Skara Brae

Skara Brae

The Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae, Orkney

Location: Skara Brae, Orkney, Scotland, UK

Institute: CMC Associates

Description Icon


Early neolithic site located on Orkney Island, Scotland. Discovered in 1850 after a storm washed away coastal sand dunes. The site was in remarkable condition however it's proximity to the coast places it a great risk from further erosion.

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Terrestrial Laser Scanning - Time of Fight and photography. The site was scanned by third parties, we had no influence on the methods or technologies used.

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Leica C10, & Leica HDS6100 Scanners Canon DSLR with 15mm lens 

Modelling Software

Modelling Software

Cyclone, CloudCompare, GeoMagic, Blender, Mudbox.

Model usU

Model Use

We hope to see the data used in three areas:

  1. Primary school education packs 
  2. Tourist interpretative guides
  3. Site management and third level studies

Processing Pipeline

Processing Pipeline

We received the scan data as a Leica project file. Using Cyclone we exported each of the scans in two point cloud formats, e57 & PLY.  The e57 format allowed us to retain the registration and intensity data. On a house by house basis each of the e57 files were opened in CloudCompare. Data less than. 1 intensity was removed as bad scan records, the files were merged and then spatially subsumed to .005  Intensity data was then converted to RGB and the resulting point cloud exported as a PLY. DISC offered to help with the next section by wrapping the dense clouds with GeoMagic. The triangulated mesh was then opened in Blender and retopologised to produce a lightweight quad mesh. Archive and contemporary photograph was then used to texture the models using Blender & Mudbox.

Online Delivery

Online Delivery

Undecided, fulfilment  of 3D will be carried out be Historic Scotland. The scan data is rights controlled, Historic Scotland wanted to mange future sales. 


Licence for Dataset

Paid Access - No Re-use