Daily Drip

Drones to the Rescue, Restore Great Wall of China


Drones. We love ’em. You love ’em. They’re everything we wanted fifteen years ago, and now they’re helping rebuild the Great Wall.

I know what you’re imagining, because it’s the same thing I imagined, which is hella drones buzzing around carrying massive ropeloads of stone slabs. So it’s not quite that, actually, but it’s still cool. The drones are being deployed to take super high-detail 3D scans of the collapsing Jiankou segment of the wall in mountainous northern Beijing.

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The Great Wall is more than 13,000 miles long, and a lot of that is in areas of steep mountain and heavy vegetation. In these areas, it’s nearly impossible for a team of researchers to conduct analysis themselves. While the rebuilding itself will be a human-driven effort (woo! not obsolete yet!), the 3D scanning by drones will be a crucial part of the process, saving hundreds of man hours, and allowing restoration teams to cut straight to the chase.

The drones are a collaboration between Intel and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation. We wish them the best of luck in their dangerous and thrilling mission.

Not to drone on, but:

Three Chinese Drones to Know

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan