The hopes of rebuilding Notre Dame are not burned together with the historic cathedral: in 2015 an accurate 3D virtual copy accurate to the millimeter was made, thanks to a laser scan of the entire building that was saved in a digital archive. The work done by a group of historians who studied the architecture of the great Gothic cathedrals for the National Geographic, was led by Andrew Tallon of Vassar College, United States, who “recorded” every extraordinary detail with a margin of error of a few millimeters, providing a map to follow for the reconstruction of the church.
The scan was done by putting together the data taken from 50 different locations, inside and outside Notre Dame, which produced the impressive figure of a billion measurements. For each scan, the laser scoured the area in every direction, recording the exact position of all the surfaces encountered, from the buttresses to the columns. The result is millions of colored dots that combine to form a perfect three-dimensional replica of the cathedral.
Tallon’s work has also revealed all the secrets used in the construction of Notre Dame, which took place between 1163 and 1345, such as the design of its very high arches. The efforts to rebuild the church have already begun: thanks to donations, more than 450 million dollars have already been collected. Despite the extensive damage, most of the extraordinary works of art and stone structures have remained intact. But only time will tell if the building can be restored to its ancient and beloved splendor.