In October 2006 the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University completed a two year Historic Environment Enabling Programme (HEEP) supported project entitled “Developing professional guidance – laser scanning in archaeology and architecture” (3789 MAIN). The project, which adopted the working name “Heritage3D”, sought to provide guidance to archaeologists, local planning authorities, instrument manufacturers and software developers on the use of 3D laser scanning in the conservation of cultural heritage. The primary aims of this project were to develop and support best practice in laser scanning for archaeology and architecture, and disseminate this best practice to users, along with the education of likely beneficiaries.
the development of a guidance note that demonstrates the products that can be generated from laser scanning;
the update of the Addendum to the English Heritage Metric Survey Specification (a document delivered in 2003 by the School of Civil Engineering as part of a successful project supported by the Archaeology Commissions – 3378 MAIN) to take into account the continuing advances in laser scanning (Barber et al., 2002; Bryan et al., 2004);
to increase the knowledge base of English Heritage by forming partnerships with external survey practitioners and equipment manufacturers within the UK;
to promote synthesis between disciplines within English Heritage by publishing and maintaining a project website;
to provide workshops on the use of laser scanning to educate archaeologists, architects and engineers from within English Heritage.
In order to achieve those aims, the project addressed five key objectives:
The guidance note and revised specification arising from Heritage3D were delivered to English Heritage in October 2006. These documents represent the culmination of a number of activities undertaken during the project, including:
the forming of a core network of more than 60 project associates from industry, academia and English Heritage;
two project workshops (held in Nottingham in 2004 and Newcastle upon Tyne in 2006) that received contributions from a wide range of participants from both home and overseas;
technical visits to users of laser scanning, including Wessex Archaeology, the University of Southampton and the Centre for Archaeology in Portsmouth;
a poster presentation (Barber et al., 2005) at a 2005 laser scanning workshop in the Netherlands convened by the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS);
preparation of 16 case studies in collaboration with project associates;
the organisation and running of project steering committee meetings, incorporating a range of participants and other invited guests.
However, perhaps the most successful element of the project has been the establishment and maintenance of the project website (http://www.heritage3d.org) which acted as the project’s primary dissemination and information channel. Since its start in October 2004 the website has received more than 14,617 independent hits (as of October 26th 2007). This website, in addition to the guidance note and the revised addendum to the metric survey specification, became one of the key deliverables, helping the project to successfully provide guidance on the use of laser scanning to cultural heritage professionals within English Heritage, the UK and around the globe.
Aims and objectives
The aim of this new project is to provide, to English Heritage employees and other professionals engaged in cultural heritage, general news and independent information about all forms of 3D survey and recording, in-depth guidance and discussion on specific applications and techniques, and to provide access to a network of relevant organisations and individuals that could provide information and advice. This differs substantially from the original Heritage3D project in that it will cover all documentation techniques, not just 3D laser scanning.
The following objectives are proposed to provide a framework to ensure successful completion of the project aim:
- Objective 1 - Provide web based monthly news summaries, comment and six-monthly themed updates on 3D survey techniques.
- Objective 2 - Maintain and grow the existing project associate network to over 100 members and improve links to other national and international projects and organisations.
- Objective 3 - Obtain further financial support to secure the long term future of the website.
While the previous Heritage3D website adequately fulfilled the dissemination needs of that project it will be revised and improved to make it more useful for professionals seeking advice and information on survey and recording techniques, and to provide improved user interaction. The now un-maintained website is largely restricted to information on laser scanning, although it also provides one case study on the use of photogrammetry to record rock art. It also provides links to a small number of other projects and it is proposed to extend these aspects.
The audience for the project will be cultural heritage professionals from English Heritage, the UK and around the world. It will also include service providers who supply survey in laser scanning and other 3D survey techniques, and instrument manufacturers and software developers who create instrumentation and software.
The project aligns closely with four of the themes outlined in the document "English Heritage Research Agenda: An Introduction to English Heritage’s Research Themes and Programmes" (English Heritage, 2005). Specifically:
- Theme A1: Defining, characterising and analysing the historic environment
- Theme D1: Quantifying and analysing the condition of the (at risk) historic environment
- Theme F2: Studying and developing information management
- Theme G1: Developing new techniques of analysis and understanding
The project also links directly to ongoing work by English Heritage’s Imaging, Graphics and Survey Team to develop and implement a 3D recording strategy for the organisation.
By ensuring the heritage3d.org website remains active with regular updates, news, up-to-date information and resources, cultural heritage professionals will be able to stay informed on the various trends in 3D survey and recording techniques.