Digital photogrammetry of the Balkerne Gate

In 2019-2020, a collaborative project was undertaken between Colchester Borough Council, BA Photography students from UCC Colchester Institute, Colchester Archaeological Trust and archaeological imaging consultant Prof. Dominic Powlesland, to generate an accurate 3D model of the Balkerne Gate.

The gate was recorded in detail with an overlapping grid of high-resolution digital photographs. The images were used to create a very accurate 3D surface model, and one that can be accessed from a multitude of vantage points and viewing distances. The principle method uses well-established computing algorithms, using Structure from Motion (SfM) to reconstruct 3D space from the multiple overlapping images. The results are shared using Sketchfab, which is dedicated to the publication and sharing of digital 3D models.

The 3D model is important for conservation recording and management of the Town Wall, serving as an accurate point-in-time record of the gate that can be revisited in the future to study alteration, erosion and damage.

More detailed information about the digital recording technique can be found in the Historic England good practice guidance Photogrammetric Applications for Cultural Heritage.

The results of the project are available here.

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