Elevated Laser Scanning Enables Monastery Dome and Frescos to be Recorded in High Detail

Sep 30, 2015 | 3D World Heritage Program in Armenia

Another wonderful day of work with beautiful weather at Haghpat Monastery. We have worked two nights and part of the morning and then have been sleeping in the day for last two days. We did the night scanning to minimize disturbance to tourists and activities at the Church site. Scanning and imaging in the St. Nishan Church with its dome and painted frescos and magnificent architecture, was both challenging and exciting. Using a military-grade mast system that we brought to Armenia, we were able to elevate our equipment -both the scanner and the photographic equipment- and remotely control them using tablet and smartphone interfaces. In this way, we were able to stay in close proximity to the surface areas we were documenting, and the data obtained is much higher resolution, more accurate and representative than if we were performing ground based documentation. This area was imperative to document with highest detail for preservation and conservation strategies as well as being able to present these data to the public.

Our scanner on the mast system is collecting data from the top of the dome area in a parallel position

We also were able to continue our GPS survey work today. Bart was amazed at the number of satellites that are available in this part of the world. He has access to the North American, Russian and European satellites here, and it is making for great precision and productivity in collecting data. We now have GPS positions on all of the cultural features, architectural elements, and important attribute and conditional areas. GPS photography is also being acquired, noting areas of management and preservation concern and areas of interest for visitors and researchers. GPS is also being utilized to add control for geolocation in our survey, especially for the scanning and photogrammetry surveys.

Image showing distribution of satellites that are available 

GPS survey of architectural elements at Haghpat        

My routine of work at the site includes the sharing of my morning breakfast with a new friend. A village cat has taken a liking to me (or my breakfast) and follows me around during my survey work outside. She is really affectionate and has been fun having her following me around. 

Haghpat cat friend

When we return to the hotel, the routine continues with data backup and processing to make sure we have recorded all the details we need. Photos are reviewed, scan data is registered and reviewed and all is stored in multiple locations to be sure all is archived.

Initial results from laser scanning are highly detailed and allow critical understanding of the architectural features at Haghpat

The laser scanning data (the Monastery Water Spring is shown here) is accurate to <2mm and provides a detailed documentation of the entirety of the site.

The town people and Church representatives here have been wonderful and so supportive of our work. We plan to finish work this week and take time to scout and perform reconnaissance for future phase work on this important project. More from Armenia tomorrow!

Scanning the exterior wall feature at Haghpat. The area of fired bricks and basalt stone that is shown here is in the oldest section of the wall. High artisan workmanship is noted in both the enclosing wall and in the watchtower areas.

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Website designed by:

 Mighty Fine Design Co.

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