Mapping out a museum

Using 3D laser scanners, a small group of volunteers at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History created high-resolution, 3D digital models of objects and places around the museum.

Using 3D laser scanners, a small group of volunteers at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History created high-resolution, 3D digital models of objects and places around the museum. The main purpose of the scanning was to have an archive of how an exhibit for this era looked so people in the future will know what that museum experience was like, says Adam Metallo of the 3D Lab in the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office.

The scanning also has more immediate uses, as accurate, digital 3D models will make it easier to optimize museum arrangements. In addition, paleontologists will have immediate digital access to fossils that are processed using the 3D scanners.

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