UNH Scientist’s Image Appearing in New Godzilla Movie

Monday, June 2, 2014

DURHAM, N.H. - An image of the Mariana Trench has been licensed by Warner Bros. and is being used within a quick-cut-montage sequence in the new Godzilla movie. It was mapped and developed by University of New Hampshire scientist James Gardner.

The licensed image was taken during an underwater survey of the area that took place from August through October of 2010. The scientists from the UNH Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center (CCOM/JHC) used a multibeam echosounder, state-of-the-art equipment for mapping the ocean floor, to map the area of the Mariana Trench. The survey yielded the maps of the seafloor and the most precise estimate to date of the depth of the Challenger Deep, the deepest spot on earth, measuring around 10,984 meters deep (36,028 feet).

“I was very surprised, and then pleased, that one of our images was to appear in the new movie,” said Gardner. “The advanced technology we used during the Mariana Trench survey allowed us to map the seafloor at a much higher resolution than previous efforts, providing a horizontal spacing of one depth value every 50 meters. The best maps of this area prior to our mapping have a horizontal spacing of depth values separated by 1,850 meters, and the images appear fuzzy when looked at in detail. Our mapping provides a very detailed, clear look at the seafloor.”  

The images taken during the 2010 survey have been licensed to other organizations in the past but this is the first time that any of the images appear in a major motion picture.

The UNH Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center was founded in 1999 with two main objectives: to develop tools to advance ocean mapping and hydrography, and to train the next generation of hydrographers and ocean mappers. CCOM/JHC has 19 teaching and research faculty and an additional research staff whose expertise ranges from marine acoustics and deep-sea photo and video mosaicking to airborne LIDAR and 4D data visualization. A group of technicians, engineers, and support personnel round out the staff and contribute their considerable talents to a vibrant environment of research and learning.

UNHInnovation (formerly the Office for Research Partnerships and Commercialization) is responsible for managing UNH’s intellectual assets, spearheading efforts to use the university’s research base as an economic development engine, and promoting entrepreneurship across the entire campus. UNH has set records for invention disclosures, patent filings, licenses, and licensing income in each of the past three years. 

Media Contact: Chelsey DiGiuseppe| 603-862-5318 | UNHInnovation

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