The data collected from fieldwork is vast – some scans are made up of 8 billion individual coordinate points, which equates to terabytes of data.
HES, DDS and CyArk store the project data. We also share the information with our partners at each international site, both to aid the site’s conservation and maintenance and so it may be developed for educational and promotional purposes.
The Scottish Ten story began in April 2009 when Ben Kacyra, inventor of one of the first laser scanners, spoke at the Digital Documentation Conference in Glasgow. He talked about CyArk, the non-profit foundation he’d founded in 2003 to build a database of digital information on globally significant heritage sites.
CyArk encourages the use of digital data for conservation and maintenance purposes. The ‘cyber archive’ will also ensure a lasting record of all digitally documented sites – even if the physical structures suffer damage in future.
The CyArk founder later met with Scotland’s then Culture Minister Michael Russell and representatives of then Historic Scotland and The Glasgow School of Art. The Minister committed the Scottish Government to digitally documenting Scotland’s then five World Heritage Sites plus five international heritage sites to contribute to the CyArk mission.
The Scottish Ten project was officially launched at Mount Rushmore – the first international site to be tackled – on 4 July 2009.
Historic Environment Scotland and The Glasgow School of Art's School of Simulation and Visualisation formed a unique partnership in 2010 to pursue the project.
Scottish Ten digital assets, created jointly by Historic Environment Scotland and Glasgow School of Art, are a core part of the Engine Shed experience.
Virtual learning environments created as part of the Engine Shed learning experience rely on these digital assets. For example, interactive 3D models are used to show conservation practice and explore distant heritage sites.
Digital documentation is a focus area for interpretation in the Engine Shed, along with traditional skills, materials and science. It showcases the range and depth of academic and commercial collaboration in both digital documentation and in developing the application of cutting edge technologies for use by the heritage sector.
Data collection at each site involved both Historic Environment Scotland and Glasgow School of Art staff. Data was then processed and developed into heritage visualisation tools at the School of Simulation and Visualisation, Glasgow.
The Historic Environment Scotland team is responsible for conservation applications derived from the data, e.g. CAD drawings or condition monitoring tools.
Local groups and site management teams gave the team invaluable help in preparing for the fieldwork. Their knowledge also helped to identify how data is best developed to aid the long-term conservation and presentation of a site.
Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland is the lead public body established to care for, promote and investigate Scotland’s heritage.
CyArk is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to digitally preserve cultural heritage sites. It does this by archiving and providing open access to data created by laser scanning, digital modelling and other pioneering technologies. CyArk aims to digitally preserve 500 sites over five years.
CyArk stores the 3D data for all of the Scottish Ten sites.
Scottish Ten 3D data is used for a wide range of research and practical applications.
Comparing Scottish Ten data for Maeshowe and Skara Brae with previous or later scans is helping to monitor the condition of the sites. Maeshowe’s Viking rune inscriptions were found to have changed very little between 2003 and 2010. Coastal erosion continues to be closely monitored at Skara Brae.
Antonine Wall app
You can now see what the Roman frontier would have looked like in its heyday thanks to a new app that draws on Scottish Ten scans of sites and artefacts discovered along the Antonine Wall. The interactive app, launched in summer 2016, brings the frontier to life using augmented reality technology.
Glasgow-based Hoskins Architects uses digital models created using our scans of Edinburgh to assess the visual impacts of new developments in Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site area. Our precise modelling enables realistic renderings of new buildings to be created.
PhD and Master’s research
Skara Brae virtual tour
Two students at Oslo School of Architecture and Design are using Oculus Rift technology and Scottish Ten data from Skara Brae to build a 3D virtual reality tour of the Neolithic village.
A University of Liverpool Master of Architecture student is using our St Kilda data to create digital models of planned preservation work, without disturbing the actual sites involved.
Archaeologist Alice Watterson blends digital data capture with creative practice to make original interpretive content for heritage outreach. View the interpretive film about Skara Brae created by Alice and her colleagues using Scottish Ten data.
3D for remote access
Georgina Ritchie used data from Skara Brae as part of her Master’s thesis on remote access options for archaeological sites. Various representations were made of House 7, which is closed to the public. She then asked 80 individuals which of these, if any, had improved their understanding of the interior.
Hidden Landscape of a Roman Frontier
PhD student Nick Hannon will seek to extract maximum use from the Antonine Wall LiDAR data as part of the Hidden Landscape of a Roman Frontier project. Canterbury Christ Church University and Historic Environment Scotland jointly fund the studentship, and research began in October 2015.
This ground-breaking project will:
identify previously unknown Roman infrastructure
add to the debates about the planning and building of the frontier
lead to new discoveries within a rich, multi-period landscape
deliver a highly detailed archaeological map of the wall’s invisible landscape
inform heritage management
Skara Brae data fed into this European project to digitise, in 3D, monuments deemed by UNESCO to be of outstanding cultural importance. 3D-ICONS has added thousands of 3D models to the Europeana Collections online resource.
The Engine Shed has been supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to create Scotland’s dedicated building conservation centre. It enables us to encourage understanding of traditional building materials and skills among the public and professionals and raise standards in conservation for traditional buildings.