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(Re)presenting heritage: laser scanning and 3D visualisations for cultural resilience and community engagement.

Tait, Elizabeth; Laing, Richard; Grinnall, Andy; Burnett, Simon; Isaacs, John


Elizabeth Tait

Richard Laing

Andy Grinnall


Cultural heritage is increasingly being viewed as an economic asset for geographic areas who aim to capitalise in the surge in interest in local history and heritage tourism from members of the public. Digital technologies have developed that facilitate new forms of engagement with heritage and allow local areas to showcase their history, potentially broadening interest to a wider audience, thus acting as a driver for cultural and economic resilience. The research presented in this paper explores this through interdisciplinary research utilising laser scanning and visualisation in combination with social research in Elgin. 3D data capture technologies were used to develop and test 3D data visualisations and protocols through which the urban built heritage can be digitally recorded. The main focus of this paper surrounds the application and perceptions of these technologies. Findings suggest that the primary driver for cultural heritage developments was economic (with an emphasis on tourism) but further benefits and key factors of community engagement, social learning and cultural resilience were also reported. Stakeholder engagement and partnership working, in particular, were identified as critical factors of success. The findings from the community engagement events demonstrate that laser scanning and visualisation provide a novel and engaging mechanism for co-producing heritage assets. There is a high level of public interest in such technologies and users who engaged with these models reported that they gained new perspectives (including spatial and temporal perspectives) on the built heritage of the area.


TAIT, E., LAING, R., GRINNALL, A., BURNETT, S. and ISAACS, J. 2016. (Re)presenting heritage: laser scanning and 3D visualisations for cultural resilience and community engagement. Journal of information science [online], 42(3), pages 420-433. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 11, 2016
Online Publication Date Mar 11, 2016
Publication Date Jun 1, 2016
Deposit Date May 9, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 9, 2016
Journal Journal of information science
Print ISSN 0165-5515
Electronic ISSN 1741-6485
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 3
Pages 420-433
Keywords Built heritage visualisation; Community engagement; Laser scanning; Local heritage; Resilience
Public URL
Related Public URLs (Project Report)