Highly complex three-dimensional natural formations can be surveyed and documented with the help of the 3D laser scanning technology. 3D digital surveying and modelling of the geometry of natural formations represents a relevant approach for research, management and preservation of our natural and geological legacy.
The application areas, where the 3D laser scans of natural formations can be used, are numerous and include archiving, documenting, monitoring, visualisation, demonstration, education, conservation, restoration, identification, and interpretation.
Natural caves of enormous dimensions, with formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and with unique colours and forms, which can be physically accessed, can be surveyed with a 3D laser scanner, producing a full measured record of the caves in three dimensions. This point cloud of millions of individual survey points can be cut and sliced into planes and sections, ‘flown through’ in videos, and examined in great detail on the screen.
Natural formations studies represent a specific case (given the geometric and environmental conditions) with great social relevance since nature preservation seems more vulnerable to subsequent events, agents and processes.