over our previous ROV, with enhanced station-keeping capabilities, loitering control, and a better ability to resist the current in the open ocean. We tested the new features during a training dive at Gull Island and further honed our skills with a team dive at Dutch Springs. Following the methodology of crawl, walk, and run, we brought the Chasing M2 out to the Stolt for her graduation dive, and she performed spectacularly.

Despite facing challenging weather conditions in the North Atlantic throughout the end of 2021 and into 2022, we managed our second dive in October on the Old Salty, thanks in part to the capabilities of the Chasing M2. The ROV helped speed up the dives, checking for conditions and communicating with divers. We captured thousands of photos, and we obtained nearly full datasets for the topshell, middeck, and promenade. It was an immensely successful day for us.

Throughout 2022 and into 2023, our tech team focused on establishing marker points and masks for the photos, stitching together all of the chunks of the wreck and removing bioclutter. This culminated in the processing of several thousand images. We pushed the limits of what's possible with our machines, resulting in detailed renderings of the wreck and underwater environment. With our combined capabilities and passionate researchers, we're making progress every day. Stay tuned for more updates on our latest adventures!

Winter 2021

Two successful survey days completed!  After 7+ charter reschedules due to a wild year of weather at sea; our team was able to make it to the Stolt for a couple jam-packed days of survey. 

Each day out featured three teams, two dive cycles, several thousand photos, two ROV dives, and camera pulldown for feedback between the dives... all in 12 very productive hours. A great time for all, and certainly entertaining -perhaps enlightening- to the dive boat crews and onlookers!

In all, with this first day out surveying the Stolt Dagali we have been able to survey the "top shell" of the wreck, essentially everything from the top-forward-break ("upper cut") to 3/4s back along the shallow stern rail ("promenade").  Some detail of the sides, hull, and upper decks are starting to come in.

A picture's worth a thousand words, so a video might be worth... a few million? 

Either way, enjoy our latest update snippet below:

15 August 2021

Chasing M2 trials!  Today, our team unboxed and did a test dive of the Chasing M2 ROV at Point Pleasant, generously provided by Chasing Exploration Ltd

Compared to nearly all other observation-class ROVs, the M2 features 8 thrusters that allow a complete decoupling of rotational and translational movements, allowing for the most intuitive and natural diving control schema that any of our team members have experienced. Part of our expedition reporting will include a full review and video of this ROV, and comparing it to all other popular observation-class ROVs. Stay tuned!

Chasing M2 ROV testing in shallow waters.

23 May 2021 --> 12 July 2021

Training PGS3 (Day 2) - again at Dutch Springs! This day focused entirely on fine-tuning team dynamics with formation and swim patterns, camera exposure & focus, as well as onboarding two new team members:  Safety Divers Chuck and Bill!

Dive Plan: PGS3-3 @ Silver Comet

[ALL] Team dynamics (swim pattern and formation)

Focus:  Trailing formation for Survey Divers 1 & 2, with safety divers abeam-outboard

[ALL Survey] Full survey passes (base-normal and halo)

Focus:   Communal whitebalance:  all survey divers taking whitebalance from the same target at approximately the same time

Focus:   Doubled base-normal and halo standoff to allow contour context and matching

Focus:   For lower-relief worksites on sensitive silt, using top-down survey pattern (transect --> halo --> slice-normal --> base-normal)

Focus:   No scalebars on this dive,  main objective to fine-tune camera settings and focus

[POST] Debrief:  safety, team dynamics, formation, exposure, focus, DoF

[POST] Photogrammetric alignment and mesh for review

Dive Plan: PGS3-4 @ Silver Comet

[ANY Safety] Scale bar loading and transport to worksite

[ALL Survey] Camera - communal whitebalance

[ALL Survey] Camera - exposure set

[T1 Survey] Scale bar deployment with orthogonal setup (X-Y-Z) 

Focus:  In-situ scalebar calibration photoset

[ALL Survey] Full survey passes (base-normal and halo)

[T2 Survey] Scale bar retrieval and stow

[POST] Debrief:  safety, team dynamics, formation, exposure, focus, DoF

[POST] Photogrammetric alignment and mesh for review

Key takeaways and lessons-learned:

Halo pass framing was best achieved with the gunnel aligned with lower-third while elevated even with the top of the wheelhouse

Longitudinal transects may remain constant-depth (instead of constant-offset) provided the survey diver re-focuses for each feature change

GRSYNC is far easier to use in the field than RSYNC for checksummed data transfer

For photo QC and upload while outdoors; the Tether Tools Aero Sunshade (a portable laptop tent, field station, and darkroom) is worth its weight in gold

Final exposure settings, focus mode, and shutter speed paid off beautifully! All dataset photos are tack-sharp, evenly-exposed, and normal to macro features. 

The use of an in-situ scalebar calibration photoset (overhead-normal and conical circuit) allowed for a far more accurate camera calibration model. This (so far), combined with marker-point corrections and profile exports, have improved photogrammetric alignment+model accuracy by 1.5 orders of magnitude. As part of the Open Expeditionary Model (OEM), this camera correction profile will later be posted on this page (for all cameras used on the expedition) with the implied caveat that all camera frame-lens-dome combinations require their own correction parameters!

3D Model:  click the embedded player in this space for an fully navigable Comet 3D model!

Divers inspecting scale bars for use underwater.

16 May 2021

Training PGS3 (Day 1) - at Dutch Springs! Overall, the day was a very successful evolution to learn the use, placement, and recovery of scale bars & photogrammetry targets. Also began several trials of exposure & focus methods to best match with the survey passes.

Surface: PGS3-1 

Dive Plan: PGS3-1 @ Platform

Dive Plan: PGS3-2 @ Silver Comet

Key takeaways and lessons-learned:

Coming soon:  watch this space for an exported embed of the platform 3D model and the Comet 3D model!

15 May 2021

Orientation and shakedown on the Stolt Dagali! Mike and Christopher practiced ROV preparation, hybrid dive planning, and photosets (mainly focused on the skylight). The ROV experienced a camera module failure, thankfully the water was clear enough to practice launch, shallow handling, light signaling, and recovery. Replacement cameras (and a few other parts) have been ordered and the ROV is expected to be operational in two weeks. Underwater; Mike was able to capture several semicircular passes of the stern skylight, with model processing now finished for an unscaled upload to Sketchfab and embedded right here (just click the Play icon!). 

12 May 2021

Aaaand we're live! The Stolt 3D crew has just finished Training 01 of the project series. We spent a weekend refreshing skills with the Trashcan Wreck in Mike's pool, practicing survey slices and transect passes — both with and without scalebars & targets, and experimenting with different camera settings and techniques.  Debrief was conducted a week later, once all models were built from the trial datasets.

From there, some members rehearsed DIT (Ingest and quality control for 3D Modeling photosets) tasks, and we are continuing to refine the the overall workflow — once that's ready, it will also be posted here. 

ROV fundamentals for crew monitoring and communication were also rehearsed, with particular emphasis on deck communication standards, launch, and recovery.   Along with this update you can find our exported model of the Trashcan Wreck (TCW), and some nice photos of Little Voyager in action.  The dive season begins!