Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

The application of lidar remote sensing in the study of past cultural landscapes

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
7.00.00  Interdisciplinary research     

Code Science Field
T181  Technological sciences  Remote sensing 
H340  Humanities  Archaeology 
P515  Natural sciences and mathematics  Geodesy 
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  16067  PhD Andrej Kobler  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2007 - 2010 
2.  25640  PhD Žiga Kokalj  Geography  Junior researcher  2007 - 2009 
3.  28658  PhD Aleš Marsetič  Geodesy  Researcher  2007 - 2010 
4.  28230  Peter Ogrinc    Technical associate  2007 
5.  15112  PhD Krištof Oštir  Geodesy  Researcher  2007 - 2010 
6.  18930  PhD Ivan Šprajc  Archaeology  Head  2007 - 2010 
7.  06917  PhD Snežana Tecco Hvala  Archaeology  Researcher  2007 - 2010 
8.  20005  PhD Tatjana Veljanovski  Geodesy  Researcher  2007 
9.  23512  PhD Klemen Zakšek  Geodesy  Researcher  2007 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0404  Slovenian Forestry Institute  Ljubljana  5051673000 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000 
Within the proposed project we intend to employ the lidar remote sensing technique for recognizing features of past cultural landscapes in several geographical regions, focusing our attention on the periods that are mainly studied by archaeology. The concrete results, however, are also expected to have wider methodological implications. Even if in some areas lidar remote sensing has already been used for archaeological purposes, the project is entirely original because of the complex and distinctively interdisciplinary approach we will apply and which is enabled by the composition of the project group and the proficiency of its members in different fields. The project will comprise not only interpretation but also development and testing of different techniques and procedures of lidar data processing, as well as elaboration of appropriate products, allowing evaluation and discrimination of their utility in particular types of natural environment and in relation with specific needs. The research will be accomplished in three geographic regions of Slovenia, in Languedoc in southeastern France, and in a central part of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. The areas to be studied are covered, completely or to a great extent, with vegetation, in some parts with a dense forest. In such circumstances, in which field surveys are particularly difficult and the potential of other remote sensing techniques is highly limited, the lidar, due to its capacity of penetrating vegetation, represents the only realistic option for direct observations of a number of anthropogenic modifications of natural environment in different periods of the past. The selection of research areas is based both on the availability of lidar data and on the continuity of studies, which the proposer has already accomplished in these regions, in collaboration with national and foreign partners of the present project. The appropriately processed products of lidar remote sensing (digital relief and surface models) are expected to reveal a number of formerly unknown features of past cultural landscapes, while ground-truthing should allow us to establish their detailed configuration and chronological/cultural affiliation. Concrete results of these verifications should disclose the potential of lidar technology for locating and mapping archaeological sites, and its advantages in terms of effectiveness, speed, and cost-benefit considerations.
Significance for science
The scientific relevance of the project can be judged both from the general methodological point of view, concerning the lidar data processing techniques and their applicability, and in the light of concrete answers regarding specific questions about past cultural landscapes in the geographic areas we intend to study. On one hand, it is possible to ascertain, upon examining the existing publications, that the project constitutes the first attempt of comprehensive application of lidar remote sensing technology, considering it includes all the stages of the work, from data processing to interpretation. We have improved and adapted the techniques of DTM generation from the lidar point cloud in dense forests, which is a very important problem, and, on the basis of concrete results and ground-truthing, we have also evaluated the applicability of particular techniques and procedures for recognizing and mapping certain types of natural and anthropogenic landscape features. The technique of visualizing detailed terrain models with sky view factor has been presented at several international scientific conferences, with great success. It has come into a selection of standard visualization methods used at scientific institutions dealing with lidar data interpretation (e.g. in England, Germany and France) and is discussed in archaeological workshops. On the other hand, the research in selected geographic areas enriches the knowledge on the vestiges of human life and activities in past epochs, thereby contributing to the solution of specific problems that lie in the core of archaeological and historical studies, particularly those concerned with settlement dynamics and human interaction with natural environment. The study is an important step towards the implementation of laser scanning in the observation of past landscapes. Completed analyses can provide faster and more efficient work in different environments and contexts.
Significance for the country
An important aim of the project was to observe the natural and cultural heritage of Slovenia, introducing a highly sophisticated and up-to-date technology, which enables the recognition of cultural elements even in the hardly accessible areas or those subject to processes of degradation, e.g. in forests and areas of intensive overgrowth. In such circumstances lidar remote sensing represents a unique method, as it allows location and sufficiently accurate surface recording of archaeological sites and other cultural landscape features even in the areas where this work, due to the obstacles posed by natural environment, cannot be accomplished in a reasonable time-span and at acceptable costs with traditional field techniques. While the results thus broaden the information on the Slovenian archaeological heritage, as well as on recent anthropogenic modifications of landscape in selected areas, these insights are also relevant for a proper natural and cultural resource management, spatial planning and other activities aimed at a sustainable development of Slovenia. The methods for processing lidar data processing and visualization were presented to the public, and this information allows a competitive advantage to the national companies and institutions trying to secure their proper place in the demanding field of advanced processing of remote sensing data.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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