Digital cataloguing of the historical-artistic heritage, with 3D scanning

Digital cataloguing of the historical-artistic heritage, with 3D scanning.

The historical-artistic heritage, public or private, is unrepeatable, we have to physically and virtually preserve it, digitize with a 3d scanner to reproduce it if necessary.

The historical-artistic heritage is a very special form of wealth that we have as a society. It refers to all the things that our ancestors have created and that are very important for understanding our history and culture.

It’s like a treasure they have left us. It includes things like ancient monuments, historic buildings, works of art, sculptures, paintings, books, and ancient documents, and even traditions and customs that have been passed down from generation to generation.

These things are valuable because they teach us how people lived and thought in the past. They help us understand how our society has evolved over time. They allow us to connect with our identity and cultural roots.

Historical-artistic heritage is important because it allows us to learn from the past and avoid making the same mistakes. It also inspires us and helps us be more creative, as we can appreciate artworks and architecture from different eras.

It’s essential to care for and protect this heritage, as once it’s lost, it cannot be recovered. That’s why there are organizations and governments dedicated to preserving it so that future generations can also enjoy and learn from it.

There are various forms of conservation of historical-artistic heritage, to protect and preserve it.
Some of the main ones are:

Restoration: Involves repairing and returning to their original state those works, buildings, or elements damaged or deteriorated by the passage of time, exposure to natural elements, or human actions. The aim is to respect authenticity and original aesthetics.

Preventive conservation: Is a proactive approach that seeks to prevent deterioration and future damage through measures such as humidity control, temperature control, lighting, and security, as well as pest prevention.

Digitization and documentation: Involves creating detailed records of works and monuments through high-resolution photographs, 3D scans, and the collection of relevant historical information. This allows for a digital backup of the pieces in case of loss or damage and also facilitates research and study.
Through high-resolution 3D scanning from Scan3D, we collaborate to make digitization as accurate and detailed as possible.

Education and awareness: Promoting education and awareness of the importance of historical-artistic heritage is key to its preservation. Promoting knowledge of the history and cultural value of these assets can generate greater respect and care for them.

Legal protection: Establishing laws and regulations to protect historical-artistic heritage is fundamental. This can include declaring certain sites as cultural or architectural heritage, imposing restrictions on their alteration or destruction.

Sustainable management: Integrating heritage conservation into urban planning and sustainable tourism development is essential to prevent overexploitation and degradation of historical sites.

Research and monitoring: Conducting constant studies and research on the state of works and monuments, as well as on the most appropriate conservation techniques, allows for informed decisions for their protection.

Community participation: Involving the local community in the conservation and care of historical-artistic heritage helps generate a sense of ownership and shared responsibility.

Often, various strategies are combined to effectively protect cultural heritage for future generations.


The digitization and documentation of heritage are carried out through various techniques and technologies that allow for detailed and accurate capturing of information from artworks and monuments.

Some of the most commonly used techniques include:

High-resolution photography: Professional cameras with high resolution are used to capture detailed images of pieces, buildings, or sites. Photography is taken from different angles and perspectives to obtain a complete view of the work.

3D scanning: Using 3D scanners like those employed by Scan3D, the three-dimensional geometry of artworks or monuments is captured. This technique produces digital models with precise information about the objects’ shape and dimensions.

Photogrammetry: This technique combines photography and image processing to create 3D models from photographs taken from different angles.

Historical documentation: Thorough research is conducted to gather relevant historical information about the pieces or sites, including their cultural context, authorship, dating, and any other significant details.

Scientific analysis: In some cases, non-invasive scientific analyses are performed to obtain additional information about the artworks, such as chemical analyses to determine the composition of materials used.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS): For archaeological sites or natural heritage, GIS is used to create digital maps and georeference the location of findings.

Archives and databases: All captured information is stored in databases and archival systems that allow for later access and consultation.

Virtual and augmented reality: In some instances, virtual or augmented reality technologies are used to create interactive and educational experiences about heritage, enabling people to virtually explore artworks or monuments.

It’s important to note that digitization and documentation of heritage aim not to replace the physical and real experience of being in front of these works but rather to complement and preserve information, making it available to researchers, students, and the general public, even if physical access is limited or restricted. Additionally, the documentation process must be carried out with special care to avoid damaging or altering the original objects or monuments.

We’ll provide an example of how Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are used in the preservation and access of heritage. It’s understood that all objects, constructions, characters, etc., must be previously digitized as 3D models.

Case: Virtual Exploration of Archaeological Sites

Imagine you’re interested in exploring an ancient archaeological site, such as the pyramids of Egypt. Thanks to Virtual Reality, you could have an immersive experience from the comfort of your home:

Virtual Reality App: You download a VR app on your device, like a VR headset or even your VR-compatible mobile phone. These devices allow you to immerse yourself in a three-dimensional virtual world.

3D Exploration: Upon launching the app, you’d find yourself in a three-dimensional environment that simulates the archaeological site. You could virtually walk around, observe the pyramids from different angles, and explore high-definition details.

Interactive Information: By looking at different parts of the pyramids or elements of the environment, informative labels or interactive buttons could appear. Upon touching them, you’d receive information about the history, architecture, and mysteries of the place.

Virtual Guided Tour: You might also have the option of a virtual guide. Imagine the ancient pharaoh taking you on a tour, sharing stories and interesting facts as you move through the site.

In the case of augmented reality, the experience would be slightly different:

Augmented Reality App: You download an AR app on your device, like a tablet or mobile phone. These devices allow you to see virtual elements superimposed on the real world through the camera.

Exploration in the Real World: By pointing your device’s camera at a book, poster, or even a space in your room, you’d see a digital version of the pyramids or archaeological elements appear.

Interaction and Learning: You could tap virtual elements to get detailed information or trigger animations showing how the pyramids were constructed in ancient times.

Both technologies enable people to explore and learn about historical sites and objects in an interactive and educational manner. Furthermore, they can be used to digitally preserve heritage information, ensuring it’s available for future generations even if the original objects deteriorate over time.

At Scan3D, we digitize using high-resolution structured light 3D scanners, which allow the capture of precise measurements of the object, adding photographic texturing with all the details of its surface, including its color, brightness, roughness, transparency, reliefs, occlusion, reflections, etc.

Furthermore, we optimize the obtained data to achieve a hyper-realistic 3D model that can be seamlessly disseminated over the internet, without bottlenecks or delays, and can also be reproduced on any device screen.

Once the 3D presentation starts, maximize
it to full screen to observe the 360º detail

Through 3D presentations, like the one accompanying this post, the object can be observed interactively 360º around it, appreciating the details of its texture, the wear and tear caused by time and its natural colors.

Some museums from all over the world use 3D technology to also disseminate the works they keep and present it to the public that visits them. Some examples with presentations on online platforms may be: Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand, the Brooklyn Museum, New York, the Museum of Jaen, in Spain and others.
Some Center uses 3D presentations of some important piece of the museum as an advertising claim in its marketing strategy, to attract on foot visitors, which can admire some works at home before goin g there.
The British Museum, in London, allow even the free download of some 3D models.