3D high-definition scanning: Data recording and virtual modelling of the built heritage

Richard Laing, Jonathan Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses the use of high-definition 3D scanning in the recording and modelling of the built heritage. In particular, it explores how such technology can be used as a complement to both traditional measurement and historic records, as well as in the 3D surface modelling of heritage detail. The article uses examples from cinema buildings of the twentieth century, which arguably embody both an important physical record of society and a challenge in terms of representing a complex range of historical, cultural, economic and physical data sets. The work provides an overview of visualisation techniques that are appropriate to the subject, and provides a case study taken from the city of Aberdeen. In particular, attention is drawn towards the manner in which large and physically complicated structures can be recorded rapidly, to provide a permanent record of dimensions and building form. Furthermore, the data set produced through use of a 3D scanner can be readily translated for incorporation within architectural models such as a 3D surface mesh. The article concludes that emerging technologies will facilitate the rapid collection of highly accurate information pertaining to the still intact physical structure, where still in place, but that such data must be related directly to wider contextual information so that informed plans can be formulated for future developments, including conservation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-211
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Building Appraisal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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