As part of continuous efforts to broaden understanding and promote dialogue among students and academics from both within and without our borders, the Midlands State University’s Faculty of Science and Technology recently hosted a public lecture. The lecture, which was held in the University Great Hall on the 5th of October 2016, was delivered by Professor Emeritus, Heinz Ruther from the Geomatics division at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

The lecture entitled, ‘The 3-dimensional spatial documentation of Africa cultural heritage’ focused on the application of photogrammetric and laser scanning based imaging systems, in three-dimensional mapping of cultural heritage sites in Africa.

Objectives for documenting heritage were highlighted in the lecture, as was the importance of providing data for conservation and restoration. The laser scanning technology, which was presented involved capturing billions of laser points that form an image cloud using a ground scanner. Additionally, several metric camera based panoramas and photographs can be used to capture monuments of interest. As for the data collection process, this can take several days to complete. Thereafter, the monuments are modeled using photogrammetric algorithms to produce solid textured models of the monument derived, using different mathematical models. Software platforms such as Airsoft, Bundler and Memento were highlighted as some of the available modelling software.

During his presentation Professor Emeritus, Ruther also made specific reference to research work being undertaken locally, with particular reference to ‘Dzimba remabwe’ commonly known as Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo Province, where some mapping work is being carried out. The mapping is expected to be complete in January 2017 through a collaborative effort between the UCT Geomatics division based Zamani Group and the departments of Surveying and Geomatics and Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies at the Midlands State University.

Among those who attended the lecture were the Executive Dean of Science and Technology, Mr A Mukwembi, Chairperson of the Department of Surveying and Geomatics, Mr D Njike, Chairperson of the Department of Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Ms P Katekwe, Chairperson of the Department of Applied Physics and Telecommunications, Dr M Nechibvute as well as various academics and students from the Faculty of Science and Technology, and the Faculty of Arts’ Department of Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies.

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