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State of the art digital survey's boost St John's Spire Appeal

Academics at St Johns Church Bromsgrove with a state of the art laser scanner

A TEAM of three experts from the University of Wolverhampton's School of Architecture and Built Environment and the National Brownfield Institute are supporting the Spire Appeal at Bromsgrove’s St John’s Church with laser and digital surveys of the ancient building.

Using state-of-the-art equipment, the university team carried out a digital survey which will produce a 3D point cloud image of the building.

This will enable the architect and structural engineer working on the Spire project to produce drawings with pinpoint accuracy.

The team also created a Matterport 3D virtual tour of St John’s which will allow people to view inside the building and learn about its artefacts and monuments from anywhere in the world via the internet, furthering the reach of heritage engagement with the building.

The National Brownfield Institute is fully-funded by the Government’s Getting Building fund and aims to support small businesses and charities with the cutting-edge technology.

The team used a range of equipment including a Faro terrestrial laser scanner which can record up to 1million measurements per second along with Leica and NavVis devices which take approximately half-a-million measurements. The user walks, using a technique called Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM). The use of a drone survey enables a 3D model of the higher parts of the building to be generated, using a process called photogrammetry.

The survey work took place over two days on site. Many hours will be spent in front of a computer to complete the work. The end result will be invaluable to Friends of St John’s team.

The group’s chairman Jo Slade said they were thrilled with the university and institute’s support.

“The end result will not only be of enormous value to the professionals working on the project, but will also allow us to reach a whole new audience with the internal virtual tour.

“We are extremely grateful to the team for bringing their skills and expertise to St John’s, and I’m excited to be able to show everyone the finished product.

“Having the entire building surveyed – both inside and outside – means that any further projects will benefit from this work, saving time and money in the future.

“The value and benefit of what has been provided by this fully funded project is immeasurable.”

Prof David Heesom, an expert in digital built environments, who is leading the project on behalf of the university and institute, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to digitally capture an amazing building with such rich architectural and cultural heritage.

“The technologies which are now available to support the digitisation of the built environment are continually evolving and this provides lots of exciting research opportunities for our team.

“It’s wonderful to be able to put some of that knowledge and research into practice and support St John’s as they embark on the next stage in their history.”

The Spire Appeal aims to raise £360,000 plus VAT for urgent repair works to the spire top of Worcestershire’s tallest spire.

Running alongside the repair works will be a series of engagement projects.

Residents and visitors will be encouraged to get involved, learn about the heritage at St John’s and have a go at some traditional craft skills.

Anyone wanting to get involved can contact the Friends by emailing or follow the project at

Visit to donate to the cause.

Picture credit: Marcus Mingins. This article first appeared in the Bromsgrove Standard.

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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