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Thai cave rescue – 3D scan journey through the cave complex

3D Scanning of Tham Luang cave Our involvement in the Tham Luang cave rescue documentary began through our involvement with our worldwide LiDAR surveying service “Commendium 3D”. We were invited to scan the mountains and the Tham Luang cave, to capture the ‘complete cave system and the mountains above’, thus delivering the first accurate 3D built system of the Thai cave. The 3D Lidar scans would be later used to illustrate the story of the rescue in the “Drain the Oceans” documentary with compelling 3D effects. Tham Luang Cave in Northern Thailand was virtually unknown beyond the small village bordering Myanmar. It all changed when, on the 23 of June 2018, twelve young boys and their football coach became entrapped by unexpected floodwaters. One and a half miles inside the cave system the boys waited, The International effort which took over three weeks must rate as one of the most impressive and courageous rescue missions in history. National Geographic The documentary film was for one episode of National Geographic’s “Drain the Oceans Series”. Filming and film production were expertly led by MSPTV in Bristol and we worked on 3D visuals with 422South, also of Bristol. Using our scan data 422South built some stunning CGI to accompany the 3D visuals included in the film. Roo on Camera In the field, our first week was spent supporting the filming of the cave. This involved filming us scanning, working in the cave, many interviews, and of course carrying filming gear through the cave. [caption id="attachment_5532" align="aligncenter" width="640"] 3D scanning Roo Walters with Sophie Elwin Harris Directing and Rob Franklin Filming[/caption] Scanning the Cave After supporting the film crew, we started the two weeks of cave scanning. Scanning included the mountain above for which we employed the terrestrial LiDAR and drone surveys. 3D scanning started from the far end of the cave complex; this meant our trips into the cave became easier as we progressed. Whilst hot, dry, and energy-sapping with 25kg of survey equipment, plus another 15kg of photographic gear, the cave is, for cavers at least, relatively easy, but some sections did involve flat out belly crawling and a few slippery climbs. As we traveled deep into the complex, we kept finding parts of the cave that were not recorded on the original survey. These new areas also had to be scanned to gain a complete 3D model of the cave. A…