Simon Brown, the owner of Deep3D, is passionate about underwater photogrammetry. The process to create a scaled and geo referenced 3D model taps into so many areas of deep interest: SCUBA diving, maritime history, underwater photography, data collection and management, embedded GPS and art. In summary, photogrammetry is the perfect exercise for both aspects of Simon’s brain – the logical/organised mind and the creative/visually expressive side – at the same time.
Simon had previously tackled large underwater subjects and successfully managed to incorporate data from multiple dives and multiple contributors (see NDAC Orthophotos) into a single, scaled and referenced model. The sheer scale of this project was going to test established methods & processes beyond anything that anything that had gone before.
Prior to working in the field of photogrammetry Simon was an award-winning underwater stills photographer working in adverting and editorial markets.
When not underwater scanning wrecks Simon runs a data management consultancy that helps manufacturing and engineering/design companies care for their product data. Whilst the two worlds – data management and photogrammetry – seem far apart there is considerable crossover: both generate masses of 2D and 3D data, and it all needs to be cared for. Lessons from one world flow into the other and both reap the benefits.
Role within project
When Dr Jon Henderson first suggested scanning the Thistlegorm the scope of the project was to scan a section of the wreck. Simon took this as an instant challenge and wanted to scan all of it – inside and out. To miss off something iconic such as the railway locomotives, or the holds and their rows of motorbikes, was not really an option. Having never dived the wreck before was definitely an advantage: Had Simon known just how large and complex the site was, maybe the challenge to scan it all would have never materialised.
So armed with a housed DSLR and an underwater scooter (A combination known as The Heart of Gold) Simon’s mission was to scan as much of the SS Thistlegorm as possible. 13 hours and 45 minutes of in-water time yielded 24,000 high resolution images, all of which needed sorting and building into a 3D model.
Using both a local PC and the flexible power of cloud computing Simon completed processing the data in 68 days.
In addition to diving and processing, Simon took the opportunity to share knowledge gained with the students from Al Shains and Alexandria Universities.