Evaluation of Structure from Motion Software to Create 3D Models of Late Nineteenth Century Great Lakes Shipwrecks Using Archived Diver-Acquired Video Surveys

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© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Here we demonstrate the ability to use archived video surveys to create photorealistic 3D models of submerged archeological sites. We created 3D models of two nineteenth century Great Lakes shipwrecks using diver-acquired video surveys and Structure from Motion (SfM) software. Models were georeferenced using archived hand survey data. Comparison of hand survey measurements and digital measurements made using the models demonstrate that spatial analysis produces results with reasonable accuracy when wreck maps are available. Error associated with digital measurements displayed an inverse relationship to object size. Measurement error ranged from a maximum of 18 % (on 0.37 m object) and a minimum of 0.56 % (on a 4.21 m object). Our results demonstrate SfM can generate models of large maritime archaeological sites that for research, education and outreach purposes. Where site maps are available, these 3D models can be georeferenced to allow additional spatial analysis long after on-site data collection.

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Journal of Maritime Archaeology