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Airborne Helicopter Laser Scanning in the Mongolian Veld – 3D-Documentation and GIS-Maps of an Extensive Palace City (Karabalgasun, Orchon Valley, Mongolia)


  • German Archaeological Instute Bonn (KAAK)

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In densely populated Middle Europe, finds like these are nowhere to be found. In the Mongolian veld, however, lie the remains of a more than 40 km2 of the huighurian capital Karabalgasun (8./9. century AD) - untouched and almost completely unexplored.

It was a unique task and experience for us to scan and evaluate this area in commission by Prof. Hans-Georg Hüttel (German Archaeological Institute, KAAK) in August 2007. We conducted the airborne laser scanning in cooperation with our longterm partner „Milan Geoservice“. Precise topographical maps are an essential basis for evaluating an important city complex of such a dimension.

Many of the former adobe buildings in the veld are only perceivable as wall-like structures of a few centimetres or decimetres in height. However, single structures of the palace city depicted here, are partly preserved more than 10 m high. A terrain model of Karabalgasun with a 0,25 cm grid was calculated from app. 550 millionen recorded points. From this data, not only micro-topographical contour line maps could be generated. Due to the high point density (more than 12 points perm2), we were also able to create a 3D-terrain model, with - up until now - unknow levels of accuracy in surface drawing and elevation precision of the reliefs. 

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