Sydney Opera House to be laser scanned in Scottish Ten 3D project

The Sydney Opera House will become the latest site to be digitally captured

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The Sydney Opera House has been unveiled as the latest global landmark to feature in a pioneering Scottish cultural project.

The Scottish Ten uses lasers to scan iconic locations, which include five Scottish World Heritage sites.

The Opera House will join Mount Rushmore in the US and the remote St Kilda ruins of Hirta on the list.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop made the announcement at a digital conference in Edinburgh.

The St Kilda ruins, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney and New Lanark's 18th Century mills have already been scanned.

Edinburgh's Unesco World Heritage Site, which covers the Old Town and the New Town, is currently being scanned and the Antonnine Wall is yet to be captured using the special technology.

The recording process involves a laser being fired millions of times a second at the buildings and monuments.

The end result will be a precise record of the sites, accurate down to just millimetres.

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The Scottish Ten project will provide us and the Sydney Opera House Trust with extraordinary insights”

End Quote Tony Burke Australian Heritage Minister

The data will be used to assess the physical condition of the structures and provide a foundation for future conservation, site management and aid archaeological understanding.

Historic Scotland, experts in 3D scanning and visualisation at Glasgow School of Art's Digital Design Studio and digital heritage organisation CyArk, are among organisations involved in the project.

Ms Hyslop said: "The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and is a masterpiece of architecture and engineering.

"By bringing together Historic Scotland's deep understanding of heritage and the expertise in 3D visualisation at the Glasgow School of Art's Digital Design Studio, Scotland has created a world-leading digital documentation project in the Scottish Ten."

The announcement was made at the DigiDoc 2012, an international digital documentation conference to explore all advanced forms of digital media and data.

3D image of ruined properties in Village Bay. Pic: Historic Scotland/Glasgow School of Art 3D images of ruins on Hirta, the main island in the St Kilda archipelago

Representatives from Australia, including Greg McTaggart, director of building development and maintenance at Sydney Opera House, and Bob Leece, Opera House Trustee, were at the event.

Tony Burke, Australian Heritage Minister, said: "The Australian government is delighted that the World Heritage listed Sydney Opera House is to be part of the Scottish Ten project.

"The Scottish Ten project will provide us and the Sydney Opera House Trust with extraordinary insights into one of our most well known buildings, and provide invaluable information and perhaps a new way of looking at the place."

The Scottish Ten team has already recorded the presidential heads at Mount Rushmore and Rani Ki Vav, the Queen's Stepwell in India, and is preparing to scan the Eastern Qing Tombs, part of the Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties World Heritage Site in Beijing, China.

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