Over the years Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral has been scanned by many AEC professionals and visited by even many more and this may be the reason the monument will be easier to restore after it was severely damaged in a fire.


While everyone is still debating whether the newly restored Notre-Dame should be kept to its original condition or adapted to a contemporary approach, we will explain how laser scanning will contribute to its restoration.


From 2010 to 2014, Art Graphique et Patrimoine and historians like Andrew Tallon have massively contributed to the preservation of the monument by collecting comprehensive scans. Art Graphique et Patrimoine partnered with Tallon in 2010 to document Notre-Dame and the company has worked on many projects afterward. AGP has the most complete and detailed point cloud of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame amounting to 50 milliard points over 1 milliard captured by Andrew Tallon.


Operation ‘Commando’


On the 20th of April, an urgent operation ‘Commando’ was led by Art Graphique et Patrimoine who collected data of Notre-Dame and it’s damaged parts. The AGP team finished one week’s worth of work in just one day. During operation ‘Commando’ around 30 to 40 milliard points were captured. The areas which were difficult to access were captured with a drone using photogrammetry. This will form the base of the investigation and reconstruction of the Notre-Dame.


Moreover, the data captured on this day will be compared to the archive of Notre-Dame’s point cloud before the fire. AGP is well acquainted with Focus scanners which they have used for more than 15 years. The Focus S Laser Scanners are perfectly suitable for capturing heritage buildings and due to the uniqueness of the situation, we kindly lent Focus S Laser Scanners for AGP’s use. The team had 10 Focus S Laser Scanners onsite who assisted on the day.

Laser Scanning in Practice


The AGP team captured the whole cathedral in detail with particular attention to its damaged parts. The information will be processed in a 3D documentation software where a point cloud can be manipulated and modified as well as compared to another data set. The benefit of such software is that it collects the scans to produce a highly detailed point cloud which can be coloured and modified according to the user’s needs. Processing information in As-Built software allows architects to see the extent of the damage, including technical data about the materials, and even study each restoration solution. A 3D model accurately reproduces the condition of the building that enables architects to simulate the aging of the building and prevent risks. Laser scanning is incredibly important for preserving our heritage and just like Notre Dame, other monuments should benefit from the use of this advanced technology.