University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Multi-scalar, multi-sensor, three-dimensional documentation: two case studies exploring the utility of various methods in different environments
Rachel Opitz, Katie Simon, Geoff Avern, Thann Baker, Christine Markussen

Last modified: 2011-12-21


A variety of three-dimensional data capture technologies are becoming increasingly accessible, providing archaeologists with a number of options for digital documentation.  Many questions arise in the wake of this proliferation of technologies. How much can be gained from using a $150,000 laser scanner over photogrammetry with a digital camera and free processing software? Can a mid-range scanner capture sufficient detail on rock art for general documentation? Many factors can influence which technology is most appropriate for a given application and when a combined approach may be more productive.  Through two case studies (one European and one North American), this paper explores the practical use of terrestrial laser scanning, close-range 3D scanning, airborne laser scanning, close-range photogrammetry and 3D vector creation via reflectorless total station, Nikon’s new iSpace system, and 3D digitization from point clouds/meshes. Techniques are contrasted to assess data collection requirements and deliverable quality as well as how such technologies can be used to complement one another.  General data acquisition and processing workflows will be reviewed with particular focus on how multi-sensor, multi-scalar data sets can be practically integrated with options for creating and maintaining semantic data.  In addition, various interpretive 3D vector generation methods will be discussed, focusing on how to fill the void between traditional, in-person, field drawings and the disconnected process of 3D scanning for documentation.


3D Scanning; Data Fusion; Multi-sensor Data Capture