Hexagon direct scanning captures digital record inside historical German church

Capturing a digital record of the historically important German church, the Wallfahrtskirche “Mariä Krönung” in the town of Lautenbach has long been my father-in-law’s dream. A retired master carpenter he is in awe of the craftsmanship that went into creating the church’s phenomenal works of art with only limited mechanical tools. Dating from the 15th century, the Wallfahrtskirche “Mariä Krönung” was built on a pilgrimage route and is home to several notable architectural features, including a particularly fine example of a late Gothic rood screen and my father-in-law, who like me lives locally, volunteers as a guide to visitors.

Recently, a combination of free time and the generous loan of a Leica Absolute Tracker ATS600 laser scanner normally used by Hexagon for sales demos, meant I could help him.

Having access to the ATS600 was crucial, because it allowed me to quickly and easily capture accurate measurements from a distance. With the ATS600, for example, it is possible to accurately locate a point in 3D space up to 80 metres away with metrology-grade accuracy of ± 15µm + 6µm/m when used with reflectors, or up to 60 metres within 300 microns without reflectors.

This was my first opportunity to get some hands-on experience with the ATS600 since Hexagon first released the system last year, and I was looking forward to learning more about its direct scanning functionality.

While I very much saw myself as a beginner when it came to working with the ATS600, the system and its functionalities were so easy to use and user-friendly that I had no issues at all in getting right to work on scanning inside Mariä Krönung. It turned out using the ATS600 in combination with Hexagon’s Inspire software was child’s play. We set the ATS600 up, connected it with Inspire, opened the overview camera (OVC), defined the scan region, pressed the button to start the reflectorless scan and then enjoyed the nice weather outdoors while the tracker went to work.

We scanned the objects from several viewpoints in order to create point clouds for the entire object, making use of the ATS600’s ability to allow reflector measurements. We simply positioned some reflector nests around the objects and connected the instrument stations with Hexagon’s Inspire software. It took us around two hours to scan the altar, and about five hours to scan the built-in chapel from six viewpoints.

Now that we have the data, my father-in-law plans to use his own CAD program to create a model from the point clouds or mesh, which would be extremely valuable to the local diocese in case of a fire or some other such event, allowing the local community to keep a proper record of these very old and valuable objects.


  • Markus Braun

    Markus Braun studied surveying and geoinformatics in Karlsruhe, Germany before starting his career as a Support Engineer for Hexagon’s Leica Laser Trackers in Unterentfelden, Switzerland in 2010. He now holds the role of Teamleader, Portable Application Engineers, with Hexagon in Germany.

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