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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-433
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Information Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


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