Mike Postons

  • Director Developer at 3deep
  • BA(Hons) Graphic Design graduate, 2008

You've got your own company; tell us a bit about it?

3deep is a design agency focused around creative solutions for interactive mapping. We’re best known for our work creating interactive 3D tours of shipwrecks and other underwater sites. The company was formed in 2011 and since then we’ve worked for a number of organisations within the heritage and tourism sectors, as well as projects for several government agencies. Last year we expanded our services beyond underwater surveys, acquiring a commercial drone license, which allowed us to use this new technology for our mapping and interactive tours of land based sites.

How did it get started?

It all started with my final major project on the graphic design course. From my research I discovered that there was significant lack of documentation of shipwrecks, meaning that scuba divers often didn’t have a clear understanding of the dive sites they were visiting. Getting lost underwater can ruin a dive but can also be quite hazardous, so I wanted to find a solution.

My concept was to interpret existing data from wrecks (photos, videos, historical information) and use this to produce digital 3D models and interactive tours, assisting divers' navigation as well as creating a historical record of each wreck.

After graduating from Falmouth University, I was offered a job as a web developer for Fourth Element, a scuba diving manufacturer based on the Lizard Peninsula. During my time there I further developed the concept into a commercial service that could be used by organisations such as maritime museums, archaeologists, tourist boards, dive schools and many more. 

I then formed 3deep as a new company with the directors of Fourth Element, offering this niche service to a few specific customers. Our first project was commissioned by NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), a US government agency, who contacted us about mapping seven wrecks in the Great Lakes. That project led to surveying nine of the German High Sea Fleet wrecks up in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands.

What kind of projects do you work on?

We’ve worked on a wide range of projects creating interactive maps and tours of over 50 shipwrecks and reefs around the world. These range from projects for museums, tourist boards, dive schools and scuba diving manufacturers. Because of our experience with web and app development we have also been commissioned to build a number of other projects. This includes game-engine based simulations and interactive user guides for Suunto, a high-end sports watch manufacturer.

Our recent venture into using aerial systems (drones) mean that we now undertake a whole new set of projects on dry land, including 3D surveys of historical sites and interactive aerial 360° tours for clients such as Falmouth Council, Visit Cornwall, hotels such as the Greenbank and estate agents such as Savills.

How did Falmouth University influence your career choices?

When I started the first year of the graphic design course at Falmouth I really didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do in terms of a career. I knew it would be design based, but that’s a very broad field. The three-year course gave me a good understanding of the commercial side of graphics, but also the time to experiment within different areas of the field.

During my time there I soon realised that I wanted to focus on digital design and this became the basis of most of my projects during the course. Having the time to then focus on a final major project, supported by the tutors, gave me the chance to create a concept I could eventually take to market, and as they say the rest is history.

Why did you decide to stay in Falmouth?

I moved down to Falmouth from the Midlands. As soon as I arrived I fell in love with the place; the atmosphere, the people, but mostly its beautiful seaside location. During the three years I spent on the course my love for the place grew even more, and by the time I graduated I didn’t want to leave. 

I knew that acquiring a job down here might be harder than say moving to a big city, but Cornwall is known for its arts and more and more about tech start-ups so I wanted to try and develop a business down here. It’s taken some time and lots of hard work but ultimately it’s been worth it, especially for the quality of life.

If you could have any superpower what would it be?

I think it would probably have to be the ability to breathe underwater! Would make my job much easier if I could stay underwater for hours or days on end!