2nd SEAHA Conference, Oxford

I have arrived back in Edinburgh after spending  2 fantastic days in Oxford at the 2nd International Conference on Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA). I had the pleasure of listening to some great speakers during the 8 sessions on topics ranging from Imaging and the Environment to Digitisation. The conference also offered a great range of breakout sessions: my choices were a tour of the conservation department at the Ashmolean Museum led by Mark Norman and a heritage tour of Oxford by Professor Heather Viles.


Part of the conference was also a poster session, where I participated with a poster on 3D moisture mapping. Using Skelmorlie Aisle in Largs as an example, I combined 2D image data from microwave moisture meters with 3D point cloud data from laser scanning using the functionalities of Leica Cyclone software. This method of presenting image-based data enables much clearer communication of scientific data, such as moisture levels, and in some cases can aid interpretation of the results. The same workflow can be applied for thermal (IR) images and other image-based data. In fact, the application of both thermal and moisture data to the Skelmorlie Aisle point cloud (in different areas, of course) is the next step of the project.

My poster has been included in the book of abstracts, which can be found as a PDF on the SEAHA website.

3D moisture mapping: combining image-based data and 3D point clouds

Sofia Antonopoulou, Historic Environment Scotland

3D moisture mapping is a collaborative project between the Digital Documentation and Science teams at Historic Environment Scotland, which aims to develop a method for analysing and presenting the environmental behaviour of historic buildings by combining different datasets. In this case, environmental information in the form of 2D moisture maps is overlain on 3D geometric data from laser scanning. The resulting datasets retain the colour-coded environmental information (moisture levels) with the spatial accuracy of 3D laser scans, thus creating a metrically accurate 3D model of the environmental condition of a building. This can be used as a tool for analysis, interpretation, and presentation of image-based environmental data for the purpose of informing conservation decisions. The case study focuses on Skelmorlie Aisle, a 17th century chapel in Largs, Scotland. The Science Team at Historic Environment Scotland have been regularly monitoring and analysing the environmental conditions inside the chapel, collecting data on temperature and moisture levels. In the case study, the data from microwave moisture meters (2D moisture maps) are combined with laser scan data (3D point clouds) captured by the Digital Documentation Team. The methodology developed for 3D moisture mapping can also be applied for other image-based information, such as thermal imaging.

The SEAHA conference was an incredible opportunity for me to listen to some really interesting presentations and find out more about current research on heritage science. I was able to chat to some very knowledgeable people about all things heritage, be inspired by them, and get insight and ideas on a variety of issues – even potentially finding solutions to some practical (digital documentation) problems, but more on that to follow…

For a full account of what went on at the conference, follow the SEAHA blog here.

Saying goodbye to Oxford on Wednesday with a walk around the city centre (and a rather long visit to Blackwell’s on Broad Street) brought me back in front of the Sheldonian Theatre to have a last look at the Emperor Heads. Until next time Oxford.

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One of the Emporor Heads outside the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. Apparently, no one knows exactly who or what they are meant to be. My favourite theory is that they represent a history of beards. This guy at least looks pretty Greek to me…

Whithorn Priory 3D prints

Whithorn Priory holds an important collection of early medieval carved stones, which has been digitally documented in its entirety by HES Digital Documentation. 3D digital models of the objects had already been created using different methods such as structured-light scanning and SfM photogrammetry. Most of the models had also been 3D printed, except for 6. These were eventually printed in January 2016, thus completing a 3D printed collection of the Whithorn Priory carved stones in 1/10 scale.

The images below show the prints before and after the support material covering them had been cleaned off. One of the highlights of the collection is the Monreith Cross, one of the tallest stone crosses found in Galloway. The Whithorn Priory museum has an excellent online database of the carved stone collection, seen here.

3d moisture mapping


Poster of the 3D moisture mapping project presented at the Digital Past 2016 Conference, 10-11 February, in Llandudno, Wales.

The 3D moisture mapping project is an attempt to combine 2D image-based environmental data (in this case microwave moisture maps) with 3D point clouds. The resulting datasets retain the colour-coded environmental information (moisture levels) with the geometric accuracy and spatial data of 3D laser scans.

The process is based on the standard cube mapping workflow for colourising point clouds and is still under development. The next research step will focus on refining the process of matching the environmental images to cube faces, which so far has been done in Photoshop using common transformation tools.

This project is being developed as a collaboration between the Digital Documentation and Science teams at Historic Environment Scotland. The building selected for the case study is Skelmorlie Aisle in Largs.