A 3D GIS METHOD APPLIED TO CATALOGING AND RESTORING: THE CASE OF AURELIAN WALLS AT ROME
Keywords: Aurelian Walls, laser scanning, continuous model, texturing model, 3D Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Abstract. The project involves architecture, archaeology, restoration, graphic documentation and computer imaging. The objective is development of a method for documentation of an architectural feature, based on a three-dimensional model obtained through laser scanning technologies, linked to a database developed in GIS environment.
The case study concerns a short section of Rome's Aurelian walls, including the Porta Latina. The city walls are Rome's largest single architectural monument, subject to continuous deterioration, modification and maintenance since their original construction beginning in 271 AD. The documentation system provides a flexible, precise and easily-applied instrument for recording the full appearance, materials, stratification palimpsest and conservation status, in order to identify restoration criteria and intervention priorities, and to monitor and control the use and conservation of the walls over time.
The project began with an analysis and documentation campaign integrating direct, traditional recording methods with indirect, topographic instrument and 3D laser scanning recording. These recording systems permitted development of a geographic information system based on three-dimensional modelling of separate, individual elements, linked to a database and related to the various stratigraphic horizons, the construction techniques, the component materials and their state of degradation. The investigations of the extant wall fabric were further compared to historic documentation, from both graphic and descriptive sources.
The resulting model constitutes the core of the GIS system for this specific monument. The methodology is notable for its low cost, precision, practicality and thoroughness, and can be applied to the entire Aurelian wall and to other monuments.