Living in the Clouds: Conceptual Reconstructions of Harbour Structures

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Title: Living in the Clouds: Conceptual Reconstructions of Harbour Structures
Authors: Shotton, Elizabeth
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Date: Feb-2018
Abstract: The harbours of Ireland, under threat from deterioration and rising sea levels, are being documented using terrestrial LiDAR augmented by archival research to develop comprehensive histories and timeline models for public dissemination. While methods to extract legible three-dimensional models from scan data have been developed and such operational formats for heritage management are imperative, the need for this format in interpretive visualisations should be reconsidered. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: Interpretive visualisations are forms of history making, where factual evidence is drawn together with conjecture to illustrate a plausible account of events, and differentiation between fact and conjecture is the key to their intellectual transparency. A procedure for superimposing conjectural reconstructions, generated using Rhinoceros and CloudCompare, on original scan data in Cyclone and visualised on a web-based viewer is discussed.Findings: Embellishing scan data with conjectural elements to visualise the evolution of harbours is advantageous for both research and public dissemination. The accuracy and density of the scans enables the interrogation of the harbour form and the irregular details, the latter in danger of generalisation if translated into parametric or mesh format. Equally, the ethereal quality of the point cloud conveys a sense of tentativeness, consistent with a provisional hypothesis. Finally, coding conjectural elements allows users to intuit the difference between fact and historical narrative. Originality/value: While various web-based point clouds viewers are used to disseminate research, the novelty here is the potential to develop didactic representations using point clouds that successfully capture a provisional thesis regarding each harbour’s evolution in an intellectually transparent manner to enable further inquiry.
Funding Details: Irish Research Council
University College Dublin
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Emerald
Copyright (published version): 2018 Emerald
Keywords: LiDARPoint cloudsHistorical reconstructionsHarbours
DOI: 10.1108/JCHMSD-08-2017-0052
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy Research Collection

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