Mapping Old With New: Handheld 3D Laser Scanning Of Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre

Recently, Oxford Robotics Institute partnered with the Sheldonian Theatre and Hilti, a multinational construction equipment company, to use 3D laser scanning to develop the next generation of digital mapping technologies.

Digital mapping is used to create detailed, accurate, and up-to-date digital representations of physical spaces using a variety of sensors and algorithms.

Digital mapping has many applications, including robotics, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality, location-based services, and more. They include geospatial mapping, 3D mapping, indoor mapping, and augmented reality mapping.

Overcoming the Challenges of 3D Laser Scanning

Producing 3D laser scans can be challenging as many considerations need to be made. For instance, this endeavor was labor-intensive and required expensive technical equipment.

Researchers from the Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI) addressed this problem by developing lightweight handheld devices capable of mapping many features, including buildings, in just a matter of hours.

The development of these small, portable devices equipped with various sensors has made it possible to digitally map a wide range of environments, including both indoor and outdoor spaces.

These devices, which are often handheld, can be used to collect data about a given space’s physical features and characteristics. They might include the shape and size of objects, the location and orientation of features, and the texture and color of surfaces in what is being termed simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)

One example of a small handheld device used for digital mapping is a laser scanner (LIDAR), which uses lasers to measure the distance between the device and objects in the environment.

Through 3D laser scanning, these laser scanners can be used to create highly accurate 3D models of physical spaces and are often used in surveying, engineering, and architecture.

3D scanning services offer a digital mapping technology that uses lasers, cameras, or other sensors to create detailed, three-dimensional models of physical objects or spaces. It can help researchers understand the architecture of old buildings such as the Sheldonian Theatre by creating a highly accurate and detailed digital model of the building’s structure and features.

Using 3D laser scanning, researchers can capture detailed information about the shape, size, and position of various features of the building, such as columns, arches, and ornamentation. This information can be used to study the design and construction of the building, as well as to identify any changes or alterations that may have been made over time.

In addition to studying the architecture of old buildings, 3D scanning can also be used to identify and document any structural issues or deterioration that may be present. This information can help researchers understand the condition of the building and develop strategies for preserving and protecting it.


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