Digital scanning of historic island sites

Arnol Blackhouse was digitally scanned as part of the project.
Arnol Blackhouse was digitally scanned as part of the project.

Historic sites in the Western Isles have been digitally scanned in a futuristic project to archive them for the next generation.

Using cutting-edge 3D technologies, the Historic Scotland Digital Documentation Team were recently on Lewis and Harris where they scanned the Arnol Blackhouse, the Callanish Stones and St Clement’s Church at Rodel.

The programme of work is part of the ambitious Rae Project which is seeking to digitally record all of the 345 sites Historic Scotland looks after, and their associated collections.

A spokesperson for the team said: “The 3D data generated will provide accurate baseline survey information, which can then be used for a variety of different purposes, including climate change and conservation monitoring, to provide educational materials, interpretation aids and to enhance visitor experiences.”

The team has gained a huge amount of experience in 3D heritage documentation through their role in the international Scottish Ten project - which is the digital imaging of ten UNESCO Scottish sites including St Kilda.

The Arnol blackhouse and the surrounding estate was recorded earlier this month and was carried out using a range of different 3D laser scanners.

Control points were installed on the site, which were then recorded using GPS, and a traverse was carried out from these points to gather an accurate, high resolution framework and overview of the entire site.

A high resolution laser scanner was then used to record the buildings in more detail, including interiors, and this data will tie into the framework already captured.

The White House and the ruin of another blackhouse was also recorded in high resolution as part of this survey.