Automated relief representation for visualisation of archaeological monuments and other anthropogenic forms

Nicolas Regnauld, William A. Mackaness*, Glen Hart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Both within the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments for Scotland (RCAHMS) and the Ordnance Survey (OS) there are specific requirements to record Historical Monuments (such as ramparts and mounds) and various anthropogenic forms (such as road and rail embankments). The traditional method of relief representation within archacology employs 'hachures' (a hachure being a hand drawn line along the line of steepest gradient of a slope and in the direction of that slope). Hachuring has proved to be a highly effective form of representation-superior in specific circumstances, to alternatives such as contours and relief shading. However, it is acknowledged to be extremely time consuming in the context of current GIS solutions. Developments in automated cartography and digital databases such as the UK's Digital National Framework, have led to a requirement for an algorithm that automatically generates hachures with the minimum of human input, and the simplest of database requirements. This paper reports on a method for automatic relief representation required in order to visualise archaeological monuments within a GIS. The program takes as input the isolines defining the top and bottom of the slope and populates the region with hachures whilst addressing a comprehensive set of design issues. Results of the implementation are presented and evaluated against hand drawn results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-239
Number of pages21
JournalComputers, Environment and Urban Systems
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Digital cartography
  • Hachures
  • Qualitative methods
  • Relief depiction


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