Terrestrial laser scanning for heritage conservation: the Cologne Cathedral documentation project

Douglas Kenneth Pritchard*, Joerg Sperner, Sophie Hoepner, Ruth Tenschert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
392 Downloads (Pure)


Contemporary terrestrial laser scanners and photogrammetric imaging systems are an invaluable tool in providing objectively precise, as-built records of existing architectural, engineering and industrial sites. The comprehensive three-dimensional (3D) recording of culturally important sites such as heritage buildings, monuments, and sites can serve a variety of invaluable purposes; the data can assist in the conservation, management, and repair of a structure, as well as provide a visually engaging educational resource for both the public and scholars. The acquired data acts as a form of digital preservation, a timeless virtual representation of the as-built structure. The technical capability of these systems is particularly suited for the documentation of a richly articulated and detailed building such as the high Gothic Cologne Cathedral. The 3D documentation of the Cologne Cathedral UNESCO World Heritage Site is a multiphase project developed by Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh in partnership with the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, and the Metropolitankapitel der Hohen Domkirche Köln Dombauhütte. The project has also received generous support from Zoller + Fröhlich (Z+F) and the City of Cologne.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-220
Number of pages8
JournalISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2017
Event26th International CIPA Symposium 2017 - Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Duration: 28 Aug 20171 Sept 2017


  • 3D
  • Cologne Cathedral
  • Gothic architecture
  • heritage conservation
  • Terrestrial laser scanning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Instrumentation


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