Scottish Ten Heads to Sydney to Scan Opera House

Justin Barton from CyArk reports that their partner the Scottish Ten is preparing for their trip to Sydney Australia to document the Sydney Opera House.

Lyn Wilson, the Scottish Ten project manager, alludes to the complex task ahead: “The Sydney Opera House will present a considerable challenge to the Scottish Ten team. The logistics of capturing 100% data coverage on the sails cannot not be underestimated. The team will be working closely with the SOH building management team to develop a specially designed rig to facilitate scanning from the spines which run along the top of the sails. This will enable complete coverage which is not possible from ground level.


  • Why are they scanning this? It’s not even 40 years old.

    This is at the top of the list? Something is wrong.

    Don’t they have the blueprints?

    What do others think?

    What am I missing here?

  • Blueprints never represent what ends up being built. And I would guess that there were more adjustments made during the construction of this whacky building than during the construction of your run-of-the 4-walled building.

  • So perhaps then are they scanning for claims against the original contractor?

    I fail to see how those deviations matter today. If the building goes away, what difference does it make if they use the original blueprints to re-build it, or this as-built scan data. Either way, to your point Martin, a built or re-built building will ultimately deviate from whatever was intended by the design.

    The point is at least they have modern original blueprints, as opposed to true historic buildings where we only have the building, or what’s left of it.

  • Hi Michael, we will be working on the Digital Preservation of the Sydney Opera House to generate a highly accurate as-built survey record of the structure – which does not currently exist and as Martin states, may deviate from the original drawings.

    It may not be old, but is is recognised by UNESCO for its outstanding contribution to World Cultural Heritage. It is as at risk from fire, accidental damage, terrorism etc. as any older heritage structures. In terms of authenticity, if something were to happen, you would want to rebuild as it actually was, rather as it was supposed to be from blueprints.

    The 3D data will be used for BIM, education and interpretation of the site. I hope you will follow our progress @scottishten .

    Best, Lyn (Scottish Ten Project Manager)

  • You must be kidding Lyn. There is no way this is a legitimate project for world heritage conservation. Who is paying for this and who is behind it? How much did they pay you? No way this is as you state. No way would this be one of the most important things that UNESCO would possibly want preserved in such manner. I could be wrong, perhaps they are as equally misguided.

    I’ve been in the scanning business for nearly 20 years – this project is outrageous to me. It is a ridiculous use of resources that are in dire short supply on a world level. I am shocked that there is not more outrage about this by our scanning community.

    I happen to be writing this post today from one of the most amazing cities in the world – Rome. There are 100’s of amazing sites here alone that you could and should scan before the SOH but I guess you won’t get the money that somebody is paying you.

    If money is in fact the reason behind your project – then just say it and do not say its for heritage purposes because that is completely ridiculous and impossible. I seriously doubt SOH would be on the top 1000 sites in the world that should be scanned.

    As I said above, something is wrong, what am I missing? Will you tell us the truth behind this project or not?

  • Hi Michael,

    To be very clear, we are not receiving ANY payment for this project. The Scottish Ten is a Scottish Government initiative in the spirit of global collaboration and for the development of long-standing heritage management partnerships. The Scottish Ten also contributes to CyArk’s digital preservation mission.

    You can read about the background to the Scottish Ten project here: and here:

    Of course there are many wonderful heritage sites in Rome and elsewhere, but heritage sites do not have to be of a certain age before they merit digital preservation. I’m sure UNESCO would agree with that.

    Best, Lyn

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