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For Zeptepi -- laser scanners and engravings

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posted on Mar, 19 2008 @ 04:59 PM
First, I think you've brought up some excellent things in your message over here:

Let me give you some insight here -- one of the places I went to (that hasn't been fully documented yet... I'd like to do that but it will take weeks and I don't have the money to fund that) is in California in the middle of the Mojave desert. This is a real desert-type desert, and you get to the site with a 2 hour drive over some pretty rough dirt trails. I have to carry water. The petroglyphs are as low as 2 inches from the ground and as high up as 10 feet over my head. The ground is uneven and I can't lean ladders or equipment on the wall to climb up to reach the higher petroglyphs. Zoom camera works, though.

Once there, I spend nearly a full day recording (so this means that whatever I have has to be light (because I also have to take water), has to be moveable (some of them are in niches near the botttom of the rocks while others are on top of the rocks and viewable only from one angle some 10 feet away). The car can be parked as far as a mile from the site and 200-400 feet below the site. It's not a healthy place for computers because it's extremely dusty and in the full sun temperatures go up to 115 or so. There's not much shade.

I don't have a good set of photos to show you (they're on CD for my research and not uploded to the Internet), but take a look at this set of photos (by someone else) of an easy-access petroglyph site, and see how the images are scattered all over.

Now... take away the nice trail road, add more brush and cactus and lots of boulders, and make it a 30 minute hike in the full sun to get there. Both my husband and I have taken falls (so equipment has to be rugged) on these quests, and people have broken bones and had to be helicoptered out of some of the areas.

But... I'm sounding dismissive and I don't want to be dismissive, because it could really work out on some of the very faded panels. Much of what I work on is pictographs (paint) -- it might be interesting to see what the scanner would say about such a panel.

So... I've told you the challenges -- let's do a little brainstorming and see if it's actually possible to do some of this kind of recording. For instance, can the thing be hand held (I'd be afraid that muscle twitches would disturb the recording) and must it be repositioned to get the 3d effect? How long do those batteries last? Would we have to haul computers or are there alternatives?

I don't know that this has been done very often in America, so I'd love to give it a whirl if it's practical. Let's kick the idea around a bit!

[edit on 19-3-2008 by Byrd]

posted on Mar, 19 2008 @ 05:10 PM
Another idea occurred to me, too. I'm going to go to the Texas Archaeological Society's field school (they let the public come play archaeologist)... if this kind of scanner is functional, I'll contact them and see of I can offer scanning services for artifacts. Sometimes they're awfully grotty and difficult to see.

Hmmmmm.... might work for dino bones, too.

Tell me more about your experiences!

posted on Mar, 19 2008 @ 10:18 PM
Thank you for your thoughtful response.
We are having some minor flooding problems here in Ohio.
Nothing major, but I must do some clean up.
I will return in a few hours with a better post.
Yes I would like to further discuss this.

posted on Mar, 19 2008 @ 10:40 PM
I hope everything's okay! We had heavy rains here in Texas and I had to drive through some floodwaters yesterday, but it's all gone now.

I hope tomorrow finds you nice and dry and the cleanup finished.

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 05:31 AM
Let me first apologize for my delay in responding to you. Everything is back to normal
Here. It, (the flood) was just a mess in the basement here, and a large chore to clean up.

Your Insights about into the places that you are documenting are well taken.

Let me tell you before I get too far, that I am not an archeologist, anthropologist or any
Other -ologist. My background is mechanical engineering, computer aided design, reverse engineering and Tool making.

The main reason I have the scanner is mainly for reverse engineering. I have a huge interest in all things that will better mankind in the understanding of our origins and ancient history.

In the course of my work with 3D laser scanning, I have assisted anthropologist in some studies and surveys, mainly for ergonomics. That is when it occurred to me that this tool could be a great asset for many other disciplines of study, geology, paleontology, archeology, and others. The Anthropologist I was working with had a human skull they
Allowed me to scan, to make a duplicate using CNC milling.

Dino bones, absolutely! Make reproductions, even if only a partial is uncovered, the missing portions can be filled in digitally. Then the conservators can safely store the originals. I think that this is now being done. And also use the scanner during the excavation for a very quick and accurate on-site survey of bones and artifacts in-situ. Part of an overall survey that can be shared digitally, world-wide. A virtual museum. Many researchers with access

Huge possibilities along these lines. I’m sure you are just now realizing many others.

I personally think that it would be possible to document these sites even in the remote
Deserts. Yes, you have deftly outlined some of the challenges that would present themselves with such an undertaking. I am sure that there are other hardships, human, mechanical and financial that would have to be estimated and taken into consideration. All of which should be weighed against the value of the possible outcome of such a survey.

You have already done some outstanding investigations to this end.

There are many questions about overall goals of such a survey that will help define
Further question and answers as to the feasibility and logistics, verses added value to the ultimate goals of the survey. In this case, accessibility seems to be a major hurdle.

In other words, does the end justify the means.

Each potential survey site must be considered on a case-by-case basis. And a rough feasibility study will possibly help define many potential objectives.

As part of an overall survey of a site, laser scanning may, or may not add value to the

Can such a survey add value to a particular group or agency?

And at what level to gain a commissioning of the survey? Or would the survey itself be a contribution to the advancement of mankind’s knowledge be its own reward? It may even be possible to gain a grant of some kind to fund such a survey, but that is out of my realm of understanding.

Some of the objectives come to my mind in the case that you have mentioned (Desert petroglyphs) for example:

1.) Contribute to the overall understanding of the site. To aid in the interpretation of wide spread archaeological features of the site. And the historic development of the site.

2.) Improve the accessibility of the site by putting it into a 3D digital format that can be easily shared. (much like photos can)

3.) Conservation planning of the site. Multi-scanning can help answer; how fast is deterioration.

4.) Accurate reproduction by making possible a physical duplicate. (also improving accessibility)

5.) Archive

6.) For presentations, to raise overall awareness of the site.

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 05:36 AM
7.) possibly revealing unseen or previously undetectable features or anomalies
By digital manipulation (raking of artificial light or by digitally exaggerating subtle raised surfaces) for example.
The above list is a starting point to aid and plan for the logistics that would be required.
Also how to archive the survey itself. And what level of a base standard of “deliverables”
Desired for the survey. Again, for example: (not all inclusive-just some basics)

1.) Is an earth based grid desirable to reference the cardinal point of the site?

2.) Is the exact placement and geologic orientation of the objects needed ? To each other?

3.) What level of accuracy is required to achieve the desired outcome.(An answer of “the best you can get” may seem obvious, but has serious diminishing returns from a technical standpoint)

At this point, Knowing from me that with determination and a clearer goal of result in mind, any logistical problems CAN be overcome. The question therefore is, Will such
A survey of any site be worth the potential costs and risks?

I must point out that pictographs will pose a unique technical problem in terms of how well the scanner will see them. This may be tested in a studio setting to determine at what levels the scans will be of value. At this point, I just don’t know, but I will find out!

Keep in mind that laser scanning brings its own light to see the object, so reduced ambient lighting-darkness is in fact preferred. (nighttime or dawn-dusk access possible?)

My scanner is not really much in use right now, and I would really like to get it to some
Good projects along these lines.

In response to your other questions: Yes the laser scanner must be firmly positioned for the duration of the scan. (aporox 1 min. depending on desired resolution.) no hand holding. Not a problem if the results justify bringing even more than just a pro tripod.
Or additional platforms as needed. (check out some of the other case studies in the link
Previously provided if you have not yet done so) They brought HUGE scaffolding to the desert of Egypt to scan a colossal red granite statue of
Ramesses II, prior to moving it. A good example of logistical justification.

Usually more than one scans from different positions are need to capture the object.
As far as batteries and other technical logistics. They can all be overcome, if the “want-to” justifies the “need-to”. But generally they last about 3 hours under normal conditions.

Yes a laptop computer is required on site to scan. I don’t think that there is any alternative to this.

This should get us pointed in the general direction to the feasibility of such a survey.

Again… how much does the “want-to” justify the “need-to” to get to the “how-to”


posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 10:48 AM
I need to work on homework and will get back to you this weekend. However, let me ask this one detail (I didn't read the papers yet) - what level of detail can be captured and how long does it take to scan, say, a fancy teaspoon with engraving and a raised design on the handle (just looking for something common that we can use as a ballpark -- something like this: )

Do you have to move the camera and is there a setting that says how far to move it?

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 11:51 AM
The spoon could be reproduced with 4 to 6 scans total. 2 min. per scan for a total of about 15 mins.
Scan time with 100% fidelity. This would produce about 2 million measurement points (xyz data)
The spoon in this case, would be repositioned for each scan or the scanner position could be moved. Really does not matter, ( with some scan overlap between each scan) the software will align the point clouds of each scan to each other to produce a solid 3D image or shell.

Due to the highly reflective nature of sterling silver, I would spray it with a very fine powder (magniflux developer) much like very fine baby powder with an inert propellant in a spray can. This would give the spoon less reflectivity so the camera in the system would better see the spoon. Not applicable to rocks.

By further processing, a program could be developed to machine an exact duplicate or a scaled up/down version.
Or a set of tooling dies could be produced from the data to stamp them out at a rate of over 500 per minute.
Or even by scanning your face and scaling it to fit where the cherub is and doing all of the above.

The Optix 400M I have can see detail as small as .002” (about half a human hair) at 15” away from the object.
All of the detail in the spoon would be easily captured. In exact scale.

This is how we do reverse engineering and rapid prototyping for industry. Good example BTW.

Now get your homework done!

edit to add:... about 2 million points

[edit on 21-3-2008 by Zeptepi]

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 05:09 PM
Byrd, I may have to trade my scanner up to this one!
It is very portable and Hand held.
My bud Jay, over at Online Resources have this now!
This is where I bought my optix 400M
I am going to get in touch with Jay or Larry over there to check into the accuracy
Of this model. And the price, but my guess puts it at around $100K or so.
If it is accurate, this might be ideal for your application.

Click on this link and the click on the funny looking scanner thing in the Product Video Tour
This is a must see!
Z 700 laser scanner

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 05:38 PM

Originally posted by Zeptepi
Of this model. And the price, but my guess puts it at around $100K or so.
If it is accurate, this might be ideal for your application.

Only if Bill Gates adopts me.

Can we sneak in and appropriate your friend's model? That would be perfect for my dinosaur bone!

(how much did you say your setup was? Oh... and how large are the files? My bone is 3.4 feet long, 3.5 feet wide, and about 2.5 feet tall with all sorts of curvy shaped. And it's pitted. Ye gods, is it pitted (but it's supposed to be because it's a Titanosaur. They have heavily pitted bones.)

We'll eventually do a plaster cast of the bone (it's cheap and quick to do -- a day or so per model). We're pretty low tech, though... what sort of ballpark are we looking at (pricewise) for a setup like yours?

[edit on 21-3-2008 by Byrd]

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 07:29 PM
Jay at Online Resources Inc. in Indianapolis is the retailer of these. He is the owner. Super guy. I bet if I asked him, he would load one of his scanners up in his Mooney twin prop plane (he is also a pilot)
And fly over to Ohio pick me up and we could meet you in Texas to do a live (cough cough) “demo”
Of both scanners using your dino bone for a model. I do need to call him Monday.

I mention these arrangements because if it were my dino bone, I would not let it out of my sight!
Just a thought. We have worked together on a couple of projects. Jay makes Bill Gates look like a dunce.
We are both “super techno nerds” our wives wont let us out of the house with our pocket protectors on,
But we sneak them out anyway!

I have bought a couple of his products and he will do this from time to time.

My scanner with hot-rod Sager laptop, Rapidform2006 software, nearly bullet proof water tight pelican
Case and Pro 7500 tripod cost me $60K cash. It is 4 years old and has less then 10 hours scan time on it.
I think $40K would be in the ballpark with a fresh factory calibration and new HD for the laptop.

I hope its ok to tell you these prices on ATS (T&C you know) but sense you are a supermod and you asked,
It must be ok.

Best guess for final file size of your digitized dino bone would be around 20MEG, depending on file
Output type. (IGES-DXF-ASCII-AVI etc.)

Titanosaur…….hmmmmm got to look that one up.

posted on Mar, 24 2008 @ 09:19 AM
let me get back to you later today -- I'm up to my ears in homework again and have to go to both of my part-time jobs today.

(edited to add that there's actually some interest; this might be useful in dealing with Very Large Bones (I'll post pictures later) or the Extremely Small Items (tiny teeth.)

[edit on 24-3-2008 by Byrd]

posted on Mar, 24 2008 @ 07:32 PM
I checked out and read a book today:
"A Guide To Rock Art Sites- Southern California and Southern Nevada"
by "David S. Whitley"

Good book. He lists 38 rock art sites with pics maps and a description of the access to them.

Which site were you referring to?
They all have names , some in the desert.
Could it be McCoy Spring in Blythe CA?
5 mile hike 1 way
An Archaeologist, Dan McCarthy has mapped over 2000 petroglyphs here.

[edit on 24-3-2008 by Zeptepi]

posted on Mar, 25 2008 @ 03:05 PM

Originally posted by Zeptepi

I checked out and read a book today:
"A Guide To Rock Art Sites- Southern California and Southern Nevada"
by "David S. Whitley"

Good book. He lists 38 rock art sites with pics maps and a description of the access to them.

Which site were you referring to?
They all have names , some in the desert.
Could it be McCoy Spring in Blythe CA?
5 mile hike 1 way
An Archaeologist, Dan McCarthy has mapped over 2000 petroglyphs here.

[edit on 24-3-2008 by Zeptepi]

I was working at Inscription Canyon -- that was the one that I had a brief trip to investigate and would dearly love to go back to. It really needs a good 3d rendering both from the perspective of the geography as well as from the location of the petroglyphs. The other site, Painted Rock, is pictographs and not petroglyphs. That one's pretty easy to get to and well worth a trip. I did some research in the special collections of one of the university libraries to get a feel for what had been there before it was mostly destroyed.

The area we go to most is Del Rio, Texas, and the White Shaman site as well as Panther cave (when accessible) and other locales in the same region. There's a number of places where I haven't gone around there and would like to.

...more about research later. I'm hopping in and out today.

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 01:14 PM
Rock Art Research

Introduction to Rock Art Research
by David S Whitley
About this title: Once a stepchild of archaeology, rock art research has become increasingly important tool in recent archaeological work for understanding the symbolic and ideological systems of ancient peoples. Yet methods of working with pictographs, petroglyphs and geoglyphs are rarely taught in a systematic fashion. In this brief introduction to methods, well-known rock art researcher David Whitley takes the reader through the various processes needed to document, interpret, and preserve this fragile category of artifact. Using examples from around the globe, he offers a comprehensive guide to rock art studies of value to archaeologists and art historians, their students, and rock art afficianados.
ISBN: 9781598740004

Federal bureau of land management in regard to heritage site funding and preservation grants. heritage

And last but not least: These folks will help you fund putting cultural heritage information on the www.
If you would really like to do a survey of theses sites, this may help you pay for such a survey.
I do not know what your post graduate studies are, but from some of your posts, this kind of study may be
In line with your interests. At the very least it sounds like a great adventure. And why not let the Feds pay for it!

The next grant applications will be due on Nov. 20, 2008 and will be awarded in May of 2009.

I hope that I don’t seem to be overly aggressive in my attempts to put this amazing technology in the hands of researchers that could effectively utilize it. I would just like to see its use sooner rather then later.

Someone like you Byrd, seem to be in a better academic position then I, to see that this new means of
Documentation will be effectively presented to the researchers in these fields. I think that you will agree with me at this point, that a researcher at the front-line of this emerging technology, will be in a far better
Position to advance the field of their study, just as I have in my field, industry. It deserves more then a cursory examination.

I compare laser scanning tech. to the way photographic documentation of mans history enlightened
Research 100 years ago. I just don’t think they know much about it ,yet.

Here may be a great place to find funding for the digital research of these sites.
Up to $15k Grants for just such a survey.

EMC2 trust funding

EMC2 trust release March 18, 2008

The EMC Information Heritage Initiative was formalized in 2007 to help preserve and protect humanity’s information heritage and make important historical documents and cultural artifacts readily accessible via the Internet for research and education purposes. In conjunction with this initiative, the EMC Heritage Trust Project was created to recognize and support any public or private local organization, institution or individual projects around the world that are designed to protect and improve access to invaluable information.

I respectfully submit all that I have mentioned in this thread, merely for your edification.

edit to remove dead link

[edit on 26-3-2008 by Zeptepi]

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 11:20 PM
Ah WUV you!!! Will you have my babies???!!!

Thanks muchly for the links -- I am going to study them.

No, this has nothing to do with my PhD dissertation, but does have to do with my last Masters'. Ah heck... it's a chance to go study cultural sites!!! Rocks!!!! Dead horses (long story)!!!! Pictographs!!!! Wild adventures in alkalai deserts!!!!

Luckily my committee chairman is a polymath, so when I come up with (and publish) some of these topics he just sort of smiles and nods and doesn't look quite as bewildered as some of the other professors. Most of the rest are librarians (I'm in the School of Library and Information Science, taking an Info Sci degree) and believe me, my scholarly excursions into metadata or medical informics or dinosaurs just leave them looking like deer in the headlights. My confrerence presentation (a poster session) in April is going to cause a lot of "say what????"s, when I tie information searching and reference section design to cultural aspects of information acquisition.

...with one hand tied behind my word processor.

(I am having entirely too much fun with this degree!)

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 11:40 PM
That is interesting Bryd I too got my MLS in Resarch after my archaeology degree. I presume they are still trying to get more research oriented Ph.ds out of the universities.

"Dead horses", I assisted a Belgian/Egyptian in there studies of the changes in horse genetics. My job was to ID historic battlefields so we could obtain dated horses teeth for research. I help to dig up a lot of x-horses.

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 02:32 PM
reply to post by Byrd

Awwww you made the old dude blush . BABIES!!! Too funny !! I think my grandkids would be shocked.

Well, I almost changed my whole post about the grant for cultural heritage digital archiving. After I read more from their website. It seemed too large a stretch for a possible connection to an archeological survey.
Holy-moly ma’am, it turns out that that’s exactly what you do! Cultural heritage digital archiving.

Somehow, I am pretty sure that there is a library very near you that could use such a grant .

I hope that some smart data acquisition and digital archival specialist is going to archive this thread somewhere. It would be interesting to see how the role of the archivist in constructing the digital memory of society, ties it in with the possibility of procuring a grant for same. It probably wont get past the appraisal stage. *sigh*

But I digress, I truly wish you well at your conference presentation.

In my last thread, I said it was the feds giving the grant. I retract that. It is a metadata infrastructure Corp. EMC2. (just to set the record straight)

Keep us posted if you go for the grant.

[edit on 27-3-2008 by Zeptepi]

posted on Apr, 2 2008 @ 11:35 AM
Zounds, what a week! It got busier after the last post.

I *finally* relocated my Flickr account and uploaded photos to it, so you can get a very small taste of some of the things that I'm doing. The more I think about it, the more interested I am in getting a good scan of that darn bone.

Here's the account:

What's not shown is some of the details (Ah am teh lousy at closeup photos) of the bone. Also uploaded one or two petroglyphs from New Mexico... those are well-known and are easy to access -- I don't have a scale in the picture because they're so well known. But you can look at them and see things like the difference in the patina and the shallowness of some of the pecking.

posted on Apr, 2 2008 @ 12:47 PM
Thanks for link, Those are very impressive photos!

Wow, I think all of those items should have a scan survey done of them.

I would like to someday travel west to witness the incredible legacies those folks left us!

This thread has genuinely sparked an interest with me in the archiving of these glyphs, thanks.

Your post was very timely. I was about to get myself banned from this wonderful website, by posting a
Harsh rebuttal in another infamous thread :


Perhaps your formidable linguistic skills could help eradicate an extreme issue over there.
Rhetorical anyway, don’t waste your time.

I think I will take a short intermission from ATS to step back from that situation.

I will be back shortly to more thoroughly comment on your photo work.

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