The Shenyang Imperial Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, is considered the oldest architectural complex of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) – second only to the Forbidden City in Beijing. In recent years, experts have used high-tech tools, such as drones and 3D modeling, to preserve major relics of China’s imperial history.
The drone captured as much detail as possible by capturing a large number of photos around Dazheng Hall, one of the palace’s main attractions. He recorded more than 4,000 images from different angles and positions. Data conversion at this level would require high processing power.
Xia Xinyu, an engineer from Shenyang Geotechnical Investigation and Surveying Research Institute Company, said the location of each photo is obtained through high-precision GPS. Accuracy is down to the centimeter. The digital version of the relics shows every detail, including the patterns on the wall and even the exact coordinates of the building.
Remote sensing images provide data for the early relocation of cultural relics. 3D laser scanning and short-range photogrammetry from unmanned aerial vehicles can help create “digital twins” of historic sites. Topographic and cartographic information can provide a complete chain of data for the protection of cultural heritage.
There are growing concerns about damage to historic sites from extreme weather conditions. Social unrest, theft and illicit excavations are other potential threats to cultural heritage sites. But efforts like digitization can help preserve and even restore them.