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Documenting the World in 3D Versus the Will to Create It

We are becoming experts in documenting the world in 3D using an increasing array of digital tools, but at the same time are we losing our interest and ability to create it?

Image of documenting The Arena in Nimes, France
The Arena in Nimes, France

From an earlier blog post.

I had the great fortune yesterday, thanks to a recommendation from Pierre d’Hauteville at YellowScan, to visit the city of Nimes, France. It was a short, 30 minute train ride, but it transported me back in time more than 2,000 years.

During the Roman Empire, Nimes (pronounced Neem) was second in importance as a city to only Rome itself. That is why it contains some of the most impressive Roman architecture, like the Arena of Nimes and consequently why it is referred to as the “French Rome.”

By contrast, the day before I spent at least a half an hour just standing at the rear of my hotel watching two sky cranes working on a multi-story, non-descript building project. What else can I say, I love construction. It’s in my blood. There is no other explanation I can give.

Having a full day’s worth of travel today to ponder these two contrasting world’s, a number of thoughts come to mind. First, one can’t help but wonder how these amazing buildings, structures and sculptures in Nimes (and all around the world) were created with the only the simplest of tools and technology, at least by today’s standards.

How was it possible to create these monuments to history and civilizations that have survived thousands of years and remain so classic? Or, in the case of the latter have we just been trained to think that this is what is meant by classic architecture? I am sure other civilizations around the world believe that their ancient structures are just as “classic” to their culture.

We use laser scanning and lidar today to document and preserve these examples of the incredible ingenuity of these past generations, but what is going to be our legacy? What will there be of our civilization when someone visits the developed world in 2,000 years from now?

Will smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and the Internet of Things be what we leave as our contribution to civilization, or will it be some type of environmental calamity that I don’t want to even think about.

It was a truly amazing trip to the south of France and it certainly reminds me of the opportunity for growth and reflection that traveling offers. Yes, there is more to the world than 3D laser scanning and lidar.

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Documenting – Documenting


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