Surveying and Recording Heritage
Historic England produces technical advice on how to survey historic places to the best standard possible. This section provides an introduction to our technical advice.
Click on the quick links to guidance here:
- Metric Survey Specifications for Cultural Heritage
- 3D Laser Scanning
- Photogrammetric Applications for Cultural Heritage
- Using airborne lidar in archaeological survey
- The Presentation of Historic Building Survey in CAD
- BIM for Heritage: Developing a Historic Building Information Model
- Traversing the Past: landscape survey
- Where on Earth Are We: GPS in archaeological field survey
- With Alidade and Tape (earthwork survey)
or find out more about each guidance theme below. Please note free PDF downloads are also available by clicking on each guidance publication.
Metric Survey Specifications for Cultural Heritage
This document contains both descriptions and illustrations of the required standard and its important constituent parts such as data capture, selection and presentation.
Sections 1 - 3 describe the general terms, performance and presentation requirements common to all services.
Sections 4 - 8 contain standards specific to image-based survey, measured building survey, topographic survey , laser scanning and Building Information Modelling (BIM) respectively.
Measuring and Sensing
The third edition of 3D Laser Scanning for Heritage, published in 2018, provides updated advice and guidance to users on laser scanning in archaeology and architecture. This documents covers the variety of new surveying and imaging technologies being developed and applicable to heritage including pedestrian and vehicle based mobile mapping systems. The guidance is supported by a number of case studies.
We have produced new technical guidance relating to the archaeological application of photogrammetry with particular reference to Structure from Motion (SfM) techniques. This new publication raises awareness of the issues that are commonly encountered and the many potential uses for photogrammetry across a wide variety of scales, ranging from landscapes to small objects.
Using airborne lidar in archaeological survey
These guidelines are designed to help those intending to use airborne laser scanning (ALS), also known as lidar, for archaeological survey.
The aim is to help archaeologists, researchers and those who manage the historic environment decide first whether using lidar data will actually be beneficial in terms of their research aims and then how it can be used most effectively.
The Presentation of Historic Building Survey in Computer Aided Draughting
This document provides guidance on the presentation of digitally created CAD survey drawings. It focusses on presenting digital drawings to a standard equivalent to those achieved by traditional draughting techniques, thus leveraging the many advantages of a digital format without a significant loss of quality or of the information conveyed.
BIM for Heritage: Developing A Historic Building Information Model
Historic BIM is, by definition, a multi-disciplinary process that requires the input and collaboration of professionals with very different skillsets. It is also a fast-developing field in terms of research, official guidance, standards and professional practice. This publication addresses the issues surrounding the production and use of BIM for historic buildings, and provides information about guidance and standards available elsewhere for managing a building’s entire life cycle effectively.
Traversing the past the total station theodolite in archaeological landscape survey
This guidance covers the electronic Total Station Theodolite (TST) and its use in landscape archaeology. Metrically accurate surveys underpin the process of observing, recording and understanding archaeological landscapes, and four case studies provide details of some of the processes involved.
Where On Earth Are We? The role of Global Navigation Satellite systems (GNSS) in archaeological field survey
This guidance supports the work of both professional and volunteer groups who wish to develop their use of GNSS technology for archaeological landscape survey, whether the aim is to produce detailed plans of earthwork sites, to collect data for use in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) or for reconnaissance work.
With Alidade and Tape: Graphical and plane table survey of archaeological earthworks
This guidance covers the graphical and plane table survey methods for the recording of archaeological earthworks. It is designed to help anyone wanting to carry out a large-scale (1:1000 or 1:500), detailed survey of an archaeological earthwork site.
Also of interest...
Historic England use a range of specialist survey techniques (Photogrammetry, SfM and laser scanning etc) as an essential part of any heritage project
Join our expert-led five day course introducing the theory and practice of measured survey and photographic techniques for recording heritage
Learn key building investigation, interpretation and recording skills with this practical course.
Gain the skills of landscape archaeology and learn to "read the landscape" by taking part in our three-day course.