Unfolding WWII Heritages with Airborne and Ground-Based Laser Scanning

Kathleen Fei Ching Sit, Chun Ho Pun, Wallace W.L. Lai*, Dexter Kin Wang Chung, Chi Man Kwong

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    Considering how difficult it is for a pin in the ocean to be found, painstaking searches among historical documents and eyewitness accounts often end up with more unknowns and questions. We developed a three-tier geo-spatial tech-based approach to discover and unfold the lost WWII heritage features in the countryside of Hong Kong that can be applied in other contexts. It started with an analysis of historical texts, old maps, aerial photos, and military plans in the historical geographic information system (HGIS) Project ‘The Battle of Hong Kong 1941: a Spatial History Project’ by Hong Kong Baptist University to define regions/points of interest. Then, 3D point clouds extracted from the government’s airborne LiDAR were migrated to form a digital terrain model (DTM) for geo-registration in GIS. All point clouds were geo-referenced in HK1980 Grid via accurate positioning using the global navigation satellite system—real-time kinematics (GNSS-RTK). A red relief image map (RRIM) was then used to image the tunnels, trenches, and pillboxes in great detail by calculating the topographical openness. The last tier of the tech work was field work involving ground validation of the findings from the previous two tiers and on-site imaging using terrestrial LiDAR. The ground 3D LiDAR model of the heritage feature was then built and integrated into the DTM. The three-tier tech-based approach developed in this paper is standardised and adopted to streamline the workflow of historical and archaeological studies not only in Hong Kong but also elsewhere.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6189-6212
    Number of pages24
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Conservation
    • Archaeology
    • Materials Science (miscellaneous)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • digital terrain model-red relief image map (DTM-RRIM)
    • geo-spatial technologies
    • LiDAR
    • WWII heritage in Hong Kong


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