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June 29, 2022

Point Cloud of León Cathedral: Technology For a Building With 800 Years of History

A robotic dog of the XXI century walks through a cathedral that began to be built more than 800 years ago. Laser sensors capture its walls, columns, and stained glass windows, which are transformed into millions and millions of points so that people can contemplate one of the most representative buildings of the Gothic style from their homes.

The Cathedral of León attracts thousands of visitors every year to a historic city that is part of the Camino de Santiago, so not only tourists and art and architecture enthusiasts, but also pilgrims from all over the world. Now, Plain Concepts and Leica have teamed up to bring this marvel to those who cannot travel there.

vidrieras de la catedral de león y point cloud con spot

To show it, we made use of one of our greatest allies: the quadruped robot Spot, to which we have access through our partnership with Boston Dynamics. In a few hours, Spot walked the corridors of the cathedral equipped with Leica’s BLK ARC autonomous laser scanning sensor to capture those millions of points that, together, faithfully reproduce the corners of the Leonese temple.

There are many other ways to obtain a three-dimensional visualization of a building, but we have chosen the point cloud because we can perform the complete scan of the Cathedral of León in a very short time and with extraordinary accuracy.

Plain Concepts CEO, Pablo Pelaez, explained that the objective is double:

  • On the one hand, to provide the Cathedral Chapter with the complete point cloud file that describes the interior and exterior of this thousand-year-old monument to the millimeter and that can be used in the event of a disaster, as in fires similar to that of the Notre Dame Cathedral: «It can be used to compare the current state with future states». In this case, a high-precision scan with a high-resolution point cloud was also available, made only a couple of years before the accident and which is the source for reconstructing this temple.
  • On the other hand, «to make available to everyone a viewer that will allow entering the depths of the Cathedral of León, to check how it is made, what is its real shape and not the one we see».

This work is also a donation from Plain Concepts so that anyone can enjoy this outstanding building of Spain’s historical heritage.

PointNet: Our Point Cloud Viewer

Once the robot scanned the cathedral with the Leica sensor, the Plain Concepts team converted it into a virtual reproduction thanks to PointNet, our Point Cloud viewer, which is based on our Evergine graphics engine and incorporates the latest advances in computer graphics. Thus, the cathedral is ‘walked’ with this viewer as if we were playing a video game.

point cloud con spot en la catedral de león

When using this viewer, you can perceive the high resolution with which the temple has been captured, which gives total realism to statues, chapels, or the cloister. In this way, it is also possible to reach corners that would otherwise be impractical for the casual tourist, such as ceilings or the detail of the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of León, some of them which are originals from more than 700 years ago.

point cloud (nube de puntos) con spot en la catedral de leónpoint cloud (nube de puntos) con spot en la catedral de leónpoint cloud (nube de puntos) con spot en la catedral de leónpoint cloud (nube de puntos) con spot en la catedral de leónAs the user walks through the place, millions and millions of dots are displayed before his eyes in real-time, without him noticing. The goal is for this technology to capture and reproduce up to a trillion points to reproduce a space with maximum fidelity.

spot hace point cloud en el altar de la catedral de león

If you want to know more about the Point Cloud technology that allows you to visualize the Cathedral of León from your home at high resolution and as if you were there, visit the page we have created for it: you can download a demo or contact us to design the virtual tour of the space you want. Enjoy the experience!

josé manuel blanco
José Manuel Blanco
Content Specialist