Practical and Affordable Alternatives to Terrestrial Laser Scanning

Author(s): Ted Parsons

Year: 2016


3D modeling to document artifacts, features, and sites is commonplace in archaeology today. The use of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is the standard for creating 3D models. The limitation of this type of scanning is that the units are bulky and expensive, and archaeological work is often done in remote locales under limited budgets. I present information on portable, affordable, and easily implemented alternatives to TLS. Three scanning methods are assessed: photo modeling using Agisoft’s PhotoScan® software, desktop laser scanning with the NextEngine® short-range scanner, and infrared imaging using Microsoft’s Kinect® depth-mapping sensor. Each alternative works well without the need for internet or reliable electrical connections. The goal is to create a suite of field-deployable imaging equipment, procedures, and workflows. The methods were tested in well-lit and dark conditions indoors and outside. The results of the tests are that these techniques permit successful 3D information capture in a wide variety of conditions. An additional benefit is that output from each tested method is viewable in many standard file formats on conventional and tablet computers and smartphones.

Cite this Record

Practical and Affordable Alternatives to Terrestrial Laser Scanning. Ted Parsons. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404614)

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