GPS Survey and 3D Laser Scanning Intensify at Haghpat Monastery

Sep 27, 2015 | 3D World Heritage Program in Armenia

Today we moved into high gear so that we can document not only the entirety of the Haghpat Complex, but can also digitally record and preserve some of the important surrounding architectural features that directly relate to the Complex. Other monuments of the Haghpat village that are important, but located outside the monastery walls include: the Old Church ruins (first church built in Haghpat), about 1.5 km outside the wall; and the monastery water spring building that provides the source of water for the village as well as for livestock.

The Monastery Water Spring has water basins for people inside and cattle watering areas outside. Water is also piped throughout the village from here.

Recording an inscription lintel area at the Old Church (Jegrashen Church Site)

GPS survey has been an important aspect of our work, with exact positioning documentation providing reference control for our survey, as well as providing data that will be used to produce cartographic mapping products. Additionally, GPS is useful for condition and asset survey and will provide a permanent record of located features and their condition. We are recording with GPS photography in addition to the geolocation information.

GPS survey of features include architectural and monuments as well as plantings that relate to the landscape of the monastery.

Each night the team works at processing data collected from that day, including basic registration and making sure that we have covered all areas with our survey. Data back-up and management is also an important part of the nightly routine, with all data secured in three distinct back-up locations to insure that all is archived and protected. Processing involves quality control and assurance checking to verify the correct resolutions and coverage were obtained. Viewing and analyzing the data in 3D allows us to plan for any data gaps or areas that we will return to in the continuance of the work.

Shown below is an example of the raw data collected from the Haghpat belfry or bell tower area, which we are continuing to work at in our landscape and exterior survey. Our finalized point cloud data will be colorized and highly representative and accurate assessment of the built environment and terrain (accuracy to less than 2 millimeters). Because the data is 3D, we can slice in the software to view interior structures, readily understanding building floor plans and shapes that are not easily discerned otherwise. These data will allow detailed and accurate Computer Assisted Drawings (CAD) to be produced, documenting the architectural as built design, conditions, and styles of this World Heritage site.

Raw initial registration of point cloud data from our terrestrial laser scanning survey work in the belfry area of the site.

Slicing the 3D data to reveal the building’s floor plan 

Today, being Sunday at the site, there were several visitors, worship and ceremonies taking place, including a christening of several babies from the village that we were invited to witness.

Christening event at Haghpat Monastery today

Tomorrow night (Monday) we will be pulling an all-nighter in the two most important rooms at Haghpat, the Gavit and the Cathedral of St. Nishan, with its dome and painted frescos. The monastery closes to the public at 6:00pm, but we received permission from the Arch-Bishop in Yerevan to conduct our work at night in order to avoid interfering with visitors during the the 3D laser scanning and photogrammetric work.

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