Preserving KZN’s historical buildings

Although quite different from the work we do, I was interested to come across a project that is creating 3D digital scans of historic buildings and monument. Details as follows:

Using state-of-the-art digital mapping and the latest 3D laser scanning technology, this R8.8million National Lottery-funded project aims to preserve KwaZulu-Natal’s rich cultural and historical heritage, by creating computerised visual records of the province’s historic buildings and monuments.

ACT is project managing the project in conjunction with UKZN’s Programme of Geomatics and AMAFA KwaZulu-Natal (Heritage KwaZulu-Natal), who will be the custodians of the completed archive material.

The high-tech ‘GigaPan’ equipment used takes thousands of high-resolution digital photos that are stitched together into a single 3D image accurate to the last millimetre, showing both the exterior and interior of buildings, including foundations, interior walls and plumbing.  The digital images  are then incorporated into a geographical information system (GIS) by ACT’s GIS specialist  Michelle Dye, which provides a 3D surface model of the surrounding area, allowing sites to be viewed in context of their geographic and physical environment.

The project will be used for a variety of purposes, including conservation, heritage and research, and will be of benefit to researchers who can use the web to view a building or site in detail without having to travel to the actual location. The archive will also be used if reconstruction work is required on a historical building due to damage by flood or fire.

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