Application of 3D Laser Scanning to the Preservation of Fort Conger, a Historic Polar Research Base on Northern Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada


  • Peter C. Dawson
  • Margaret M. Bertulli
  • Richard Levy
  • Chris Tucker
  • Lyle Dick
  • Panik Lynn Cousins



laser scanning, heritage preservation, Arctic exploration, inorganic contamination, virtual reality, computer modeling


Fort Conger, located in Quttinirpaaq National Park, Ellesmere Island, is a historic landmark of national and international significance. The site is associated with many important Arctic expeditions, including the ill-fated Lady Franklin Bay Expedition of the First International Polar Year and Robert Peary’s attempts to claim the North Pole. Although situated in one of the most remote locations on earth, Fort Conger is currently at risk because of the effects of climate change, weather, wildlife, and human activity. In this paper, we show how 3D laser scanning was used to record cultural features rapidly and accurately despite the harsh conditions present at the site. We discuss how the future impacts of natural processes and human activities can be managed using 3D scanning data as a baseline, how conservation and restoration work can be planned from the resulting models, and how 3D models created from laser scanning data can be used to excite public interest in cultural stewardship and Arctic history.