USS Arizona Memorial Brings a New Dimension to an Underwater Icon

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: February 10, 2009
Contact: Brett Seymour, 505-310-5501
Contact: Eileen Martinez, 808-422-2772 x124

The National Park Service (NPS) is adding an entirely new dimension to the visitor experience and ongoing research at the USS Arizona Memorial by capturing the submerged battleship in stereoscopic three-dimensional high definition (3D HD).

USS Arizona, as it now rests submerged in Pearl Harbor, Island of Oahu, has become a symbol that memorializes one of the most pivotal events of the 20th century. Nearly 1.5 million people make the journey to the USS Arizona Memorial each year to understand and contemplate the events of December 7, 1941. These visitors pay their respects to those 2,390 Americans who lost their lives on Oahu and the more than 900 sailors and marines still entombed within the Arizona.

Over the ten-day field project, the NPS along with several research partners will capture new underwater imagery that will be used to create an immersive experience in 3D HDTV on the submerged battleship. The 3D-HD technology uses two parallel high definition camera systems to capture images that our brains interpret as three dimensional and is similar to the technology now being used in the entertainment industry. “This is not the gimmicky 3D movies with red and blue cardboard glasses of years past,” says Brett Seymour of the NPS Submerged Resources Center. “This is a documentary-style presentation brought to life as the viewer is immersed in the waters of Pearl Harbor and experiences USS Arizona as a touchstone of history.”

USS Arizona Memorial Superintendent, Paul DePrey comments “In addition to an educational and visitor experience products, these cameras generate high resolution video and still images that are critical to the site stewardship and on-going research in the areas of structural integrity and oil release.”

The underwater 3D HD camera systems designed and built by the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will be used by NPS researchers to document the battleships exterior. An additional miniature underwater 3D HD system will be mounted on a Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV, provided by VideoRay LLC to perform a non-invasive, condition assessment of accessible cabins in the interior of the ship.

“These new underwater stereoscopic, 3D survey tools we have developed enable maritime archeologists to conduct extremely accurate surveys of the exteriors and interiors of sunken vessels quickly and at resolution levels never thought obtainable,” says William Lange, head of the Advanced Imaging and Visualization lab at WHOI. “We are bringing the researchers into the very areas they are interested in observing – without ever having to get wet -- and, at the same time, allowing the public to experience these wrecks through immersive 3D displays in visitor centers and museums.”

The Arizona Memorial Museum Association (AMMA) has provided support for the project and plans incorporate the footage into its ongoing educational programs. The US Navy’s Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE (MDSU) will provide logistical and dive support while Ocean Technology Systems (OTS) provides the underwater communication resources for the project.

National Park Service -
The mission of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) as stated in the National Park Service Organic act of 1906, (16 U.S.C.1.) is " promote and regulate the use of the...national parks...which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

USS Arizona Memorial at World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument -
The USS ArizonaMemorial preserves, researches, and interprets the intangible and tangible historic events and resources associated with the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oahu. The Memorial maintains an on-site dive team that actively participates in scientific research, performs internments and assists with interpretive programs. Dive Program Contact - Christine Carr, (808) 422-2772 x116 ; Media Contact - Eileen Martinez, (808) 422-2772 x124

NPS Submerged Resources Center -
The Submerged Resources Center provides direct support to NPS superintendents and partners responsible for stewardship of submerged resources, and itenhances and facilitates public appreciation, access, understanding, and preservation of thoseresources. Media Contact - Brett Seymour, (505) 310-5501 Arizona Memorial

Arizona Memorial Museum Association -
The Arizona Memorial Museum Association (AMMA), anon-profit organization authorized by Congress, supports the interpretation and related visitor serviceactivities of the National Park Service (NPS) at four sites across the Pacific region – USS ArizonaMemorial (Pearl Harbor, HI), War in the Pacific National Historical Park (Guam), American Memorial Park (Saipan), Kalaupapa National Historic Park (Molokai, Hawaii). Media Contact – Lisa Ontai, (808) 375-9352

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, independent organization in Falmouth, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the oceans’ role in the changing global environment. Media Contact – William Lange, (508) 289-2782

VideoRay, LLC -
With more than 1,200 Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) in service around the world, VideoRay has become a global leader in Micro-ROV technology. Weighting just 8 pounds, the VideoRay is as an extremely versatile, portable, affordable, and reliable solution for underwater operations. Media Contact - Brian Luzzi, (610) 458-3015

U.S. Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE
The U.S. Navy’s Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE (MDSU) is designed to rapidly deploy combat-ready, expeditionary warfare, specialized dive teams to conduct harbor and waterway clearance, emergent underwater repairs, and salvage operations in all environments. Commanding Officer – (808) 422-9292

Last updated: March 1, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

National Park Service
Pearl Harbor National Memorial
1845 Wasp Blvd. Bldg. 176

Honolulu, HI 96818


(808) 422-3399

Contact Us