Using Laser Scanning to Research Historic Buildings
LiDAR scanning is a common technique used to validate new building construction. It is also increasingly being used to measure older buildings for changes or to detect unrecorded features.
Scanning the National Cathedral
In 2015, the late Vassar College Professor Andrew Tallon utilized 3D laser scanners to create a digital model of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The video above  captures the details of laser scanning and show the results of the 3D model built.
This is a modern use of laser scanning to give insight into existing buildings when their original plans has been lost or the building may have been altered. It also detects small changes from damage or settling as well as capturing unexpected changes made during construction. Laser survey is a well known technique for outlining a building during construction, or for validating a building is built true to plan. This new use for laser scanning (essentially a LiDAR scan) inside existing buildings can both measure capacity and volume as well as detect unexpected changes. LiDAR based scanning  uses high-quality scanners that use laser beams and shadowing to collect data relating to objects and surfaces. The resultant data collection allows a detailed 3D interior and exterior view to be created.
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 National Geographic video describing Professor Tallon applying this process to the National Cathedral in Washington, DC in 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAi29udFMKw&t=1s
 NOAA LiDAR definition: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/lidar.html
The related National Geographic article describing Professor Tallon’s work on both the National Cathedral and the Notre Dame Cathedral (including a scan completed before the 2019 fire): https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/article/150622-andrew-tallon-notre-dame-cathedral-laser-scan-art-history-medieval-gothic