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Museums of History New South Wales engaged Realserve’s team of surveyors as they wanted to build a digital twin of the historic Justice & Police Museum site

Case Study: Using 3D building scanning to preserve heritage sites in Sydney

Using a 3D point cloud and Revit model for exhibits or restoration projects.

The Justice & Police Museum is a large heritage listed site in Sydney on the corner of Phillip and Albert street with an area of around 1,900 m². For buildings like this in the Sydney CBD the only way to produce a very accurate representation of the site is through the use of 3D laser scanning technology. Instead of just taking static photos or measuring single points of data, the 3D Scanner captures data for the entire visible area.

The vast amount of  data captured is then processed to create a 3D point cloud which can be used to build very accurate models of the historical site. For Sydney Living Museums it can help to plan future exhibits, repairs or refurbishments. The information is so detailed that it can be used for restoration works that require tiny details down to the last millimetre to be created. This level of detail, if captured every year, can also act as a historical record of the site and the changes it undergoes. 

3D laser scanning is one of the most modern methods for capturing a heritage listed site for survey documentation. 3D laser scanning is a non-destructive and highly accurate method of capturing detailed data about the geometry and layout of a building, which can be useful for architectural and engineering purposes. Other methods such as photogrammetry, total station, and hand sketching may also be useful depending on a site’s condition and the specific information that is needed. Ultimately, a combination of different survey methodologies may be the most effective way to document a heritage listed site like this one.

What equipment does a surveyor use to 3D laser scan a heritage site?

Realserve’s team of surveyors in Australia has always used the most advanced 3D laser scanning equipment to carry out all types of survey documentation on retail, commercial or industrial sites. For this project our survey team used;

  • Leica TS15
  • Leica RTC360
  • Leica BLK360
  • DJI Matrice 300 RTK

This enabled them to deliver an accurate and very detailed 3D point cloud together with a Revit model controlled to MGA56 2020 coordinate system. This site contained a lot of historical artifacts so using this level of 3D scanning equipment meant we were able to accurately capture all the detail required by our Sydney Living Museums without having to move or handle any of the artifacts in the property. This is one of the huge benefits of using 3D scanning technology for heritage sites vs traditional surveying methods.

Realserve’s expertise in managing survey data ensured this project ran very smoothly, we handled different surveying techniques including terrestrial laser scanning, photogrammetry with the RPA and establishing a control network via traditional survey techniques while ensuring all these different types of data came together efficiently.

How can a Revit Model can be used to maintain a heritage listed property in Australia?

Documentation and record keeping: A 3D point cloud can be used to document the current condition of the property and its various elements, including architectural details, materials, and finishes. This information can be used to create an accurate Revit model, which can then be used to track changes over time and ensure that any work done on the property is in line with the building’s heritage significance.


Planning and design:
A Revit model can be used to plan and design any necessary repairs or renovations to the property. The model can be used to create detailed drawings, schedules, and specifications, which can then be used to guide the work of contractors and ensure that the building’s heritage significance is maintained.


Virtual walkthroughs:
A Revit model can be used to create virtual walkthroughs of the property, allowing stakeholders to explore the building and understand its layout, design, and heritage significance. This can be particularly useful for architects, engineers, and other professionals involved in the maintenance of the property.


Construction management:
The Revit model can also be used for construction management, by creating a virtual representation of the building and its various components, that can be used to track the progress of the construction, detect any issues and make necessary corrections.


By using a 3D point cloud and Revit model to document and track changes to the property, heritage professionals can ensure that the building’s heritage significance is preserved over time. This can include monitoring the condition of the building’s materials and finishes, ensuring that any repairs or renovations are in line with the building’s original design, and identifying any potential threats to the building’s integrity.

What other surveying services could have been provided for this heritage site?

Matterport Virtual 3D Tour
for some sites a virtual 3D tour can be created using a Matterport camera. This enables anyone to ‘visit’ a site via their computer or phone and instead of looking at a static image they can move through a virtual view of a space. You can spin the camera around, up & down and walk from one place to another.

Point cloud, REVIT model and site plan samples from this heritage site

Get more information about our range of 3D Building Scanning Services


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Take a look at our 3D Laser Scanning services in Australia

Realserve has a team of surveyors who can provide 3D Laser Scanning services in each capital city of Australia. We use use the latest cutting-edge equipment to produce a wide array of survey plans, point cloud data, Revit or Digital Twin 3D models. 3D laser scanning allows surveyors to provide as-built, existing condition, surveys that are incredibly accurate for internal or external spaces. 

Our qualified surveyors can play a pivotal role in any project with the use of laser scanning technologies to improve the plan, design, construction, management, renovation or refurbishment processes for any building type.