The Technology of the Eastern Qing Tomb's Digital Preservation

A Technology Blog for the Scottish Ten China project

by James Hepher, Alastair Rawlinson
January 18, 2013
This article was written by James Hepher, HS Surveyor, and Alastair Rawlinson, DDS Head of Data Capture.

Weeks Two and Three on the Scottish Ten project here at the Eastern Qing tombs near Zunhua, China, has been all about integrating new cutting edge technology into our busy survey programme.

On Tuesday, Topcon China arrived with their mobile mapping system. We were immediately impressed with the speed and efficiency of both the vehicle and tricycle mounted laser scanners and couldn't resist having a go in/on both, a slightly more comfortable means of travel than Doo Doo the on-site camel.

Topcon representatives were on hand to show us the mobile laser scanning kit. The 6 kilometre long Xiao Ling Tomb lent itself well to this rapid laser scanning and the system has provided a detailed overview of the complex that will dovetail perfectly with our data. We felt very privileged to use the system for recording World Heritage after Topcon representatives explained that the kit is widely used (and in demand) to help map recovery operations after tsunamis and earthquakes.

With four terrestrial scanners working on the Xiao Ling tomb progress was swift and saw the first use of NCTechs iSTAR (instant panoramic photography device). Adam and Justin made quick progress through the set of 3 arch bridges at the entrance to the tomb combining the Leica HDS 6000 and iSTAR. Later James and Al combined 2 Leica C10's and the iSTAR scanning the perimeter wall of the Xiao Ling tomb in a morning.

With the Xiao Ling tomb wrapped up (and disappearing into our rear view mirror) it was time to move on with the terrestrial scanning of the small(er) but perfectly formed Jing Ling Tomb. Our experience at the Xiao Ling tomb has certainly helped and we got off to a flying start with all of the team working on the different elements leading up to the main tomb structures.

James, Kim and Dan took on the Spirit Way using a combination of Laser Scanning and Photogrammetry to document the statues. Al and Lyn began traverses on the fire damaged Great Stele Tower which is currently covered in scaffold and the data will be used to aid the reconstruction while Justin and Adam began work on the exterior of the main tomb. Mike has been really busy running around after us all as usual photographing and filming the Scottish Ten team in action.

After a busy two weeks we have been reviewing the data captured so far with Mr Wang the Director of the Eastern Qing Tombs and representatives from the governments' technical experts at the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage who travelled from Beijing to spend the day with us onsite.

Week Four will see us begin work on the Jing Ling Tomb Courtyard and the Memorial Tower, unlike Xiao Ling the lack of cute small dogs and puppies means the we should be on track to finish the laser scanning in the next few days.
The Topcon supports the project with their mobile mapping system. The first time mobile lidar has been used both on a Scottish Ten and a CyArk project.
Adam Frost and Alastair Rawlinson use the prototype iSTAR instant panoramic imaging device.