Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rosslyn Chapel scanned in 3D

The famous Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland has been photographed in intricate detail using cutting edge digital technology.

The project to capture details of the 15th Century building was developed by Historic Scotland and Digital Design Studio at the Glasgow School of Art. Their aim is to survey and interpret heritage structures, creating the definitive 3D record of the architecture down to the millimetre.

Terrestrial laser scanning, in combination with other digital technologies, is an extremely effective method of precisely documenting an object, building or landscape.

Over a three day period, a combined team from Historic Scotland and the Digital Design Studio at the Glasgow School of Art thoroughly laser scanned and digitally photographed the interior and exterior of the Chapel. Three highly advanced 3D terrestrial laser scanners were used on the project, each scanner capable of capturing 50,000 plus dimension points a second.

Within three days over 4.5 billion points were acquired. The information not only provides an accurate record of the Chapel’s current condition, but has also provided critical dimensional information in the ongoing restoration process. This process would normally take a surveyor over a year to complete.

Fiona Hyslop, Scotland's Minister for Cultural and External Affairs said: “This leading edge technology will help digitally preserve Scotland’s heritage for generations to come.

“The amount of detail in the digital images of Rosslyn Chapel is truly astonishing. This technology has already been used to give us exceptionally accurate 3D visual documentation and is currently being used at Stirling Castle. The technology provides a lasting, digital record of the country’s most important buildings. It also offers a new method for researching and conserving Scotland’s built environment.’

Colin Glynn Percy, Director of Rosslyn Chapel said: ‘This has been a fascinating exercise for us which has real practical benefits in being able to record minute details for posterity as well as assist the conservation of Rosslyn Chapel for future generations to enjoy.”

Historic Scotland and Digital Design Studio at the Glasgow School of Art announced a partnership in July to digitally document the country’s five World Heritage Sites, and five international heritage sites – the first being Mount Rushmore – creating what will be known as the Scottish 10.

Professor Seona Reid, Director of the Glasgow School of Art said: “The work The Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio and Historic Scotland are doing is truly world-leading and clearly shows how developing new technologies can help us better understand and appreciate great works of the past. This is just the beginning of a partnership that is set to leave a digital legacy for us all to enjoy.”