Digital scan of Notre Dame offers hope for restoration

A comprehensive digital scan of Notre Dame cathedral carried out by an art history professor could help with its reconstruction following yesterday’s devastating fire, heritage specialists have said.

The late Professor Andrew Tallon of Vassar College in New York used a tripod-mounted Leica Geosystems laser scanner to scan the building as part of his work as a co-founder and director of the US-based charity, the Friends of Notre Dame.

French president Emmanuel Macron has declared that the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral, whose spire collapsed in the fire, will be rebuilt, though it is not yet clear whether or not the authorities will want to take advantage of Professor Tallon’s data.

But conservation experts suggested that it could be employed to help rebuild the cathedral faithful to its original construction.

Image: Dreamstime

Vassar professor Lindsay Cook, a colleague of Tallon, told ZDNet: “The data is ample. There are certain images that have been created, but there are all kinds of other ways you can put it together and create new renderings. The raw material is there for future renderings.”

Notre Dame was undergoing renovation work to fix cracks that had appeared in the stone when the fire broke out, however a cause of the blaze is not yet clear.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said it had opened an inquiry into “accidental destruction by fire”.

The main structure of the building, including two bell towers, has been saved.

Video: Professor Andrew Tallon talks to National Geographic about his work laser scanning cathedrals.

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