Specialist survey techniques, such as photogrammetry and laser scanning, are a fundamental component of any heritage project.
Often referred to as metric or measured survey, they provide visual and metrically accurate base data for a variety of heritage applications including conservation planning, condition surveys, decay monitoring, recording, architectural analysis, archaeological investigation and site presentation.
Here you can learn about the following apects of these methods:
Laser scanning provides a fast, automatic method of recording historic places using laser light for measuring in 3D.
Recent developments in multi-image photogrammetry and machine vision have led to increased use of Structure-from-Motion (SfM) across aerial, terrestrial and close-range applications. SfM allows three-dimensional structures to be derived from two-dimensional image sequences. An application of this technique has included examining Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry of artefacts from Rievaulx Abbey as a means of recording for the English Heritage Curatorial Team at Helmsley Archaeological Store.
You can download some of these recent examples of applying SfM and laser scanning as Research Reports:
- A survey of the historic carvings at Carlisle Castle, Cumbria, using Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry and terrestrial laser scans.
- Church of St Edward and the Market Place, Leek, Staffordshire: Geospatial Survey of Standing Medieval Cross.
- Examining Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry of artefacts from Rievaulx Abbey as a means of recording for the English Heritage Curatorial Team, Helmsley Archaeological Store.
Historic England has produced new technical guidance about 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.
Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) is an innovative multi-light imaging technique that utilises a pre-fabricated dome to produce an interactive output for revealing subtle surface relief.
Survey standards and specifications
Use of a defined survey standard allows:
- An understanding of the project requirements by both client and end-user
- Data consistency
- Management of client expectation
- A focus on what an end-user needs from a survey technology.
Metric Survey Specifications for Cultural Heritage
To ensure metric survey data is both appropriate and 'fit for purpose', Historic England has developed a standard specification for metric survey.
Now in its third edition this document includes all metric survey techniques that are currently applied across a range of heritage applications. This includes laser scanning, multi-image photogrammetry/Structure-from-Motion (SfM), the capture of low level aerial imagery using Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) and Building Information Modelling (BIM), that are all being increasingly applied across cultural heritage professions.
The title ‘Metric Survey Specifications for Cultural Heritage’ reflects a more generic approach to specification as now used by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
There are further client guides available from The Survey Association.
Building Information Modelling (BIM)
BIM is a process of illustrating, in digital terms, all the elements that compose a building. It allows a project team to collaborate and create a single source of data that assists construction, estate & facilities management processes throughout the life-cycle of a building.
Within Historic England an internal BIM Special Interest Group (BIMSIG) is considering the impact of BIM across heritage through the Heritage Science Strategy. Historic England commissioned consultants Ramboll to produce a report on the application of BIM for heritage science contexts.
We have also produced guidance on developing a BIM model for historic buildings.
Geospatial Imaging Manager
Paul Bryan heads up the York-based Geospatial Imaging team that takes the corporate lead across Historic England on applying modern image and laser based survey approaches across heritage. Awarded Fellowship of the RICS in 2013 he has extensive knowledge of image based survey including photogrammetry, laser scanning, low-level aerial imaging using drones and is the Historic England lead on Building Information Modelling (BIM) for Heritage.
Also of interest...
Historic England experts use airborne remote sensing methods to identify, record and monitor the condition of heritage assets
Historic England experts investigate how geophysics and specialist survey methods can be used to learn about heritage assets
Techniques like reconstructions, archaeological or analytical site illustration, infographics and film help people to understand and enjoy heritage.
How to survey historic places to the best standard possible, using our wide-ranging technical survey guidance.
Join our expert-led five day course introducing the theory and practice of measured survey and photographic techniques for recording heritage
Find out what a Geospatial Imaging Analyst might do.