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English Heritage project captures ancient monument and its surrounding landscape in unprecedented detail to aid further studies and understanding

Monday, Oct 24, 2011 5:00 AM

Research Triangle Park, NC, USA. 25 October, 2011 – Geomagic, the leading provider of 3D software for creating and inspecting digital models of physical objects, has announced that its 3D imaging and reverse engineering software, Geomagic Studio, has been used to create the highest resolution, most dimensionally accurate 3D digital model ever of the world-famous, 5000 years old monument, Stonehenge, in England.

The project has been undertaken by surveying and 3D laser scanning specialists Greenhatch Group Ltd. on behalf of English Heritage, who are the custodians and conservators of Stonehenge as well as many other historical monuments, buildings and ancient sites across England.

Together with Atkins Mapping and Archaeo-Environment Ltd., Greenhatch used short- and long-range laser scanners from Z+F UK and Leica Geosystems, along with other survey equipment, to digitally capture all the visible faces of the standing and fallen stones, as well as the tops and faces of the lintels, to a resolution of +/- 0.5mm. Surveys of all the stone faces to this level of accuracy have never been achieved before. The surrounding landscape was also captured as part of the overall project to create the most accurate 3D digital model ever of the monument.

Precise 3D digital models

The data captured by the scanners was read into Geomagic Studio software where it was processed to create highly accurate 3D digital polygon mesh models of the individual stones and the surrounding landscape. The individual stones could then be placed digitally in their correct positions to create a highly accurate 3D virtual model of the whole monument, which in turn could be placed accurately within the virtual model of its real-world context.

The digital models are being used for a number of purposes. They provide a precise base-line to enable English Heritage to monitor the physical condition of the monument, which is subjected to daily weathering. They are also a valuable resource to anyone wishing to produce reconstruction models, drawings or images for public understanding and interpretation and to create animation sequences. This will allow experts from English Heritage to fly virtually through and over the monument from different perspectives in order to aid their studies of the stones – and for their work on the proposed new visitor centre at Stonehenge.

Commenting on the scale of the project and its benefits, Andrew Dodson, director, Greenhatch Group, said, “Many of the raw 3D point cloud files from the scans of the stones comprised up to 50 million points, or 1.5 GB of data, each. Without the advanced point cloud processing capabilities of Geomagic Studio we would not have been able to convert them into the accurate 3D digital polygon models that this project demanded.”

“As well as helping people to understand how Stonehenge was built and how it has been changed at certain times in the past”, he added, “the 3D virtual models that have been produced with Geomagic Studio hold out the promise of enabling people to find out the secrets that lie within the eroded surfaces of these ancient stones. They will therefore add greatly to the English Heritage store of knowledge of Stonehenge.”

An online version of the animation is available at: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about/news/3d-stonehenge-model-unveiled/

About English Heritage

English Heritage champions England’s historic places and advises the United Kingdom Government and other bodies on how to help today’s generation get the best out of England’s heritage and ensure that it is protected for future generations. Most of the funding for English Heritage comes from the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, with the remainder coming from donations and commercial activities.

With over 400 sites in England that are open to the public, 11 million visitors to its various sites each year and nearly 750, 000 members, English Heritage looks after 10 million photographs, plans and surveys that are publicly accessible and advises on 17, 000 planning applications each year. For more information, go to: www.english-heritage.org.uk

About Greenhatch Group

Tracing its origins back some 30 years to the time when it operated as a partnership that offered surveying services mainly to the quarrying and mining industries, Greenhatch Group today operates from three offices in the UK and one in Poland and employs over 70 staff. Highly specialised and suitably qualified staff operate within five separate disciplines, each having its own dedicated department and specific range of technical resources. The disciplines offered include topographical surveys, measured building surveys, 3D laser scanning, engineering and setting-out services and underground utility surveys. For more information, go to: www.greenhatch-group.co.uk

About Geomagic

Geomagic (www.geomagic.com) is a global company dedicated to advancing and applying 3D technology for the benefit of humanity. Geomagic’s scanning and design software solutions are used to capture and model 3D content from physical objects, organically sculpt complex shapes, and prepare products for manufacturing. In addition, the company produces powerful 3D metrology and inspection software that verifies dimensional quality by comparing as-built products to master designs. Geomagic’s Sensable Phantom haptic devices simulate the sense of touch in a digital environment. 

Geomagic’s software and hardware are utilized by world-class customers in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, consumer products, toys, collectibles, coindesign, jewelry, fine art, heritage restoration, research, education, mold making, entertainment, training and surgical simulation. In fact, some of the world’s leading companies and research organizationsuse Geomagic software, including Ford, BMW,Boeing, Harley DavidsonTimberland, Mattel/Fisher Price, Lego, Pratt & WhitneyNASA, Schneider Electronic, 3M, Danaher and Invisalign. Geomagic is based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., USA, with an office in Boston, subsidiaries in Europe and Asia, and channel partners worldwide.

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Media Contact:

Rachael Taggart
Geomagic, Inc.
+(1) 919-474-0135
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