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29/10/14 13:28

Bridging the past and future

Bridging the past and future: Bridging the past and future

First Minister announces £300k for Forth Bridges 3D digitalisation project.

First Minister Alex Salmond today announced £300k for a new project which will see every detail of the three major bridges over the Forth digitally mapped and scanned to record their engineering excellence for future generations.

The bridges which represent three centuries of Scottish engineering, innovation and design will be digitally mapped using cutting edge laser technology used previously by the Scottish Ten initiative.

The project will begin in 2015 and will be carried out by the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (CDDV), a collaboration between heritage specialists at Historic Scotland and experts in 3D visualisation at The Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio. The digital content from the project will be shared across all of Scotland’s primary schools.

The First Minister made the announcement at a visit to the Forth Replacement Crossing Contact and Education Centre in South Queensferry. He said:

“The Forth bridges represent Scotland’s industrial past, creative present and our dynamic and innovative future. They are the pinnacle of world leading design and engineering. Therefore it is only right that we do all that we can to conserve and protect them for future generations.

“This exciting new project will not only help to create an extremely accurate record for the conservation and management of the bridges but will also provide digital content from which it will be possible to provide animations, fly-throughs and basic education materials that will help inspire our next generation of Scottish engineers.

“The bridges are iconic landmarks in Scotland and these digital images will no doubt help to showcase their magnificence and attract tourists from across the globe.”

Dr Paul Chapman, Deputy Director of the Digital Design Studio of The Glasgow School of Art, said:

“The Digital Design Studio at The Glasgow School of Art is proud to be part of this exciting and challenging project, our previous portfolio of projects, including many joint ventures with our long term partner Historic Scotland, has provided us with the necessary experience and capability to undertake the digital documentation of these extremely complex structures using laser scanning and other cutting edge technologies.”

Historic Scotland’s Head of Major Projects Chris McGregor said:

“Digitally documenting the Forth bridges is a fantastic opportunity both to showcase the three bridges in all their engineering glory, and to apply the latest digital surveying technologies in the most challenging of circumstances. Fortunately we can call upon the expertise of our partners in the Digital Design Studio at the Glasgow School of Art, as well as our own experts in Historic Scotland.”

“Recording these inspiring bridges, each from a different century, will allow us to use technologies originally designed to survey modern industrial complexes to record and analyse historic engineering structures in extraordinary detail, and to help us maintain and interpret them for future generations. The resulting records will also enable us to share their secrets with new audiences across the world”.

Notes to editors

Forth (Rail) Bridge – 1890 A UNESCO World Heritage nomination has been submitted.

Successful nomination of the Bridge in 2015 would make it Scotland’s sixth World Heritage Site.

Forth Road Bridge – 1964 -The suspension bridge’s main span stretches 1006 metres between its two towers, and its total length of 2.5km made it the longest bridge of its kind outside the United States at the time of its completion. This year, it marked its 50th anniversary.

Queensferry Crossing - Due to open by the end of 2016 - The 1.7 miles (2.7km) structure will be the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world and also by far the largest to feature cables which cross mid-span.

Funding for this project is being provided by the Scottish Government through Transport Scotland. The project will be managed by Historic Scotland, delivered by CDDV LLP and overseen by the Forth Bridges Forum.

The Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (CDDV), a limited liability partnership established by Historic Scotland and The Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio.

The centre was created to use cutting-edge technologies to promote and celebrate Scotland’s cultural heritage at home and abroad, thereby enhancing Scotland’s reputation for nurturing world-class and innovative research and development.

CDDV is currently in the process of creating exceptionally accurate digital models of Scotland’s five UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites (WHS) and five International Heritage Sites in a project known as the Scottish Ten (, in order to better conserve and manage them.

The Scottish Ten projects at Mount Rushmore and Sydney Opera House have provided the team with unique experience in laser scanning on some of the most challenging heritage sites in the world.

Work on the Forth Bridges will commence following the completion of the Scottish Ten project in Spring-Summer 2015.

The fieldwork team will comprise approximately 4 staff, expert in the use of 3D digital documentation equipment. They will also call on the services of specialist teams where necessary, especially, for example, when reaching less accessible parts of the bridges.


Bridging the past and future

Bridging the past and future

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