Using Cintoo Cloud to preserve cultural heritage sites


Cintoo Cloud is being used by teams involved in major cultural heritage preservation projects around the world thanks to the benefits it delivers in terms of managing massive point cloud data, documenting sites over time and sharing laser scans with multiple stakeholders.

In 2020, we hosted a webinar with Case Technologies, revealing the challenges preservation teams face when trying to document sites and how Cintoo Cloud is being used to address these.

One of our guests was Johns Hopkins University lecturer, Douglas Pritchard, who highlighted the many challenges cultural heritage sites face, spanning neglect, poor maintenance, excessive tourism, urban encroachment, pollution, extreme weather, sea-level rises and seismic issues.

He remarked how we can easily and quickly scan sites today but that one of the biggest problems then becomes the huge volume of data generated and how it is subsequently managed. Teams need to be able to extract meaningful information from it and circulate it among everyone interested in the project. This could be anyone from the scan team, IT person, conservation team. Some of these people won’t be technical and therefore don’t know how to manipulate point clouds. So, the advantage of an online system that is clear and explicit is that the data can be presented to a variety of people speedily and all around the world.

Douglas first came across Cintoo Cloud being used for two projects, both initiated by Carlo Vientini from the University of Rome Sapienza – Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome and the Medici Chapels in Florence. With the Chapels project, the team performed a whole series of scans, which they were then able to upload to the Cintoo Cloud platform. This meant not only could they visualize the scan data but also interrogate the meta data. This gave them a clear understanding of what had been accomplished on the project and what still needed to be accomplished and use this as a benchmark from which to move forward with further work. Using the platform, they were also able to communicate with a large team who weren’t necessarily all technical, like architects, conservators. project managers and finance directors.

To test the platform out with your own laser scan data and realize the benefits for improving your project workflows, you can do so quickly, easily and for free here: www.cintoo.com/try

Board Members of the Volterra-Detroit Foundation, Paul Albin (author) and Mark Dietrick (Director of Services at Case Technologies), spoke about their extensive project to upgrade a residential college in the ancient city of Volterra in Italy and how by scanning it regularly they’re then using the platform to detect changes and evolutions over time.

In 2016, the Volterra-Detroit Foundation and Case Technologies, along with a range of sponsors including Autodesk, began undertaking an annual Reality Capture workshop at the site, with participants digitally reconstructing and preserving historically significant architectural, archaeological and artistic treasures.

A few years before the workshops started, part of the medieval wall collapsed and there wasn’t adequate documentation of the wall prior to the collapse so much of the restoration was guesswork. Now though, by scanning the site regularly, if something like this were to occur again, the laser scan data would provide accurate details of what was there before to aid restoration.

Using Cintoo Cloud, the project team can see a very high level of detail, which you don’t get when looking at a native point cloud. They can also interrogate their scans, comparing each new scan to earlier ones to identify changes such as erosion.

Another important element of this project is public outreach, so they rely on the platform to democratize the data and let people all over the world view the sites they’ve scanned, giving them a better appreciation for the work they’re doing. People don’t need technical skills to look at the scans, just an internet connection and a browser.

A further benefit of Cintoo Cloud when it comes to viewing these types of historical projects is the ability to stream the data to a VR headset for a more immersive experience. There’s no need to optimize the content as the mesh will be streamed at the highest possible resolution for each scan. It’s possible to move from scan to scan and be immersed in each scan position and the display mode can be set to RGB, Surface and X-ray. Furthermore, users can take point-to-point measurements to assess distances and make notes and comments, further enriching the project meta data being stored in the cloud.

In our pursuit to help preserve culturally important sites around the globe, we’ve teamed up with Our World Heritage, which has been set up to renew and reinforce heritage protection for the next 50 years. On a mission to develop a global network, the organization will be hosting events throughout the year aimed at raising awareness and expanding preservation. We’ll be joining the team for the next webinar on Saturday February 6 to discuss how Cintoo Cloud is helping preservation teams monitor heritage sites. Further details to follow on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

If you’d like to visualize how the Volterra team is using the platform, watch a 3D demo of the Volterra Baptistry Heritage site here: www.cintoo.com 

To discover how Cintoo Cloud can help your team manage and collaborate on the scan data associated with your preservation projects, email us: sales@cintoo.com

All images courtesy of Volterra-Detroit Foundation (Volterra-Detroit Foundation (volterra-detroit.org))