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Mapping RMS Titanic With GIS: Implications for Forensic Investigations

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Since its loss 100 years ago, RMS Titanic continues to captivate people worldwide as an epic story of tragedy at sea and as an iconic shipwreck with many mysteries still to be unraveled from its physical remains on the ocean bottom. RMS Titanic, Inc., has completed eight expeditions to RMS Titanic in its capacity as salvor-in-possession. These efforts include the first comprehensive remote-sensing survey of the shipwreck site in 2010. During this time, the company’s focus has evolved from marine salvage to treatment of RMS Titanic as an archaeological site. An important tool in archaeological interpretation of historic shipwrecks is a geographic information system (GIS).

In 2006, RMS Titanic, Inc., formally initiated the GIS-based Titanic Mapping Project. Components of the Titanic Mapping Project include data rescue, digital transfer of film media, design of GIS methodology, verification and rectification of positioning data from original field records, preparation of detailed profiles for all recovered artifacts, development of GIS attribute tables for recovered artifacts and key in situ site features, and integration of remote-sensing data from Titanic Expedition 2010. With information on over 5,500 accessioned artifacts organized within the GIS, the company looks forward to making substantive contributions to deepwater archaeological research and forensic investigations of the shipwreck site. In combination with current architectural- and engineering-related knowledge of RMS Titanic, new light can be cast on such topics as the wrecking event during that fateful night in 1912.

Keywords: RMS Titanic; geographic information systems; historic shipwrecks; underwater archaeology

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-11-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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