The approval of a grant applied for by a non-profit organization will help develop a three-dimensional underwater video featuring underwater sites in the CNMI and a long-term monitoring program of these sites.
Dr. Jennifer McKinnon of Flinders University in South Australia disclosed that Ships of Discovery, a group that officially came into being as an underwater archaeology research institute in 1989, applied for the American Battlefield Protection Program 2011 grant in January.
“We’ll hear about it in June or July whether or not we got it,” McKinnon told Saipan Tribune.
According to McKinnon, the grant will develop a 3D underwater video involving specific underwater sites they have already documented, which can then be shown in schools and Visitor’s Centers.
“You don’t have to be a diver to experience sites 3D… It’s for snorkelers, it’s for divers, the general public interested in history that don’t dive or don’t swim can visit the sites through 3D technology,” she explained.
Part of the grant, McKinnon said, will also be used to develop a long-term monitoring program of the sites to study and minimize the impacts on them.
She said the group will work closely with the local Historic Preservation Office to visit the sites, take specific measurements, and record impacts.
“Without knowledge of what is happening at the sites, we won’t know how to protect them,” she added.
McKinnon noted that the monitoring program to be developed will be made specific for the CNMI.
She said the recipients of the grant will be announced in June or July.
Ships of Exploration received the same grant in 2009, which was utilized for the archaeological survey and GIS mapping of Invasion Beach at Tanapag Lagoon to identify and document submerged remains of the Battle of Saipan for use in the future development of an underwater maritime heritage trail.