Affective Digital Histories – Recreating De-industrial Places

Preliminary base of the Wide Area Digital Model (WADM) of the town of Glossop being created by the Digital Building Heritage Group

Preliminary base of the Wide Area Digital Model (WADM) of the town of Glossop being created by the Digital Building Heritage Group

It’s always nice to be asked to work on someone else’s projects especially when it’s with new collaborative partners and The Digital Building Heritage Group is for the first time assisting the University of Leicester on one of their projects, their AHRC funded “Affective Digital Histories: Recreating De-industrial Places, 1970s to the Present” (Grant Ref: AH/L008025/1 Principal Investigator Prof. Ming Lim). For this project we have been asked to create a wide area digital model (WADM) of the town of Glossop which is in the Borough of High Peak in Derbyshire, UK. Glossop has rich industrial legacy mainly of wool and cotton mills and the urban fabric of the town has developed from the very earliest period of the industrial revolution to accommodate these. For this wide area digital model we are creating we are using a range of techniques including the use of Lidar surface data to generate the surface topography, laser scanning of extant buildings, photogrammetry of buildings and conventional building and street measured survey. The model is intended to operate at a number of scales, not just to represent the surface features. It will have a highly detailed representation of the buildings in the centre of the town as well as incorporating the landscape features further afield and most importantly it’s being designed so that an interesting range of geospatial data sets can be superimposed on it both for public exhibition and also for research and analysis. “Projecting” geospatial data sets onto 2D maps is a very old technique, it was used for instance in the 19th century to plot individual cases of cholera on maps during an outbreak of the disease in London and so trace its source. Mapping geospatial data onto 3D surfaces in real-time allows very much more sophisticated appreciation of complex patterns of data, the way that they vary, are interrelated and change so allowing new appreciations of their significance and connecting previously unrelated phenomena. This includes how the buildings and wider urban fabric of town grow and decline, how goods, people and traffic flow through towns and cities and even how property values change over time to name only a few. It’s also possible to manipulate the data sets and query them to pose what if scenarios and see what the spatial consequences of changes in the data might be when they are “projected” on the 3D terrain and buildings. In doing so the model becomes and interrogative tool of use to a range of disciplines. We are delighted to be working with our colleagues at the University of Leicester on this exciting project – and like all worth-while research it has prompted discussions which open up new areas of speculation and enquiry.

"Quick Scan" of The Howard Town Mill in Glossop. Not intended for direct importation into digital models, we use Faro's Scene software to quickly and accurately draw off dimension of the scanned buildings and build the 3D digital models of them in 3DS Max from scratch. We've found this is the most efficient way of capturing and prepping 3D data for import into mobile device apps.

“Quick Scan” of The Howard Town Mill in Glossop. Not intended for direct importation into digital models, we use Faro’s Scene software to quickly and accurately draw off dimension of the scanned buildings and build the 3D digital models of them in 3DS Max from scratch. We’ve found this is the most efficient way of capturing and prepping 3D data for import into mobile device apps.

About Douglas Cawthorne

Reader in Digital Heritage at De Montfort University.
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