Having spent the past few days immersed in what the folks in Scotland are now calling “digital documentation” or “digidoc” for short I am beginning to realize that this application of 3D laser scanning (and other imaging technologies) is less about geometry and more about culture, or perhaps human interaction.
In the plant, infrastructure, BIM, construction, forensics, mining, you name it the goal is quite simple – document in 3D the as-found real world, or as Autodesk likes to say capture reality. With this accomplished the required 3D spatial relationships can be derived – game over.
In the digidoc world 3D data is just the beginning of the documentation process. The real goal is to re-create cultural heritage, not provide dimensionally accurate 3D images. This is a much more challenging problem/opportunity because as they say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. What one person might think of as interesting and informative image might leave the next person wondering what they are looking at.
I suppose in the end it is really about visualization, but each human brain ( the most powerful CPU on earth) is different. Finding the right balance of science and art is much more of a challenge with digidoc, and what makes this application so intriguing.
Historic Scotland previewed a 25 minute, high end movie of the work they are doing with the Scottish 10 project and partners like the Glasgow School of Art and CyArk at a DigiDoc 2011 social event last night. There was also a single malt whiskey tasting event that was a lot of fun and very educational, or so it was billed.