The practice of heritage preservation has been around for thousands of years, but the discipline has become more advanced in the past several decades. As technology and society’s understanding of what constitutes identity, culture, and heritage progresses, we’re seeing increased efforts to conserve, protect, and restore historic properties, landmarks, artwork, artifacts, and more. Many cities and states in the U.S. currently boast a heritage preservation commission dedicated to protecting key pieces of local and national history.
In the last three decades, heritage preservation has been made all the easier with the help of 3D scanning and 3D scanning software. In fact, this area is one of the newest applications of this powerful technology. Here’s a look at the benefits of using Artec 3D scanners for heritage preservation.
Heritage Preservation Before 3D Scanning
The general goal of heritage preservation is to keep a building, artwork, or other object in as close to its original condition as possible. We first saw the idea of preservation emerge in terms of caring for and protecting works of art. The process also included restoring already damaged pieces, a practice that is still undertaken today as we continue to discover artwork from past eras.
Groups around the world also began to care for geographic sites of historical importance. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, for example, was purchased by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association in 1858, and the group continues to maintain and operate the site today.
Heritage preservation as a discipline has since expanded to include the conservation and protection of other artifacts, buildings, and sites of historical importance. These items are subjected to testing, analysis, documentation, and restoration efforts that may ultimately lead to their degradation. Even a perfectly preserved textile or stone building will break down over time, whether due to exposure to the elements or the simple passage of time. Eventually, we’re left with secondhand records and photographs that can’t do the original object justice. But 3D scanning is changing the entire field of heritage preservation.
Advantages of Artec 3D Scanners for Heritage Preservation
The goal of a 3D scanner is to measure an object using photons of light, rather than physical contact. The light projected from a 3D scanner will interact with a physical object, and sensors collect and process the data into a 3D model. While many 3D scanners are laser-based, a growing number of portable 3D scanners use projected light technology using LED flashbulbs.
Perhaps the most significant advantage of utilizing a unit like the Artec Eva 3D scanner is that the process is completely non-contact and non-destructive. Using a projected light scanner to scan an object like a medium-sized object like an urn or statue is quick, simple, and precise. And for buildings and other large structures, laser-based scanners like the Artec Ray offer high-resolution scans with no damage to the subject.
The beauty of Artec 3D scanners is that they’re portable and very affordable when compared to desktop and larger scanning models. For preservation experts and other industry professionals working with a set budget, 3D scanning can prove to be a valuable asset. State Historic Preservation Office projects can benefit greatly from structure scanning, which produces reconstructed as-built 3D models, perfect for use in restoration planning.
Capture Geometry and Color Data
3D models offer a more comprehensive “picture”—really, an exact digital recreation—of an object. More than that, they offer a vast set of data points with practically limitless applications. When it comes down to it, traditional photography simply can’t compare. That’s not to say that photos don’t still play an important role in heritage preservation; rather, 3D scanning can act as a valuable supplement that significantly extends the reach and use of digital models. The raw data from a 3D scan can be used for everything from as-built documentation to ceramic analysis. In addition, Artec 3D scanners collect color data, which allows them to produce full-color 3D models. Virtual museums and showrooms are becoming more popular as a result.
Take the Kensington Runestone, for example. Several Artec 3D scanners were used to capture the runestone’s 3D shape and color information to generate the highest resolution model of the artifact ever created. This detailed scan allowed experts to examine the depths of the markings on the runestone at a level unavailable through photographic and other modeling methods, and without invasive procedures.
The spirit of heritage preservation is about protecting objects and features of historical importance, conserving them for future generations and our collective cultural growth. 3D scanning fits neatly into this philosophy, by allowing schools, museums, and other organizations to share important cultural artifacts without compromising the integrity of the originals. The portability of digital files means that 3D scanned objects can be viewed by researchers and casual viewers around the world, only expanding our collective understanding of heritage.
Artec 3D Scanners From Laser Design
Clearly, 3D scanning has been making waves in the area of heritage preservation, as well as a number of other exciting disciplines. For precise modeling and high-resolution scans, look no further than Laser Design’s selection of Artec 3D scanners. Contact us today to learn more about 3D scanning solutions for heritage preservation. Our experienced team of 3D scanning experts is available to answer any questions you may have about choosing the right unit for your specific needs. We look forward to working together!