RIMALDA – Research Data Infrastructure for Management and Analysis of Laser Scanning Data in Archaeology - is a joint research project of the University of Heidelberg and the KIT started in 2014. It aims at semi-automatically extracting unknown archaeological sites from large scale digital elevation data captured by airborne laser scanning (ALS). This active remote-sensing technology captures three-dimensional point clouds of the earth’s surface with millions of points per km2 and even measures height values below vegetation (e.g. forests). The project goal is to provide an efficient large scale research infrastructure for analyzing ALS data used by archaeologists. Available data for the area of Lower Franconia (approx. 10000 km2 containing billions of 3d points) will be used in a first application.

IPE works on efficient data management technologies as well as on efficient novel processing methods covering the complete data processing chain from point cloud filtering over interpolation, visualization, to feature extraction (see Fig. 1).



Fig. 1: Typical areal photograph (left) of a forested area near the Urphar village overlaid with processed ALS data (right). Highlighted points in the left image represent findings of shards from the Bronze Age. Laser scanning data allow for looking through vegetation and present a couple of eroded burial mounds. Sinkholes in the middle of the mounds indicate former illegal excavations.



Danah Tonne

Copyright by SWM, KIT – Universität des Landes Baden-Württemberg und nationales Forschungszentrum in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
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