The Old Summer Palace, where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty resided and handled government affairs, was burned down by British and French troops in 1860 during the Second Opium War.
Since then, the Old Summer Palace has been in a state of dilapidation and disrepair.
The Bilan Bridge in the Jiuzhou Scenic Area of the palace used to be an elegant stone archway over a flowing stream. However, after the palace was destroyed, the Bilan Bridge was reduced to a field of rubble.
With traditional surveying and mapping methods, it is difficult to determine the original position and appearance of the bridge. However, bridges of the period all followed specific guidelines of construction, and researchers began with a general idea of how the bridge was supposed to look.
Using modern three-dimensional laser scan technology, researchers are able to retrieve the appearance and outline of each stone, creating a fully-formed virtual image of the bridge's original structure.
The same method can be used to virtually reconstruct the original layout of the entire palace.
"Traces will be left when one stone interlocks with another. Based on this, we will determine which stone stands next to which, and their original positions. After considerable analysis, we can figure out the curve of the bridge precisely," said Xiao Jinliang, chief engineer of Culture Heritage Conservation Center of Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning and Design Institute.
According to specialists, the volume of data needed for virtual restoration is massive. The amount of information needed to reconstruct each scenic zone of the palace, from each stone in each house to the general layout of houses and halls, is the same as the amount of information needed for an entire city in modern GPS-type navigation systems. And nearly 100 scenic zones exist in the Old Summer Palace, which poses a huge difficulty for virtual restoration.
"After gathering the mass models, the problem of ordering them within the computer system occurs, and it takes a while to organize the entire model. We face bottlenecks in the computing and rendering power of our virtual model system," said He Yan, chief of Culture Heritage Conservation Center of Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning and Design Institute.
The idea of restoring the Old Summer Palace with virtual mapping technology came about in early as 2002, and made great breakthroughs in 2005.
More downloads available at http://newscontent.cctv.com
For any questions please call +86-10-63969499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to learn more, please go to the CCTV website at http://newscontent.cctv.com.
© Copyright CCTV. The content in this story, including video and script is provided byChina Central Television (CCTV) and is copyright CCTV. Thomson Reuters does not guarantee the accuracy of, or endorse the views or opinions given in, this package. THIS STATEMENT SUPERSEDES ALL OTHER STATEMENTS RELATING TO COPYRIGHT ATTACHED TO THIS CONTENT.