St. Aloysius’ Chapel laser scanning, Ushaw College, Durham

St. Aloysius’ Chapel laser scanning, Ushaw College, Durham

A catch-up post now, for some work the HE Geospatial Imaging team did earlier this month. We were in Durham to help record a Heritage at Risk site: St Aloysius’ Chapel. The interior and exterior were laser scanned using a Leica ScanStation P40 (see featured image above for the laser range image taken from the scanner).

me using P40 at St Aloysius' Chapel
me and the Leica laser scanner

All the data will be used as an aid in advancing conservation of this impressive site: a former Roman Catholic junior seminary chapel dating from 1857-9, designed by Edward W. Pugin in the Gothic Revival style. Several scans were needed to capture all angles of this building’s complex and intricate interior.


There are discussions to define a suitable strategy for the future of the site, and I hope that it will one day be fully restored – it has some wonderful stained glass windows and intricately carved stone details all across it’s interior and exterior window arches.

(site information from the Heritage at Risk register entry for the chapel. Farrington, D. 2015)



Hurst Castle laser scanning: part 2

Hurst Castle laser scanning: part 2

All finished at Hurst Castle by noon Wednesday, with the last bits of fiddly photography on the interiors of the gun battery and watch post (circular buildings are not ideal for rectified photos!). It’s been a great few days with very nice weather, but unfortunately the bright sunlight made for some challenging photography as my shadow constantly got in the way of shots!

It’s been a good opportunity to be refreshed in using GPS systems and working with a Leica total station, with great help from my HE colleagues. The next step now we’re back in the office is to process the data to produce the accurate plans requested – another new process to learn for my placement!

Of course, I had to take some photos of the friendly animals we met on the trip, including Lancelot, the hotel’s ginger tom cat, and two black labs from Hurst Castle who accompanied us on the ferry ride back to dry land.


Hurst Castle WWII watchpost laser scanning

Hurst Castle WWII watchpost laser scanning

It’s the first time I’ve had to take a ferry to site! First built under Henry VIII, Hurst Castle has been greatly modified and developed over the centuries, and was a significant defensive centre during WWII. Our task is to produce architectural drawings of WWII defence features on the site.

So far, two gloriously sunny (but very cold) days of survey work using a Faro laser scanner and Leica total station have allowed us to fully record the interiors and exteriors of two gun batteries and the watch tower in between. This is to better understand their structures to aid in conservation and maintenance.

Standing on the top of the fort’s roof, you get amazing views of the Isle of Wight and surrounding area – but it’s a good job I was securely harnessed by the great team from Vertical Technologies!

Just a little more photography for me to do tomorrow, our last day at this amazing site (for now!).

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Hadrian’s Wall, Segedunum (Buddle Street) laser scanning

Hadrian’s Wall, Segedunum (Buddle Street) laser scanning

From 7th-8th January, the Geospatial Imaging team at Historic England travelled to Wallsend to help record a section of Hadrian’s Wall newly excavated by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, just off the site of the Roman fort of Segedunum. The aim of the work was to laser scan the exposed stonework (using a Faro Focus and Leica P40 laser scanners) to accurately produce digital models of the wall. We also took photos for use in Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry, another method of generating 3D models. The data will all be processed and analysed in the coming weeks.

This is a fascinating section of the wall, far thinner here towards the eastern end of it, compared to the rest, and has evidence of rebuilding dating to the Roman period where parts of it have slumped due to the slippery nature of the soil (as we all found out too soon across two very wet days on site!).

Leica P40 scanner (right on yellow tripod) in action on a very wet winter’s day

Introductions: New year, new blog

Happy 2016! My name is Li, current Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) placement holder in Geospatial Investigation Techniques at Historic England (HE). In essence, I’m being trained to conduct metric survey of heritage and archaeology using techniques like photogrammetry and laser scanning.

I’ve decided the best way to keep track of my exciting work and training with HE over the next year is to blog all about it. Whether there are keen-bean archaeologists, surveyors or heritage enthusiasts out there to read it is another thing…!

I’ll aim to post on a regular basis, and will go through my background and existing work as I blog (since my placement began last November).

Wish me luck!