Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Presented at Digital Documentation International Conference, Edinburgh 22-23 October 2012.


This paper outlines a new approach for digitally recording cultural heritage sites from laser scan data or photogrammetric data. This approach involves 3D modelling stage and the integration of the 3D model into a 3D GIS for further management and analysis. The modelling stage is carried out using a new concept; Historic Building Information Modelling (HBIM). HBIM uses Building Information Modelling (BIM) software with parametric and procedural modelling techniques to automate the modelling stage. The HBIM process involves a reverse engineering solution whereby parametric objects representing architectural elements are mapped onto laser scan or photogrammetric survey data. A library of parametric architectural objects has been designed from historic manuscripts and architectural pattern books. These parametric objects were built using an embedded scripting language within the BIM software called Geometric Descriptive Language (GDL). Using this embedded scripting language, elements of procedural modelling have also been replicated to automatically combine library objects based on architectural rules and proportions. If required the position of elements can be manually refined while overlaying the automatically generated model with the original survey data. After the 3D model has been generated the next stage involves integrating the 3D model into a 3D GIS for further analysis. The international framework for 3D city modelling, CityGML has been adopted for this purpose. CityGML provides an interoperable framework for modelling 3D geometries, semantics, topology and appearance properties. CityGML enables further historical information to be added to the model and allows for efficient management and analysis of all data relating to a heritage site. The aim of this research is to bridge the gap between parametric CAD modelling and 3D GIS while using benefits from both systems to help document and analyse cultural heritage sites.