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Images: The Quest to Map Titanic

William Lange, director of the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab at WHOI, was on the 1985 expedition that brought back the first images of Titanic on the seafloor and on the 2010 expedition that has given us beautiful, newly published images of the wreck. (Photo courtesy of AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution specializes in high-resolution optical imaging and building and operating camera systems to work in hostile environments from more than 10,000 feet beneath the sea to 14,000 feet above sea level. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Photomosiacs of Titanic from 2012 and 1987 show that the bow of Titanic has remained relatively intact compared with the stern. The top mosaic consists of approximately 1,500 high-resolution still images shot in 2010, revealing structural changes that have occurred to the bow section since the last effort to mosaic the wreck. The bottom image was the first complete image of Titanic on the seafloor and is made up of 100 images pieced together from the 53,000 taken by a towed camera sled. It took approximately 700 hours to make. (©2012 RMS Titanic, Inc. Produced by AIVL, WHOI)

William Lange (2nd row, fifth from right) was part of the research team that returned to Titanic in 1986 with the submersible Alvin, on which pilots are sitting in the background. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The Argo towed camera sled had television cameras and sonars that helped find Titanic. It was named by Titanic expedition leader Robert Ballard after the mythical Greek vessel that carried Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece. In 1985, Argo represented a new generation of exploration vehicles for ocean scientists. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Two REMUS 6000 vehicles mapped the Titanic during the 2010 expedition. They are autonomous underwater vehicles that don’t have any cable connection to the surface. They were launched and followed preprogrammed tracks, carrying sonar devices to map the wreck site. REMUS, which stands for Remote Environmental Monitoring Units, was developed at WHOI. (Photo courtesy of Mike Purcell, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

A view of Titanic looking down on the stern reveals significant structural damage caused when the ship broke apart and sank and the degradation that has occurred after 100 years on the seafloor. Approximately 1,500 images, collected in 2010, were stitched together to make this high-resolution mosaic. (©2012 RMS Titanic, Inc. Produced by AIVL, WHOI)

The aft end of Titanic's keel is deeply embedded in thick, clay-like sediment 12,000 feet below the surface of the North Atlantic. The port propeller is also visible in this view. (©2012 RMS Titanic, Inc. Produced by AIVL, WHOI)

WHOI reserachers Bob Ballard, Elazar Uchupi, and William Lange created this first map of the Titanic wreck site based on images collected during two WHOI expeditions in 1985 and 1986. It was published in 1988 and was the most complete map until the new one was completed after the 2010 expedition.

(Ballard, Uchupi, and Lange, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)