SEE US IN A NEW LIGHT
Bringing a new dimension to the Cathedral’s heritage
In January 2021, Newcastle Cathedral was visited by Gridmark Survey, a team of land survey and geospatial mapping specialists based in the North East and operating across the UK.
Established in 2013, the company are able to use state-of-the-art 3D laser scanning technology to interpret historic buildings in a fascinating new light.
We spoke with Christopher Mooney, Managing Director and Senior Surveyor, about their role in the Cathedral’s ongoing heritage project, Common Ground in Sacred Space.
How was Gridmark Survey approached to carry out this work at Newcastle Cathedral?
We are currently engaged in the current restoration scheme, to assist Historic Property Restoration Ltd and Classic Masonry with site engineering, which is essentially the critical dimensional marking on-site of the groundworks and paving to the new outdoor terrace [in the Cathedral churchyard].
I saw the potential within this wonderful project to showcase and introduce 3D laser scan technology, as I felt that we could revolutionise how the current restoration process of the stonework was being inspected and measured on-site. I wanted to show that we could speed up the process, and be able to safely, and more accurately measure stone masonry, without the need for the erection of scaffolding, and the use of multiple labour to measure specific stonework at height.
How did you and the team find the experience?
Our team consisted of two surveyors who were on site for three days. We loved our time on-site scanning this amazing Cathedral. It was such a rewarding task, capturing millimetre-accurate detailed data of the 14th-century structure’s interior. We were blown away by the data that we downloaded on the evening of each day; the detail displayed in ancient stone masonry, and on hidden-away artefacts up at a height.
What equipment and processes did you use?
Our team were trialling the new state-of-the-art Trimble X7 Laser Scanner. This is a high-accuracy, rapid-fast modern laser scanner, which captures millimetre-accurate reality data. From this data, we then construct a 3D point cloud, which is a scaled digital model of the entire Cathedral.
Any standout experiences or discoveries from your visit?
At my tender age of 34 years, I discovered on the third day of this project that I am probably scared of heights!
We were lucky enough to be given the rare opportunity to access the Cathedral’s Lantern Tower. After climbing up many narrow steps, you are on your hands and knees by the last few. The view over Newcastle from the top is breath-taking, but not for the faint-hearted! We set up the scanner and managed to capture detail from the tower, roof and adjacent buildings around the Cathedral. That data will be added to our 3D model, meaning the climb really was worth it!
How will the data you captured be used, and how have you utilised it already?
We will use this data to assist Newcastle Cathedral during the renovation project, as a timestamp in history of how the Cathedral exactly was in 2021 and showcase to other historic heritage parties what can be achieved using Gridmark Survey’s laser scan technology.
Had you visited the Cathedral before? What was your previous experience/preconception of the Cathedral?
I had not personally been inside the Cathedral before this project but had always wanted to visit. The architecture of the structure, and the heritage that has been preserved of the building, is amazing
Visit their website to find out more about the services they provide.
This work is part of our National Lottery Heritage Fund project, Common Ground in Sacred Space, which is due for completion in summer 2021.
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