Zebedee images Australian leper colony

A joint initiative between CSIRO (Highett, Victoria, Australia) and the University of Queensland (Brisbane St. Lucia, Queensland) will see Australian researchers use a mobile laser 3-D mapping system to preserve some of the country's oldest and culturally significant heritage sites.

Apr 16th, 2013
Zebedee images Australian leper colony
Zebedee images Australian leper colony

A joint initiative betweenCSIRO (Highett, Victoria, Australia) and the University of Queensland (Brisbane St. Lucia, Queensland) will see Australian researchers use a mobile laser 3-D mapping system called Zebedee to preserve some of the country's oldest and culturally significant heritage sites.

The Zebedee system, which was developed at CSIRO, can scan an environment as an operator walks through it. The system produces a 3-D map as well as an accurate record of the trajectory followed. The primary sensing technology is LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), in which an infrared laser measures ranges to surfaces in the environment.

With the assistance of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services, the research team has already collected data from a number of heritage sites including the 19th century Brisbane River defenses at Fort Lytton and Peel Island's leper colony buildings.

"This technology is ideal for cultural heritage mapping, which is usually very time consuming and labor intensive. It can often take a whole research team a number weeks or even months to map a site with the accuracy and detail of what we can produce in a few hours," says Dr. Jonathan Roberts, director of CSIRO's autonomous systems lab.

"Zebedee has allowed us to capture a detailed record of several key cultural heritage sites ranging from those which are fragile and risk of damage through natural disasters to those which are remote and difficult to get to," says Professor John Macarthur, dean and head of the school of architecture at the University of Queensland.

The researchers will use the maps to create an archive of data about cultural heritage sites, which will allow them to analyze them without costly and time consuming hand measuring.

As an example, the detailed map of Peel Island's many small buildings allowed the researchers to analyze architecture used to racially segregate people within the leper colony. “The point cloud data clearly depicts how cramped and crowded the living quarters for indigenous people were, when compared to the non-indigenous people who lived in their own huts with scenic verandas," says Professor Macarthur.

More details can be found here.

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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor,Vision Systems Design

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