Documentation Methods

International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics


The beautifully laid-out publication can be downloaded as a PDF, or purchased as a Paperback Volume for £20.00 from the Historic England Bookshop.

Book review contributed by Anjo Weichbrodt

Photogrammetric Applications for Cultural Heritage

Author: Jon Bedford, Historic England

Photogrammetry is becoming a crucial tool for the cultural heritage sector. For anyone who wants to get started, or those wishing to advance their skills with photogrammetric documentation methods, we recommend this thrilling read published by Historic England.

First, is it a technical read? Well, in the first part of this book, Jon Bedford gives a very well-structured and nerdy introduction to the underlying magic of photogrammetry based on Structure from Motion (SfM). This is fantastic if you have already some knowledge of this topic, but if you are new to this field, this chapter might appear overwhelming and I would recommend revisiting it again later.

The second part of the book goes directly to the core to what practitioners need for planning and executing proper photogrammetric operations. It defines guidelines on how to take technically-adequate images, outlines capturing strategies including overlap considerations, and further discusses elements of ground control to successfully master georeferencing.

Later in the book, different scales of photogrammetric operations are examined, ranging from long-distance-aerial to short-distance-fisheye. Although the focus here remains on image capture with unmanned aircraft vehicles, the very crucial and not trivial terrestrial approaches, including the usage of booms, are not forgotten. The author gives many instructive tips on how to plan the entire operation with the final result in mind, in order to avoid inefficient obsessions on maximum resolution and image quantity.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the elaborated case studies section towards the end. Here the author discusses challenges and requirements of each specific case and presents the solutions accomplished and compromises reached within each setting. This chapter is a fantastic resource for ideas on how to approach photogrammetric operations in contexts of different complexity.

Nonetheless while arguing the benefits and extended possibilities of this relatively new documentation method, Jon Bedford reminds us that photogrammetry alone cannot preserve cultural heritage. Indeed, we agree: photogrammetry remains a tool of many which, when employed in a skillful and conscious manner, can offer a solid base of visual heritage documentation. And this book offers an adept guide to gaining proficiency in this valuable tool.