A team under the technical direction of Heriot-Watt University is using the latest 3D survey technology to digitally record the Cologne Cathedral. With the first phase of the project now successfully complete, the acquired data captures the detail of the World Heritage site building down to the millimetre.
The work follows previous projects undertaken by Douglas Pritchard, Associate Professor in the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) at Heriot-Watt, to use the technology to digitally record sites including Mount Rushmore, the Queen’s Step Well in India and Scottish architectural treasures including Neolithic Orkney, New Lanark and St Kilda.
The cutting-edge laser scanning techniques provide an exceptionally accurate 3D record of the interior and exterior of the Cathedral as well as the surrounding urban context. The 3D data will be used for a variety of practical purposes from architectural conservation to 3D animation. Most critically though, in the face of threats such as air pollution, earthquakes, fire and vandalism, as well as the everyday challenges of tourism and urban pressure, this project will provide a highly precise record of the cathedral’s architectural condition.
The Cologne Cathedral project is being undertaken in conjunction with 3D Mind & Media degree course at Hochschule Fresenius, Faculty of Business and Media in Cologne and is supported by the city of Cologne and the Dombauhütte cathedral conservation team, CyArk and with generous support from the Zoller + Fröhlich (Z+F) technology company.
Douglas Pritchard said, “The incredible size and architectural complexity of the Cologne Cathedral are obvious challenges, but during the first phase of the project we were able to gather over 9 billion 3D dimension points, an unprecedented level of detail. By the end of the project we hope to have the entire interior and exterior of the Cathedral accurately documented to the millimetre, from the ground to the very top of the towers. ”