1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Notre Dame's post-fire restoration could be aided by a digital replica

By Polycount ยท 17 replies
Apr 15, 2019
Post New Reply
  1. If you haven't been tuning in to non-tech news lately, you may not be aware that Notre Dame Cathedral -- one of France's most well-known historical landmarks -- was recently the unfortunate victim of a major fire. Earlier today, the roof of the Cathedral was effectively an inferno, with massive plumes of smoke rising toward the sky. The blaze was visible from several hundred yards away. In some pictures that capture the devastation, the smoke can even be seen from the other side of the city.

    To say this incident is unfortunate would be a massive understatement. Notre Dame's history not only makes it a popular tourist attraction but also a major source of national pride for French residents. The Cathedral contains several artifacts and architectural elements that are likely already lost, or will be soon. Indeed, as reported by Yahoo News, the Cathedral's central spire has already crashed to the ground, wiping out "centuries of heritage."

    Fortunately, there's good news in the middle of the disaster, too. For starters, the fire is not suspected to be the result of foul play. Second, firefighters have extinguished the bulk of the blaze and saved most of the Cathedral's remaining architecture. Finally, the damage that has been done already may not be too significant a loss in the long run.

    Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Andrew Tallon, Paris officials might be able to use 3D models of Notre Dame to eventually restore the landmark to its original glory. Tallon created a digital archive of the building in 2015 by using laser scanning technology. He has used this tech to do the same for numerous other Gothic cathedrals throughout the world.

    In a National Geographic video published back in 2015, Tallon described the process as follows:

    I had to set up a network of targets, which are just geo-located points in space. And you define the density of the scan, [the resolution of the scan], and then you let it rip. [The laser scan] sends out a beam and it measures the amount of time it takes for the beam to be emitted from [its laser device] to whatever it hits, and the time it takes to get back.

    The video below shows Tallon's process used on a different monument than Notre Dame (the Washington National Cathedral, however it showcases the same study he performed in Paris' historic landmark.

    Tallon's scanning tech can create extremely-accurate, "rich" 3D models of any given building. Though we don't have the specific numbers regarding his Notre Dame model, similar work Tallon has performed (such as his Canterbury Cathedral recreation) in the past involved a "five billion point laser scan" and roughly 100GB of stored data.

    Dr. Andrew Tallon's laser scanning tech in action at the Washington National Cathedral.

    Tallon's scans are so accurate that he may have discovered why some of Notre Dame's pillars don't line up: apparently, they could have been originally built around existing structures, which gives us some interesting insight into the building's past. Whether or not Tallon's work will be made available to future Paris restoration professionals remains to be seen, as he tragically passed away in 2018.

    Permalink to story.

  2. CFArch

    CFArch TS Rookie

    This 3D scanning should be done on every important building in order to conserve them even after a tragedy like the one of the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris.
  3. Tantor

    Tantor TS Enthusiast Posts: 43   +59

    My gut tells me it wasn't an accident. The investigation will be interesting.
  4. Catweazle

    Catweazle TS Booster Posts: 68   +65

    It was under renovation and surrounded by scaffolding so it seems likely to be accidental. I imagine a piece of equipment or a careless worker was probably the cause.
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  5. Torshok

    Torshok TS Rookie

    Quite usefull for the government in france trying to hide the wrath of the people.

    all those puppet acting shocked about the legacy of france while they re giving away AirFrance to private companies, what a bunch of hypocrite.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,005

    Or possibly a thorough background check of a radical fundamentalist wasn't done correctly, and he or she was hired as a worker to take part in the "restoration".

    You could imagine or consider an attack on the Cathedral of Notre Dame, at least on a par with an attack on our World Trade Center towers, maybe worse.

    Were the fire premeditated, it's more symbolic than the twin towers, but without, (thankfully), the death toll.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    Capaill and Toju Mikie like this.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,005

    Gosh, here in the US, we don't have a single government owned and operated airline. Are you suggesting we're doing it wrong?
    BMAN61 likes this.
  8. gamerk2

    gamerk2 TS Maniac Posts: 254   +159

    And the biggest irony is the France government will finally have the money to renovate Notre Dame properly, thanks to all the donations they'll be getting.
    Toju Mikie likes this.
  9. Toju Mikie

    Toju Mikie TS Addict Posts: 101   +118

    Beautiful building, even though I've only seen it on Assassin's Creed Unity
  10. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,198   +1,625

    And sometimes stuff just happens since we are all imperfect people. Of course if a person is careless, the odds increase.
  11. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 896   +497

    While it is possible that it was malicious - in which case we'll likely see similar fires at other historical buildings - I'm more inclined to believe that the renovators were storing strong chemicals incorrectly. I think it would take a lot for a fire to catch on a stone building.
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  12. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 896   +497

    "By Cohen Coberly, Today 7:07 PM"

    Where is TechSpot based? Because it's only after 3pm in Europe now and morning in the States. Yet the article writer discusses the spire collapsing "today". And the forum suggests TS is based in US Central: "April 16, 2019 8:17 AM"

    Can TechSpot standardise the timestamps a bit?
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  13. elementalSG

    elementalSG TS Booster Posts: 114   +94

    It just never ceases to amaze me on how ingenious the ideas are for uses of computers. Scanning the entire Notre Dame to save a 3D digital rendering of it, absolutely brilliant!
  14. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    Just set everything to UTC and be done with it.
    Capaill likes this.
  15. dogofwars

    dogofwars TS Addict Posts: 181   +72

    Sad for the building and people who worship but really Paris is becoming a thing that only rich people can afford and I am sure the building around cost even more because of speculation. Keeping out even more so of the population that are not well off. At least in the positive that might slow down the speculation in the area in Paris.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,005

    Apparemtly, a concern for the French in the restoration of Notre Dame, is the fact they no longer have the sufficiently tall, old, oak forests they would need from which cut the ceiling beams.

    Which is quite sad in the overall way in which we've destroyed our planet...

    This isn't really a new thing or concern. The forests of Portmore, Ireland were destroyed to build castles and ship as far back as the 1600's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonny_Portmore

    Sentimental old fool that I am, I thought this ancient lament performed by Loreena McKennitt might be thought provoking.

    Capaill likes this.
  17. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 731   +563

  18. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 896   +497

    Go hiontach, go raibh maith agat.
    captaincranky likes this.

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...