The race to digitally preserve Ukraine’s buildings and monuments
Photogrammetry and 3D scanning will aid future rebuilding efforts. They will also help tell the story of the war.
Outside the Dominican Church in Lviv’s historical centre, Yuriy Prepodobnyi carefully positions a laser scanner on a tripod, lining up its sightlines with the external walls. Some 1,000 kilometres east, in the centre of Kharkiv, Serhii Prokopenko painstakingly photographs the half-concealed monument of Taras Shevchenko, a Ukrainian poet (see video, below). He inches around the sandbags that protect it in order to capture every angle.
These efforts will lead to the creation of highly accurate, three-dimensional digital copies of buildings and monuments. Such records are produced by taking measurements of an object’s surface from multiple points—either by using lasers or by combining together hundreds of photographs in a technique called photogrammetry. The points, which have X, Y and Z co-ordinates, are then digitally engineered into a “point cloud”: a precise outline of the object in question, formed by millions of dots marking each point’s place in space...