Laser images show HMS Victory as never seen before

COLOURFUL Laser images show the condition of HMS Victory
COLOURFUL Laser images show the condition of HMS Victory
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Walrus-Class Submarine 'HNLMS WALRUS' of the Royal Netherlands Navy inbound to Portsmouth on a weekend visit.
Picture: Tony Weaver

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THIS is Admiral Lord Nelson’s famous flagship HMS Victory as she has never been seen before.

Rendered in a series of colourful images, she looks like she could have been painted by an artist with an eye for the unusual.

But these are actually the most pinpoint accurate models of the ship to have ever been made.

Using laser mapping technology, scientists have created a 3D digital model of the 250-year-old ship to help with conservation attempts.

They took more than 90 billion measurements of the ship, exploring every millimetre of her decks.

The maps will now be used to check for damage around the ship and make it possible for conservationists to keep her in a good condition.

Andrew Baines, of Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard is the curator of HMS Victory.

He said: ‘The scans are impressive and help raise awareness of the complex issues we must address in conserving HMS Victory.

‘It will allow us to understand the ship’s structure and how it behaves, and plan the conservation of the ship is the most appropriate manner.

‘It would have been impossible to ensure the best care is taken of HMS Victory without use of a tool such as the structural analysis.’

Experts from Wiltshire-based Downland Partnership are working with the National Museum of the Royal Navy to map the 230ft ship.

The project began in March and will be completed in October, at a cost of £500,000.

Specialist scanners are used to send out a laser that bounces off objects.

The scanners measure how long it takes for the laser to rebound back and then calculates how far away the object is.

They take 500,000 measurements a second and a full scan takes around three and a half minutes, giving measurements accurate to within a few millimetres.

The laser map of HMS Victory, which played a pivotal role in the Battle of Trafalgar, is part of a £55m conservation project that is designed to preserve the vessel.

In March last year, the Royal Navy passed on ownership of the ship to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, although she is technically still a commissioned warship.

BAE Systems’ Maritime Services division has already started work to conserve the ship as part of a £16m, five-year contract.