An Investigation of Quantifying and Monitoring Stone Surface Deterioration Using Three Dimensional Laser Scanning

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Three dimensional laser scanning is considered to be the next generation of documentation methods, however the cost of these technologies remains extremely high and there are both known and unknown limitations of their application. This thesis, therefore, investigates the strengths and weaknesses of 3D laser scanning, identifies potential sources of error, investigates potential uses for the data while focusing on its use for quantifying and monitoring stone surface deterioration, and determines the success of resulting 3D models for communicating conditions information. Additionally, the ambiguity in existing literature regarding success of applications of 3D laser scanning for meeting project objectives, including cost - benefit analyses, indicates this topic warrants exploration. In order to perform this analysis four topics of investigation are followed: 1) Identification of tools for recording and monitoring surface deterioration of stone, which will provided a basis for comparing laser scanning techniques. 2) Identification of recording standards and objectives for heritage sites, which laser scanning methods must satisfy. 3) Identification of stone deterioration types and surface appearance, specifically marble, which laser scanning data will need to represent for conditions analysis. 4) Undertaking a test case study: three dimensional laser scanning of the stone lions at the Merchants’ Exchange Building, Philadelphia, PA, to determine whether the data can be used for conditions surveying and monitoring of surface deterioration on the lions. The coalescence of these topics will provide a datum on which to begin investigating whether or not 3D laser scanning is an appropriate and practicable tool for enabling informed decision making for conservation and heritage management.

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A Thesis in Historic Preservation Presented to the Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of Master of Science in Historic Preservation 2009
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