Feasibility Assessments Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology in Heritage Buildings: Rehabilitation-Restoration, Spatial Analysis and Tourism Potential Analysis

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Apr 6;20(7):2054. doi: 10.3390/s20072054.


The Transylvanian region of Romania is a place of rich history since ancient times, where the original natural environment around architectural heritage sites or buildings has not been severely altered by urban development. Unfortunately, many such places are left by the authorities to degrade or totally collapse for lack of funds, vision or initiatives. The current paper addresses the potential of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the assessment of a viable and feasible prospect of restoration on a 19th century mansion that belonged to a nobiliary family. UAV use is rising in many industries and has become very popular in the last decade, but for survey engineering and related domains they represent a quantum leap in technology. Integrating UAV-acquired data and structure from motion software, has enabled modern techniques to obtain useful metrics from the field, accurate photorealistic 3D models for visual inspection, structural damage analyses, architectural rehabilitation-restoration, conservation and spatial analysis of the surrounding area. In this work a socio-cultural planning and design process is explored and presented to improve the local community and inclusion in a tourist circuit based on the regional potential, as well as an evaluation of accessibility derived from a vector-raster database that highlights the central position of the cultural heritage in regards to the axis of circulation between the important metropolitan areas and the local tourist attractions. This established workflow of modern topographic and construction measurements is fully integrable into the architectural process, building information modelling, heritage conservation and reconstruction.

Keywords: 3D model; GIS analysis; accessibility study; monumental heritage; point cloud; remote sensing; structure from motion (SfM); topographical survey.