First phase of the Haapsalu Episcopal Castle documentation project

During June of this year, Archaeovision led a project in the recording of the Haapsalu Episcopal Castle in Estonia. Haapsalu Castle is a castle with a cathedral attached and was founded in the thirteenth century as the seat of the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek. The castle has undergone many phases of development with it being widened and reconstructed according to the development of the weapons that were housed there. The castle now has an area of over 30,000 square metres with a wall thickness of between 1.2 and 1.8 meters with it’s maximum height being over 15 meters. The western side of the castle contains 29 meter watchtower that dates from the 13th century and was later converted to a bell tower. During the Livonian War (1558–1582) the castle was severely damaged with the walls of the small castle and outer fortification left partly destroyed. During the Great Northern War in 1710, where Estonia fell under Russian rule, the walls were partially demolished, turning the castle into ruins.

The project that Archaeovsion led involved the laser scanning of these ruins which included the main castle and main gate tower. In order to produce the best possible results, a Leica P20 laser scanner was used enabling fast, accurate, high precision and reliable results. In total 404 scan positions were setup over the space of 3 days. The P20 provided the best possible scanning option that would allow for all areas of the building, including the tall walls, to be recorded in high detail with the resolution of each scan being extremely high – all together 3,108,702,077 points (outdoor resolution: 6,3 mm per 10 meter, indoor resolution:12,5 mm per 10 meter). The model has now been processed via a cloud to cloud comparison and the results will be published soon.

The laser scan capture was the first phase of many. The next stage includes the production of a building information model (BIM) in order for architects and advice heritage specialists to use it within the study and protection of the building work. We will keep you update with the results gathered with our plan being to produce a fly through animation to highlight the important architectural features present.