Traversing with Historic Scotland

Historic Scotland are investing in survey! As part of their development of a minimum site record we do a training exercise in travserse control. I am asked to trouble-shoot their field kit, update to TheoLtr8.1.6 and take 3 teams through network observation and adjustment. The practice site is Blackness Castle and the weather is cold but, mercifully, dry.

We rattle through setting up, do a 4 stn loop, make a mess of station naming, recover and head off to the paraffin perfumed barrack block to check the results. We work through our data and run the calc, the results are superb! The network is adjusted and applied and we enjoy a good buffet lunch before tackling 3 networks in 3 teams.

The new station name editing feature has improved using user defined station names at capture. The great thing about netadjust in TheoLt is the real-time aspect, poor shots are flagged as measured and preview calculations and diagrams can be run, all on live data. Traversing is all about procedure and adapting to new ways of working can make simple things difficult, it always takes patience to get procedures right and we have to make a few re-starts before we get the sequence to suit the situation.Given that parts of the country were under snow at the time we were vey lucky with the weather. Back home it’s Spring!

As part of the Historic Scotland Technicians Awayday I was lucky to share a tour of both the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Conservation Centre at Gyle, with the team. Getting the insiders view of the fire control and service upgrade to Holyroodhouse Palace was a real treat, not to mention the chance to discuss stone repair strategies with the experts too: the undercut vousoirs on the West Door of the Abbey are really beautiful seen close up but are deteriorating at frightening speed.

The Historic Scotland Conservation Centre is home to painting conservators, stone conservation, a moulding workshop, science Lab and a new scanning team, the work is of the finest quality and inovative too, glass fibre replicas of statuary look utterly real until you lift them…and I was heartened to see more evidence of the long term commitment to metric skills too:

I got the full benefit of my premium price ticket on the way home completing the journey from Edinburgh to Cambridge to in 5 hours 20 mins. Next time I make this trip I’ll do a bit more research into the fares before I travel, the days of get-your-ticket-at-the-station  on the railway are over.

The Awayday was extremely well organised by Rob Nuttall and Lyal Purves and it is a rare privilege to work with the upholders of the deep skill tradition championed by Historic Scotland. I wish them many happy traverses and look forward to seeing Historic Scotland take the lead in developing new opportunities with surveying in monument recording!

More on Holyroodhouse Palace here

More on Historic Scotland, including links to the ‘Scotish Ten’ project (which is supported by Historic Scotland’s scanning capacity) here

The Historic Scotland Conservation Group is here

About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
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One Response to Traversing with Historic Scotland

  1. Rob Nuttall says:

    Hi Bill,

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself and many thanks for the favourable report on the recent Awayday – I have forwarded a link for this entry to all colleagues involved as I’m sure they will appreciate the comments.

    As we discussed during the event, Historic Scotland are dedicated to a programme of record survey to address any gaps in the existing survey record and ultimately provide full survey record for the entire Estate (some 350+ sites), using a number of traditional & modern techniques at our disposal including:

    Measured building survey
    Topographic survey
    Laser Scanning
    Rectified Photography

    As you state , it is our intention that an initial phase of survey will concentrate on establishment of permanent Survey Control, fully geo-referenced to OSGB36 (02) , and 3D Topographic site plan – with footprint of any upstanding elements – as a minimum for all sites. This initial phase of survey has already commenced and will continue apace this year.

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