Castles in the Clouds: LiDAR for Historical Study and Terrain Analysis

Peter L Guth


Examples of castles and fortresses seen in publicly available LiDAR data by the national mapping agencies in Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and United States demonstrate the value of LiDAR data for understanding military history. The data sets, which include derived grids and the original point clouds with densities from 2–24 points/m², always identify the ground points, generally include LiDAR return intensity values, and sometimes include point classifications that discriminate vegetation and buildings. Grids with 0,5- or one-metre resolution could be created from the highest density point clouds in this study, while grids with one- or two-metre resolution can be created from the lowest density clouds. The digital surface model, which includes everything seen by the sensor, notably ground, buildings, and vegetation, can be created with higher resolution than the bare earth grids. The surface model provides the best visual representation of the castle and its surroundings. Viewed in interactive 3D, the data allows familiarisation with the landscape. Optimal displays depend on the desired scale and the terrain characteristics, but hillshade or shaded reflectance maps, reverse greyscale slope maps, and openness maps all work effectively. Further analysis may include functions such as viewsheds, which enhance the understanding of key terrain.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Peter L Guth

ISSN 2224-0020 (online); ISSN 1022-8136 (print)

Creative Commons License -CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2011.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help