“We are documenting historic buildings using the laser scanner to capture the surface data of everything around it,” said Will Rourk, a 3D specialist with the UVA Library who also teaches a class at the Architecture School called “3D Cultural Informatics,” taught in collaboration with Andy Johnston, an architectural history professor and director of the Program in Historic Preservation. “That includes the building, the site that the building sits on and all the things around it. Then we have multiple data sets that we bring together into one data set, and then you have a record of this entire building, inside and out.”
The laser scanners generate a point every time they hit a surface in space and then measure the space between each point, creating a 3D record. Once Rourk and his students complete gathering the raw data, they process it in the classroom and the information will be part of a record that goes into the UVA Library.
While the alumni were detailing the history of the school and the UVA students were scanning the building, Rourk was working in the attic, scanning a space in which he could not stand.
“Attics are super difficult, but that is where you find the most information about the structure of the building, about the materials, about how it stands up,” Rourk said. “Everything is revealed in the attic because there is nothing up there to cover it up.”