Digital Survey and Interpretation
Since its inception in 1908, the Royal Commission has established a reputation for maintaining an expertise in, and developing standards for, the survey, interpretation and reconstruction of historic buildings and archaeological sites. Since the purchase of our first Electronic Measuring Device (EDM) in 1984, we have striven to encompass innovative digital technologies into our work in order to further and improve our understanding of the heritage of Wales.
The Survey and Investigation Team utilises a wide range of digital survey techniques in the survey of diverse heritage of Wales. Total Station Theodolites (TST) survey, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) survey, airborne laser scanning (LiDAR), terrestrial laser scanning, photogrammetry and giga-pixel photography are employed to provide detailed, highly accurate 3-dimensional recording of sites, landscapes, structures and buildings. This data is both archived in the National Monuments Record of Wales, creating an enduring record of the site for future consideration, and is the essential basis for understanding and interpretation of a monument.
Digital interpretation is a fast-developing area of the Survey and Investigation Team’s work. The use of 3D computer modelling, gaming platforms, 360⁰ high-resolution photographic spheres and Virtual Reality provides an important research tool within our understanding of how a site was built and developed. These techniques also give us exciting new opportunities in disseminating our research to audiences in a way that allows for clearer understanding and fuller appreciation of their heritage.
As well as creating entirely digitally born records and resources, the Royal Commission’s in-house Digitisation Unit works to digitise our historic archive. This includes thematic programmes of collections to aid our research projects, digitisation to make our archive more accessible to the public, and programmes of conservation work to ensure the preservation of vulnerable items.
Sharing Our Digital Past is a free resource explaining more about our work with digital technologies and showcasing our animations, laser scanning fly-throughs and 3D models.