3D laser mapping may help preserve Leaning Tower of Pisa

The campanile of the cathedral of the city of Pisa, Italy has been leaning since its construction in the 12th century. Now, a new handheld 3D mapping system developed by CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, may "preserve" the Leaning Tower in bits if the ultimate catastrophe happens. (photos, video)

Due to the fragility of the site, it has been difficult for experts to laser map its interior, but the Zebedee technology has now created "the first comprehensive 3D map of the entire building."

"Our detailed record of the Leaning Tower of Pisa may one day be critical in being able to reconstruct the site if it was to suffer catastrophic damage due to natural disasters such as a fire or an earthquake. Having a detailed 3D model of the world's most significant cultural heritage sites could also be used to allow people who cannot physically visit these sites to better understand and appreciate their history and architecture," said Franco Tecchia, Assistant Professor at the PERCRO - Perceptual Robotics lab.