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The 3D image has been created of Southwell Minster by Maptek to safeguard the building in case of damage

One of the most important historical buildings in the county has been replicated in 3D as part of conservation efforts.

A detailed, 3D image has been created of Southwell Minster by Maptek, an international company that specialises in advanced 3D geological modelling, mine design, and production planning solutions.

The 3D image has been made to safeguard the building in case of damage to the structure in the future.

When restoration work is required, the architects can refer back to these highly-detailed 3D images to restore the unique details of the cathedral with precision.

The project, in partnership with Southwell Archaeology group, came about after Mark Williams, a representative from Maptek, heard about Southwell’s conservation programme and was prompted to help after the fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris earlier this year.

Mr Williams said: “I have visited Southwell with my wife on a number of occasions and it is just the most stunning building.

“When I watched the tragedy unfold at Notre Dame on the news, the surveyor in me hoped that someone had performed a 3D scan of the cathedral because I knew it could help with rebuilding efforts.

“I also realised the same thing could happen to Southwell Minster, and that we at Maptek were in a position to help with our 3D laser scanners.”

In May and June 2019, Mr Williams and Southwell Archeology used a Maptek SR3 laser scanner to capture detailed 3D images of the minster from multiple vantage points to create a complete model of the site.

Mr Williams and Southwell Archaeology presented the innovative project to the public at the minster last week.

Mr Williams said: “It has been a real pleasure working with Southwell Archaeology and we hope that this project will allow visitors to experience the Minster in a new way.

“‘Crucially, the scans can play a big part in the conservation process.”

John Lock, chairman of Southwell Archaeology, said: “When I first came to Southwell 30 years ago, I saw fire engines outside the minster for what turned out to be a practice run, but even then it made me think.

“This building is inreplaceable and we saw the difficulties they had in York when their minster burned down ­— they were having to put postcards together to work out what they architecture originally looked like.

“We are greatly appreciative of the engagement by Mark Williams of Maptek and the active support of Dean Nicola and Chapter.

“It is a fantastic first step to have a full digital survey.

“It will provide research opportunities as well as assisting Chapter to better share the building and its attributes more widely.

“This isn’t the end, this is just the terrific beginning for us and the minster.”


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