Unprecedented Data From a Video Game and 3D Laser Scans from 2015 Could Help Rebuild Notre Dame

On April 15, 2019, the entire world watched as one of the oldest and most important cathedrals on the planet nearly burned to the ground. Thankfully, after more than 8 hours of work, firefighters managed to save the cathedral from total damage.

Nonetheless, the terrible fire consumed the roof and destroy its iconic central spire.

However, not everything may be lost.

Researchers now say that cutting -edge imaging techniques may help rebuild the cathedral.

In 2015, Andrew Tallon, a professor of History and Art at Vassar College, performed one of the most detailed scans of the 13th-century cathedral using laser imaging.

Tallon’s work resulted in basically an in-depth, never-before-seen blueprint of the cathedral, that also revolutionized our understanding on how the cathedral was built.

Now, as explained by Wired, researchers “hope that Tallon’s scans may provide a map for keeping on track whatever rebuilding will have to take place.”

National Geographic followed Tallon as he studied and scanned the entire cathedral, revealing many of its construction secrets.

Unlike previous studies, where researchers were unable to see what lies beneath the structure, and how its components were formed and held together, state-of-the-art laser scanning technology was able to reveal its most profound secrets.

The laser scan performed by Tallon also uncovered the Cathedral’s building evolution, helping uncover previously unknown methods of how it was built in the first place.

“If I had texts at every point, I could look in the texts and try to get back into the heads of the builders,” Tallon told Nat Geo in 2015.

“I don’t have it, so it’s detective work for me.”

To create a never-before-seen map of Notre Dame, Tallon recorded specific data from more than 50 locations in and outside of the cathedral, which resulted in more than one billion points of data.

The scanning process made by Tallon resulted in the most accurate computer rendering of the structure ever made. And it is precisely that data which could help architects and engineers rebuilt the historic monument.

There is a long way to go to reconstruct Notre Dame.

Experts say that there is ‘nothing left’ of the 12th-century Cathedral’s roof, built from timber using an estimated 1,300 trees.

But in addition to the Work made by Tallon in 2015, a popular video game could also prove to be useful as experts rebuild Notre Dame.

Some experts have already argued that the videogame Assassin’s Creed Unity, which takes place in Paris could also provide important clues about the cathedral.

As the video game was being produced, the game developers made a complete 3D-detailed-mapping of the Cathedral for the game.

Caroline Miousse who participated in the development of Ubisoft’s game spent two long years building the version of the cathedral in the game.

Reconstructing the Cathedral in the game was possible thanks to a complete mapping that was done both inside and outside Notre Dame by the Caroline and her team, who made sure that the 3D version used in the game was nearly identical to the real Cathedral.

Hopefully, with data gathered by Tallon and Ubisoft, architects, designers, and engineers will rebuild Notre Dame, and return it to its rightful glory, before the devastating fire nearly destroyed it entirely.

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