gCaptain was recently invited to visit Google HQ to meet Jenifer Austin Foulkes, the head of Google Oceans’ team, to share our ideas of integrating maritime information, like the tracking of ships via AIS, into products like Google Earth. During our meeting, the team shared progress they have made in seafloor mapping which now contains 3D models of objects found below the waterline including underwater volcanos, subsea terrain and shipwrecks – the data for which is obtained via the company’s relationships with deep-sea researchers, scientists and explorers (like James Cameron and Richard Branson).
But what caught our eye most was the above model, a 3-D replica of the Deepwater Horizon, as she now sits on the seafloor. Google did not give specifics on where they obtained the imagery to create the model but the new evidence is clearly of interest to those investigating the incident.
And that leads us to a question… where are the photographs of the wreckage?
Google has seen to copies, and we have learned that Transcoean is using images to develop a recovery plan for the rig, so they certainly exist, but have not been seen by the general public. In response to a request to see the rig by a survivor of the incident, gCpatain filed a Freedom Of Information Act Request with the US Coast Guard, to obtain photographic and video imagery of the rig.
Nearly four months after our request was filed, the Coast Guard has yet to provide any of the requested items.
In the meantime however, we thank Google for taking the time to building this 3D model which we hope, will help provide additional information to investigators and closure to Deepwater Horizon survivors.