Our Services

Hill's Tramroad, Blaenavon. 1999. (Image: DI2005_1095 / NPRN: 85860) County Hall, Hall Square, Denbigh. Digital drawing of the north elevation of Denbigh Town Hall, showing the phases of development. Undated. (Image: DI2006_1082 / NPRN: 23423)

Digital Survey and Recording

Since its inception the Royal Commission has established a reputation for maintaining a body of expert staff to carry out accurate surveys of sites and monuments of all types and date, both to produce a lasting record and to inform detailed interpretations and syntheses. The sites and monuments we survey vary widely in type and date, ranging from prehistoric defensive sites to twentieth-century industrial complexes. They include sites threatened by deterioration or development and sites which are regionally or nationally important examples of their type. All the surveys we carry out are done to set standards, the specifications for which are described in our Levels of Survey.

While traditional hand survey methods are still widely used, a wide range of modern digital survey techniques has been introduced to gather data in the most economic, efficient and versatile way. Our archaeological and architectural investigators use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Total Stations, together with survey software packages, to gather much of our data digitally in the field. All of our finished survey drawings, even where on-site survey has been carried out using traditional methods, are produced digitally, primarily using AutoCAD. This allows us to produce plans, sections, elevations and highly accurate and detailed three-dimensional models.

As the core function of our work is to provide a greater understanding of the archaeology and architecture of Wales, all our drawings resulting from measured surveys are interpretative and are accompanied by photographic images, written descriptions and discussions. They are available to all, in digital or paper copy, through Coflein, a range of traditional and online publications and the National Monuments Record of Wales Library and Enquiries Service.

The technologies for producing high-quality, accurate surveys are continually evolving. At present the uses of laser scanning and high-definition digital photography are being investigated, and we are looking at more advanced computer modelling software to develop our range of interpretative outputs and to make our results more accessible to a wider audience.