Cadalyst

GIS Tech News (#120)

20 Feb, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff


Laser Scanning, Visualization Reveal Art from Bronze Age

Archaeologists analyze previously undiscovered Stonehenge carvings with help of Bentley Pointools.

By Richard Zambuni

While the mysteries of Stonehenge, constructed in England between 3,000 and 2,000 B.C., may never be truly revealed or understood, a recent examination of the historic monument using cutting-edge visualization tools has unearthed some fascinating carvings that date to the Bronze Age. It is not yet known what questions about Stonehenge these carvings will answer, but the project did demonstrate the potential for using laser-scanning and visualization technology on the world's antiquities.

The plan to more closely examine the stone structure began in November 2011 when English Heritage, the U.K. government's statutory adviser on the historic environment, commissioned the most detailed laser scan survey of Stonehenge ever undertaken. During the project, each stone was recorded with point spacing of 0.5 millimeters by the Greenhatch Group survey company. The resulting resource, comprising more than 850 GB of survey data, would lead to new discoveries about the monument.

In April 2012, the enormous task of examining the data was awarded to ArcHeritage, part of the York Archaeological Trust, whose Geomatics and Visualisation team examined the laser scan survey. One challenge was to visualise a large amount of information and identify and isolate very subtle features. Preliminary examination of meshed models showed promising signs of useful information in the data set. For example, individual tool marks more than 5,000 years old could be seen and identified, but there were also tantalizing hints that the data contained prehistoric artwork carved onto the surfaces of the stones.

When ArcHeritage researchers used Bentley Pointools to analyze 850 GB of laser-scanning data, they discovered 72 previously unknown prehistoric carvings.
When ArcHeritage researchers used Bentley Pointools to analyze 850 GB of laser-scanning data, they discovered 72 previously unknown prehistoric carvings.

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Richard Zambuni is the global marketing director, Geospatial and Utilities at Bentley Systems.

Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

GEO North
March 7, 2013
Bolton, Manchester, UK
The GEO events are designed for everyone involved in the capture and application of geospatial information for construction, civil engineering, development, local and national government agencies, professional survey practices, and consultancies. Read more

Preprocessing Point Clouds in Bentley Pointools
March 7, 2013
12 p.m. ET
This webinar will explore Bentley Pointools v8i, a standalone software application for selecting, editing, and segmenting point-cloud models for distribution and reuse. Read more

IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium
July 21–26, 2013
Melbourne, Australia
With the theme "Building a Sustainable Earth through Remote Sensing," this year's event will emphasize the issues that most affect the Earth's environment. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com. Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to news@cadalyst.com.

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I recently read an article by an Intel product manager on the need for "ECC" (error correction code) memory in CAD workstations. From the article: "Corrupted data can impact every aspect of your business, and worse yet you may not even realize your data has become corrupted." Read the CADspeed blog post


About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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