Lasers, drones, GPS, photographic techniques are helping to digitally preserve a World Heritage treasure in Armenia

Sep 24, 2015 | 3D World Heritage Program in Armenia

Thursday, September 24, 2015 – Haghpat, Lori Province, Armenia

This was our third day at the Haghpat Monastery Complex, and we could not ask for better project conditions. The weather is great (80 degrees and no humidity), brilliant sun, and clear skies [Hope I did not just jinx us]. The people at the Gayane Hotel have gone out of their way to accommodate us. Food and drink are great, and the location perfect for our work, only a five-minute drive to the site. Perhaps we will have a video of the drive soon.

The AIST field team is the best! Bart McLeod, Jorge Gonzalez, Jeff Du Vernay, and Garrett Speed may be the best 3D heritage documentation team in the U.S. Their experience, work ethic, ability to solve problems, and overcome just about any obstacle are really remarkable. Each has their specialty, but they are also multi-talented, and work together as a well-oiled machine. We could not ask for a better field crew.To support my assertions, I ave seen the data collected so far, and it is incredible, especially considering the conditions we have to work under. After a couple days we have figured out the daily patterns of visitors and weather. Jeff manually secured the scanner on the roof of one of the structures for a series of scans in the gusting afternoon winds. Bart, Jorge, and Garrett learned to work around the frequent groups of tourists. We have even managed to get the Priest involved and have 3D scanned him for the archive as well!

Garrett successfully flew the UAV for the second time today. The data capture is amazing, reaching areas of sculpted stone more than six stories high. It will be a major part of the project’s products, along with his high-resolution and gigapixel photography and photogrammetry.

Jorge has been concentrating on capturing sculptures with our handheld scanners and his unique photographic talents to capture the various textures of the architectural fabric.

Bart has been conducting scans of the interiors of the monastery’s structures, and Jeff has been doing the exteriors. They have left little uncovered, the combined data is providing views that have never been seen, even by the original builders. Great work!

More soon…

— Travis F. Doering, Ph.D.

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