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The technology that can help rebuild Notre Dame

The technology that can help rebuild Notre Dame

3D scanning can be a vital source of information for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral to return it to its pre fire grandeur.

On April 15, the Picture of Notre Dame on fire It kept thousands of people around the world on edge for hours. The cathedral is not only a symbol of Paris and one of the most visited monuments in the world, but it is also one of the largest exponents of gothic architecture. Its artistic, cultural and historical value is incalculable.

Last Monday’s fire has turned out to be the biggest disaster of the 850 years of history of Notre Dame. The moment in which the image of the central needle detaching became viral, feared the worst. However, the bulk of the structure, as well as the façade and the two main towers have withstood the siege of fire. The main damage has been concentrated on the aforementioned spire, the wooden frame of the roof, the rosettes, the vaults and the organs.

The architectural framework and the rapid evacuation work have allowed save the structure and works of art of great relevance. The great unknown to be resolved is whether it will be possible to undertake the restoration tasks, how to carry them out, and how much time and money will be necessary to spend.

In these moments of uncertainty, an option has emerged that could provide solutions, with the aim of restore the original grandeur of Notre Dame: the laser scanner. It is a technology based on the use of laser pulses to measure real distances and obtain a three dimensional structure on the computer.

Over a billion data points

Professors Stephen Murray and Andrew Tallon used this technique to scan the complete structure of the cathedral and measure the exact position of the walls, ornaments and the ceiling. This work was part of the Mapping Gothic France project, a database through which to explore the history of French Gothic architecture.

The 3d scan taken by Tallon took more than 50 360 degree panoramic photos of the cathedral and extracted more than billion data points.

This enormous source of information already revealed in 2015 the severe structural damage which featured the western end of Notre Dame. Now, it can have a crucial value when it comes to starting the reconstruction work and helping the Parisian cathedral to recover its splendor. Let’s hope so.